Liveblogging Narendra Modi’s Madison Square Garden reception, speech

Follow The American Bazaar’s minute-by-minute coverage from New York.

By Sujeet Rajan

Modi leaving Madison Square Garden after the speech.
Modi leaving Madison Square Garden after the speech.

The speech is over, and the prime minister is leaving the podium.

Grand announcement: “all PIO card holders to get lifetime visa, they will not have to report at police stations in India anymore, if on an extended visit to India. All PIO and OCI cards to be merged.” Huge applause.

Long term visas for Americans and visa on arrival for them soon.

“Gandhi also lived abroad; he came back to India in 1915, next year marks 100th year of that visit.”

“I have a vision, in 2022, on India’s 75 anniversary, I have a dream and vision to have housing for all.

“Gandhi gave us independence… So on the 150th year of Gandhi’s birth anniversary, in 2019, we want to give a clean India for him.”

Crowd on their feet when he says he became the prime minister by selling tea, will work for small people. He says he thinks of doing big things for small people – by building more toilets in India. He has been saying this everywhere, at the UN and a meet at the Central Park on Saturday. Got him a huge response every time.

Modi talks at length of India’s youth, of Mars mission, and says India’s youth will rule the world.

Modi pays tribute to Bhagat Singh; talks of Sikhs serving in the army; loud chants of “Sat Sri Akal.”

The English translations on giant screen is not great. Modi says now all Indians in America feel they should keep one foot in India. Translation: all Indians want to stay in Gujarat, in India.”

Now another quip, to loud applause: “since I took over the responsibility of PM, I have not taken vacation for 15 minutes. Some of the Democrats in crowd must be squirming think of the number of vacations Obama has taken. Was that an intentional dig at Obama?”

Modi’s best quip so far: “our ancestors played with snakes but now India plays with a mouse when asked in China years ago if India was still a country of snake charmers.

Modi has already met all the US elected officials in the morning.

Greets people on Navratri.

He starts his speech saying “Bharat mata ki” and crowd finishes it swing “JAI.”

Kavita Jrishnamurthy sings the Indian national anthem Modi sings along.

*   *    *

Lucky Anjali World!

Now cries of “Bharat mata ki jai”

Surprise at maybe Modi request the US national anthem is being again

Deafening now!

Crescendo increases rock star Modi is here !

Modi MSG reception photo 6

Chants of “Modi, Modi!” as all the legislators wait on stage for Modi to come to join for Indian national anthem. Everybody in crowd also standing.

Modi in the house — coming after Anjali World, daughter of Billionaire Vivek Ranadive sings US national anthem.

Loudest cheer for Gov. Nikki Haley. And for Ami Bera and Tulsi Gabbard.

Haley looks businesslike in a jacket and knee length skirt.

Congressmen being felicitated and loud chants of “USA, USA” ring out. Loud applause for Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee and Joe Crowley.

Loud boos from the crowd as emcee Hari Sreenivasan announces that Gov. Bobby Jindal could not be here but sends his best wishes.

When Prime Minister Modi walks in, these balloons in the colors of the India flag will descend from the ceiling.

A panoramic view of the crowd inside Madison Square Garden.
A panoramic view of the crowd inside Madison Square Garden.

At the topmost tier on the 9th floor. MSG is the home of the Knicks. Their championship banners overlook the stage, where dancers in resplendent costumes make their moves to the song Malang from Dhoom 3. I’m trying to identify a dancer who moves closest to Katrina Kaif but the dancers change their moves to a folk number. It’s fusion at Modi Mania.

Kavita Krishnamurthy, accompanied by L Shankar, renders songs.

A lovely looking Nina Davukuri introduces the artists rendering the cultural programs as in between performance chants of “Modi, Modi, Modi” render the air.

On giant screens, there is a flow of tweets from Indians inside and outside.

#Modi in America . Unity . Action Progress. Theme on the giant screens. Synchronizes with a laser show and images from Google Earth.

Inside there is huge excitement near the lower tier people where people suddenly get up and chant “Modi, Modi, Modi” as they think the PM has arrived.

More protesters outside MSG
More protesters outside MSG

 

Swagat restaurant has played a smart move; It has a man sporting its banner. My best: it’s going to be one crowded eatery around 2 pm

Protestors outside MSG
Protestors outside MSG

Outside the largest gathering are a group of anti-Modi protesters. The bunch of pro Modi supporters outside the entrance are more interested in hounding news camera crews.

The anti-Modi protesters are across the avenue at a corner of 7 th avenue.

Crowd outside Madison Square Garden
Crowd outside Madison Square Garden

I reached around 10 am. Surprise! Where are the hordes of Indians standing in line? The bunch of Indians gathered at the main entrance on Seventh Avenue had a line shorter than people who gather for cabs outside on weekdays.

Turns out they are all inside.

*   *    *

Modi, Modi, Modi, that’s all I could hear as I walked from Grand Central to Penn Station and passed by fellow Indians. Some wore Nehru jackets.

Outside the Madison Square Garden
Outside the Madison Square Garden

 

 

15 Comments

  1. Modi is the JFK of India!!!

  2. Modi is the JFK of India!!!

  3. Save Tea Farmers

    di must do more to save starving tea farm workers!

    The tea farm owners who shut down the farms and left women and children to die – those owners need arrested and brought to justice.

    Most importantly! The Indian government must take the closed farms and sell them cheaply to new owners.

  4. Save Tea Farmers

    di must do more to save starving tea farm workers!

    The tea farm owners who shut down the farms and left women and children to die – those owners need arrested and brought to justice.

    Most importantly! The Indian government must take the closed farms and sell them cheaply to new owners.

  5. harshal turkar

    Dear David,

    Modi has been given clean chit by Supreme court. I want to give
    you another perspective of riots. it happened in the first year when he was CM
    of gujrat. After that in his 14 years there has been no single riot in Gujrat,
    nor any communal voilence. Hindus and Muslims were always at loggerheads but
    during his tenure he bridged the gap and made gujrat as one state. he was
    elected 3 times by people of gujrat which included hindus and Muslims. he is a
    true visionary and a gr8 speaker. he has the ability to pull massive crowd. his
    political opponents often digs this past incident to stop his progress. Another
    fact is he as a child used to sell tea at railway stations. He has comes from
    very humble background and to reach here is gr8 achievement indeed. 1.5 billion
    people voted for him with majority.

  6. David Carlson

    I was walking past and saw the protest at about 1pm. It was enormous, I couldn’t believe how many people were protesting Mr. Modi. I went home and did online research on what the protesters were complaining about. It’s unbelievable – India’s new PM has a really bloody background and denies climate change. How this is good for India, I don’t know – sure, we’ll all make a lot of money on these poor bastards that aren’t in his favor over there, but it’s sad what we (and my company) are doing to support criminal regimes like this. I’ll probably forget when I take my boat out on the sound next week for a sail, but I guess I have to come to terms with my own part in exploiting others. What a journey.

    • Akshay Badsheshi

      This ain’t true you heard only 1 sided story.See the other sided one you will be stunned.@modirocks

    • you don’t know nothing about that its all humors spread by MF Muslim.

    • Everybody has their good and bad and I think everybody makes some mistakes. Besides, the construction of the events that happened in Gujarat may or may not be true. So, maybe it is better to learn from but not make a big issue of the past and look towards the future instead. Modiji, you are great!

    • Everybody has their good and bad and I think everybody makes some mistakes. Besides, the construction of the events that happened in Gujarat may or may not be true. So, maybe it is better to learn from but not make a big issue of the past and look towards the future instead. Modiji, you are great!

    • Peter Aremone

      Nope, he doesn’t deny climate change, he says that it is Humans who changed it & is human responsibility to rectify it or that it is the HUMANS who will suffer for their neglect of nature.

      Also, with regards to so called bloody background, the riots were the result of a massive genocide by a mob of 1000 muslims on 56 Hindu pilgrims, mostly women & children. Modi brought in the Army immediately & quelled the massive riots quickly.

      The campaign against him is fueled mostly by the now opposition party, their media stooges & islamic terrorists. The supreme court of India has given him a 100% clean chit after more than 10 years of unprecedented investigation by the supreme court.

  7. Make sure to visit larouchepac.com for more material on Modi, the BRICS, and what we must do in America! #impeachobama #declassify #28pages

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