Barack Obama, the first African-American President who served as the 44th President of the United States from 2009 to 2017, shared a very special friendship and camaraderie with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. On the occasion of Obama's 59th birthday tomorrow (August 4), let us look back at their "tu-taadi" friendship.
Obama met PM Modi for the first time when the latter travelled to Washington in September 2014. He greeted Modi saying, "Kem Chho?" This warm greeting is believed to be reason which kindled the friendship between the two.
PM Modi then invited Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama as the Chief Guest for the Republic Day parade in 2015. The two leaders embraced each other and also took a stroll at the lawns of the Hyderabad House in Delhi.
Later in the year, Obama wrote an article for TIME magazine titled, "India's reformer-in-chief." He described Modi's journey "from poverty to Prime Minister" as one that reflects the dynamism and potential of India's rise. "Determined to help more Indians follow in his path, he’s laid out an ambitious vision to reduce extreme poverty, improve education, empower women and girls and unleash India’s true economic potential while confronting climate change. Like India, he transcends the ancient and the modern—a devotee of yoga who connects with Indian citizens on Twitter and imagines a digital India," Obama added.
In a 'non-political' interview with actor Akshay Kumar, PM Modi said that Obama and he are on "tu-taadi" terms with each other. Rashtrapati Obama jab mujhe mile, toh woh bhi sabse pehle merese isime ulajh gaye. Bole, ‘Modiji, kyun aisa karte hain aap?’ Hum dono achchhe dost hain, tu-taadi karke bulate hain ek doosre ko.… (When President Obama met me, the first thing he did was to got into an argument with me on this. He asked me: ‘Modiji, why do you do this?’ Now we are good friends, we call each other tu-taadi).
“(Obama) bole tu aisa kyun karta hai? Tujhe aaj pata nahi hai yeh tera nasha hai kaam ka, tum karte rahoge, lekin tum bahut apna nuksan kar rahe ho. Aur woh jab bhi milte hain, ke tum meri baat mante ho ki nahin mante ho, tumne neend badhai ki nahi badhai (Obama asked me why I do this. He told me that I am a workaholic and would harm myself by continuing to do this. Whenever he meets me, he asks if I have heeded him, if I have increased my sleep time).”
The two leaders met for the last time on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit at Vientiane in Laos. Reportedly, PM Modi invited Barack Obama to visit India after the completion of his term to which the latter replied that he and his wife are yet to see the Taj Mahal.