'Barack' means the blessed one, explains Narendra Modi during 'Mann ki Baat'

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New Delhi, Jan 27:  Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chose to start his radio address Man Ki Baat by explaining the meaning of US President Barack Obama's first name which is "one who is blessed".

"Some people wonder what is the meaning of Barack. In Swahili, Barack means he who is blessed," Modi said in the radio programme which he recorded with President Obama.

Also read: Barack Obama on 'Mann ki Baat': Wonderful to speak to you directly.

Know Modi, Obama's 'Mann ki Baat'

"I believe his family has blessed him with this name," he said.

Modi, who surprised many by referring to the US president by his first name at the joint press conference on Sunday, referred to him the same way several times during the address.

Speaking about his daughters, Obama said he will bring his daughters on his next India visit. He, however, said that may not be during his tenure as the president.

Modi in response said Obama is always welcome to India, during or after his presidential tenure.

"They (Obama's daughters) wanted to come, but unfortunately every time they had school," he said.

Obama said both his daughters, Malia and Sasha, are interested in India, its independence movement, and Mahatma Gandhi.

Also read: Toast to India! See what Obama shared with us in 3 days

Responding to a query, PM Modi saidhe was inspired by the life of Benjamin Franklin, one of the founding fathers of the US. "When I was young, I used to see (John F.) Kennedy's pictures," said Modi.

"I read Benjamin Franklin's life story. He was not a US president, but he is an inspiration," Modi said.

The prime minister said Franklin, in his biography, describes how people can change their lives. "He has left an imprint of his life on the US. I will say if you want to transform your life, read his biography," he said.

Obama said India and the US had much in common like being great democracies and innovative economies.

Obama: India and United States are natural partners, we have so much in common

"It is wonderful to speak to you directly. India and United States are natural partners because we have so much in common. We are two great democracies, innovative economies and diverse societies dedicated to empowering individuals.

"People are very excited about the energy Prime Minister Modi is bringing to this country. I appreciate your PM for his personal commitment to strengthen the relationship between India and the United States," he said. "We want to be partners on clean energy, reduce poverty," Obama said.

The US president quoted Mahatma Gandhi to say that this kind of cooperation reminded that God is there in everyone.

Also read: Every woman should be able to walk the street, ride the bus: Obama

Obama said: "When I first went to White House, I stood outside the same fence, I did not imagine I will be visiting it."

Obama's comment came after Modi's description of the first time he saw the White House and clicked a picture outside it.

"Both of us are blessed with rare opportunities coming from humble background. What is great about India or the US is a tea seller or someone born to a single mother like me, can lead our nations. It is an example of extraordinary opportunities in our nations," Obama said.

IANS

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