Created the effect of a rock star like Michael Jackson performing.
By Sambhu N. Banik
WASHINGTON, DC: Over the past 40 plus years in the US, I’ve had the pleasure of organizing, helping as well as participating in a number of community receptions for India’s prime ministers.
The community reception for Narendra Modi at the iconic Madison Square Garden with over 20,000 attendees, on September 28, with 475 diverse community organizations from across every state, was surely one for the Guinness Book of World Records. It was a historical event for any prime minister or president of any country, visiting the US.
Modi‘s speech at the Madison Square Garden was one of the most uplifting, stirring and highly inspirational speeches I ever heard from any Indian Prime Minister visiting the US.
When the entire 20,000 attendees chanted ‘MO-DI, MO-DI’, Narendra Modi personified the Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva of popularity, created the effect of a rock star like Michael Jackson performing, with adoring fans chanting in unison his name.
The history-making speech, lasting over one hour fifteen minutes, promised basic and fundamental services to the poor and minorities. It also addressed the Indian Diaspora’s concerns on PIO and OCI cards, outsourcing of visas and passports; won the hearts of everyone who was fortunate to be there.
Modi cited the successful launching and execution of the Mars Mission by the Indian scientists by using India’s indigenous materials costing a fraction of what it cost western nations. He also joked that India’s image is now changed: from being the land of snake charmers to the land of mouse charmers in providing IT services to other countries.
If 50 per cent of Modi’s promises are fulfilled, India will be great again (Bharat Aabar Mahan Hobe).
The same evening, Modi showed his indefatigable energy, and charisma when he greeted and shook hands with his signature smile – in spite of his strict fast in observance of Navaratri – with about 800 guests who were invited for a community dinner in his honor, at the Pierre hotel in New York.
Modi was equally accessible and charismatic when he met and greeted people who gathered at the Andrews Air Force Base during his arrival and departure as well as at the Indian Embassy when he visited the Mahatma Gandhi statue, during his historic meeting with President Barack Obama.
This is the first time I have seen people get so excited for a visiting Indian prime minister with the blowing of conch shells, beating of drums, Garba and Bhangra dances, singing etc. wherever Modi visited, creating a festive occasion.
We wish Modi a long and healthy life.
(Sambhu N. Banik, Ph.D. is President, Banik and Associates, Family Diagnostic and Therapeutic Center. He is the former Executive Director, President’s Committee on People with Intellectual Disabilities)