The Man in the Arena: Howdy, Modi!
Who could have better hosted Prime Minister Narendra Modi than him? It was probably the biggest ‘Modi’ event in the USA, next to the venue where he gave his historic Madison Square speech. It was an event that took around 1,000 volunteers and 650 event organisers to put in place and brought together innumerable Indians from across the USA.
He has become a big name in his own right!
Jugal Malani, a Jewel of Rajasthan, the pride of India, the one who initiated the idea of Howdy, Modi! – Shared Dreams, Bright Futures.
A successful Indian-American entrepreneur in the USA, Malani has been active within the Indian-American community for a long time. Right when Modi had announced his travel plans to New York, Malani along with a team of community leaders sent an invitation letter to Modi, since everything is big in Texas, they said they would like to host an event for him promising a huge gathering. The invitation was accepted by the PMO, whereupon Malani began to mobilise a large group of volunteers to help organise the event.
Who knew there would a turnout of more than 50,000 Indians!
Houston has a huge Indian diaspora. Looking at this fact, the NRG Stadium, Houston, was finalised as the venue. “It took 650 Welcome Partner organisations and over 1,000 volunteers to make it all come together,” says Jugal Malani, but now that it is successful, strengthening bilateral ties between India and the USA, he sits back more than happy!
Narendra Modi, as planned, addressed close to 50,000 Indian-Americans at the Howdy, Modi! event on 22 September. The US President Donald Trump also addressed the event, the largest gathering ever for an elected foreign leader visiting the USA. These largest and oldest democracies found a unique way to work with each other, collaborate and promote shared interests. Modi started with addressing the gathering and said ‘everything is fine’ in 11 Indian languages, to which the audience couldn’t hold itself back from breaking out in a loud applause. When he proclaimed, in Hindi, “Abki Baar, Trump Sarkar,” they went wild.
What was ignited by PV Narasimha Rao, carried forward by Atal Bihari Vajpayee, solidified by Manmohan Singh had now been given new wings by Modi, who spoke about the abrogation of Article 370 and strengthening of ties between the USA and India.
The event also saw cultural performances from across India. President Trump said the USA loves India… India has never invested in the USA as it is doing today and the same is being done in India by the USA. Trade now is like never before. He added, “The constitution of both countries begins with WE THE PEOPLE,” and that “both the countries are close friends.”
Although some protesters threatened to sabotage the show, everything fell in place neatly and history was made. The event ended with an Indian national anthem on the American soil, maybe the first time in presence of the President of the host country. It certainly won many hearts and brought both the countries closer.
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