Indian group asks
Hindu monkey god to lead Obama
to election triumph
Jun 24, 2008
NEW DELHI — A dozen priests chanted around a sacred fire in New Delhi on Tuesday as a group of Indians offered prayers to the Hindu monkey god Hanuman asking him to grant U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama an election victory in November.
Several dozen people took part in the ceremony held at a Hanuman temple. Many said they believed an Obama victory would bring positive change to the world.
"From the land of (Mahatma) Gandhi we convey our best wishes to Mr. Obama for the forthcoming presidential elections in the United States," said Brij Mohan Bhama, a local businessman who organized the event.
Bhama said an Obama victory would be good for India and the rest of world "because he stands for change" and would help stem rising prices, poverty and terrorism.
Bhama said he got the idea for Tuesday's event after reading reports in Indian media that among the many good luck charms Obama carries is a replica of Hanuman.
Hanuman is one of the most popular gods in the crowded pantheon of Hindu deities, and devout Hindus ascribe great strength and valour to him.
Hanuman's most famous feat, as described in the Hindu epic Ramayana, was leading a monkey army to fight the demon King Ravana and rescue a kidnapped princess.
Bhama said he plans to send Obama a 15-kilogram statue of Hanuman that has been polished with gold.
Bhama does not represent any official group in India, but Carolyn Sauvage-Mar, the chair of the U.S. group Democrats Abroad-India, attended Tuesday's ceremony.
Sauvage-Mar, is one of 22 delegates who will represent overseas Americans in August at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Col.
"I will definitely and happily bring their best wishes with me," she said of Obama's Indian fans.
Taking the idol may prove more difficult, though.
Sauvage-Mar said U.S. federal law prohibits senators from accepting any gifts that cost more than $10.
But Bhama said he was certain the idol would make its way to Obama.
"It is understood that representatives of Mr. Obama will help with sending the idol to him," he said without providing details.
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