Spent childhood listening to Ramayana

Former US President Barack Obama
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Former US President Barack Obama

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Former US President Barack Obama said he has always held a special place for India due to his childhood years spent in Indonesia listening to the epic Hindu tales of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

Washington: Former US President Barack Obama said he has always held a special place for India due to his childhood years spent in Indonesia listening to the epic Hindu tales of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata.

"Maybe it was its (India's) sheer size, with one-sixth of the world's population, an estimated two thousand distinct ethnic groups, and more than seven hundred languages spoken," Obama writes on his fascination of India in his latest book ''A Promised Land''.

Obama says he had never been to India before his Presidential visit in 2010, but the country had "always held a special place in my imagination".

"Maybe it was because I'd spent a part of my childhood in Indonesia listening to the epic Hindu tales of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, or because of my interest in Eastern religions, or because of a group of Pakistani and Indian college friends who'd taught me to cook dal and keema and turned me on to Bollywood movies," Obama writes.

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