“India is greatest show on Earth” - Oprah US chat show queen has called India “the greatest show on Earth” as she wound down her trip to the sub-continent.
Speaking to CNN-IBN during a visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival - Asia’s largest - Oprah gushed, “You can't see India in two weeks ... India is so complex, I would have to say it's the greatest show on Earth. I've never seen anything like it. India, I'll be back again and again."
Dressed in a colourful Salwar suit, Winfrey greeted a large crowd of book lovers at the festival, exclaming that it was “One of the greatest, if not the greatest, experience I have ever had.”
"I came to India with open mind and expanded heart," said Oprah. "The sight of an ox pulling heavy steel beams, a man riding a donkey, and another one on a motorbike using his cell phone," said the world's best known TV talk show host. "India is a paradox.”
Oprah spoke about her own life experiences and struggles as the mostly female audience listened in rapt attention. “The fact I was born in segregated southern US in Mississippi in 1954 to a teenaged unmarried mother, during the time of apartheid, has influenced me into becoming what I am. Fortunately, I had never been put into a segregated school. But all my life I had to fight everyone. To be born a girl child is not safe," she said.
"But for me, education is the most important thing. I have been from village to village in Africa looking for girls like myself... and families desperate for education. I was raised by my grandmother in poverty. She did not live to see me become an educated woman," said Oprah.
One of the highlights of her sojourn to India was a trip to Vrindavan - the city made famous as the home of banished, poverty-stricken widows from across India; it was a visit that clearly moved Ms Winfrey. "I have spoken for years for women to own their voices. Just because your husbands have died, you cannot become second class citizens. This thing should be eradicated from earth," she said.
And of course she made her political preference clear with the US Presidential Election less than a year away: "Obama is a man... and not god. And only a man makes mistakes. The world forgot we were on the brink of a depression. I strongly feel he should remain in office for the next four years."
- Vijitha Alles