Some 18,000 people packed into the SAP Center arena. Narendra Modi, the master strategist and tactician, by his meticulous mix of charms, has laid down the script of a renewed world order.
After a two-day whirlwind tour through Silicon Valley, meeting with tech giants and Bharateeya American entrepreneurs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit culminated with an electrifying address to a packed crowd at the SAP Center in San Jose.
The programme, hosted by actress Ashwini Bhave, comedian Rajiv Satyal, and anchorman Raj Mathai, and voiced by Vishal Kapoor began with several eye-catching dance performances from various community artists. The crowd was then mesmerised by the earthy voice and glittery blue shoes of Kailash Kher and catchy rhythm of his band, Kailasa. Mahesh Kale led his ensemble of talented youth with melodic renditions of the American and Bharateeya national anthems. But the highlight of the evening was the Prime Minister’s speech.
Ten representatives from Congress were invited to the stage and they warmly welcomed Prime Minister Modi as he arrived on the stage. These included the House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, former Chairman of the House India Caucus Congressman Jim McDermott, Chairman of the
House Foreign Affairs Committee Congressman Ed Royce, Congress-woman Loretta Sanchez, Congressman Mike Honda, Congressman Jerry McNerney, Former Lt Governor of California and House Sikh American Congressional Caucus Co-Chair Congressman John Garamendi, Co-Chair of the House India Caucus and the only Indian American in Congress Congressman Ami Bera, Vice-Chair of the Democratic National Committee and the first Hindu in Congress, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, and member of the House Homeland Security Committee Congressman Eric Swallwell.
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Congressman Mc Dermott released the following statement in honour of the Prime Minister’s visit: “I welcome Prime Minister Modi’s visit to the United States. His visit has generated enthusiasm and euphoria among the Indian Diaspora and brought the awareness about India to the Americans. This will bode well in further improving the bilateral relations between the two countries. His initiatives on spreading awareness about Yoga will enhance assimilation of India’s rich cultural heritage to the people of the world. This visit and his meetings, in particular with the technology leaders, will give a huge boost to “Digital India’ initiative benefiting the common people in India. His vision to fulfill the dreams and aspiration of millions of Indians will take the US-India bilateral business and trade relationship to the next level. I see it as a win-win for both the nations. I have visited India over 25 times and I think the time has come for India to assume the rightful place to play a very important role in the global affairs. I would like him to visit Seattle in his next visit to the United States.”
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There were also several dignitaries from the Bharateeya Embassy, and countless local and state elected officials in attendance, including Mayor of San Jose, Sam Liccardo.
The crowd greeted PM Modi with chants of, “Modi! Modi!! Modi!” In his speech, Modi initially focussed on the bond between California and Bharat, noting accomplishments of Bharateeya in California dating as far back as the late 1800s when Sikh immigrants settled in the Central Valley, and 1914 when the first Bharateeya graduated from Stanford University.
He then went on to talk about Bharat’s ‘brain drain’ referring to the many highly educated and motivated Bharateeya who have left their motherland for opportunities elsewhere. But he emphatically noted that this brain drain is actually a “brain gain” and that it is now Bharat’s turn to dip into the “brain deposit” and collect interest. He emphasised the new technological age and the role Silicon Valley’s Bharateeya-Americans have played in advancing it, urging the successful Indian diaspora to lend a hand to uplift their motherland.
Modi further expressed his belief in Bharat’s potential to become a leading country, stating, “The world now looks to India with hope and confidence…It is believed that the 21st century is India’s century…I have faith in the nation because India is young; which country wouldn’t advance with sixty-five percent of the population being under the age of thirty-five!”
He mentioned initiatives taken by his government such as the Jan Dhan Yojana, in which the poorest of citizens could open a bank account with a zero balance. He had a pleasant surprise at the wealth of the poor, noting that 32000 crore rupees ($4.9 billion US dollars) have been deposited in Jan Dhan accounts to date.
Modi also highlighted Bharat’s successful mission to Mars on its first attempt, his current administration’s clean record, and called on the world to address terrorism and global warming.
The Community Reception was attended by a crowd of 18,000 that represented diverse generations, linguistic groups, and religions. Raj Munaim, Director of Public Relations for Anjuman-E-Najmi, San Francisco, exclaimed with excitement, “It was very exciting to receive the Honorable Prime Minister Modi to Silicon Valley. He energised the Indian diaspora on its success but also on the future of India. His ongoing leadership on education, technology, and entrepreneurship hold tremendous potential to help India move forward in the global economy. We look forward to partnering and helping India achieve in the aspirations for success in the 21st century.”
The event was a grand success. Thanks to the countless hours put in by hundreds of dedicated volunteers coordinating everything from logistics, decorations, and entertainment to media, government outreach, and registration! The reception was coordinated by the Bharat-American Community of West Coast.
Somanjana Chatterjee from San Jose (The writer is Regional editor of Silicon valley of Indian American times and was the member of organising committee for Narendra Modi in CA event)