By Bhagyashree Puranik
Edited by Shambhavi Singh, Senior Editor, The Indian Economist
A man was refused the United States visa in 2005. Nearly a decade later, the same man was invited by the United States President, Barack Obama to visit the States. He is no longer just a man, he is a legend. What could be more phenomenal than listening to the chants of ‘Modi! Modi!’ at the Madison square garden in New York? It is as significant as the Football World Cup being held in the African continent for the first time. Perhaps more significant for our nation: for India.
A huge crowd of around 18000 thronged to the Madison square to watch Narendra Modi address the Non Residential Indians. As Modi ascended the stage, the world stalled and unbelievable roars welcomed him as if he were a gladiator entering the arena. Then began the saga; the saga of probably one of the best speeches one has heard in the past few years.
It was evident from his very first words that he is a man on a mission, meant and his every stance commanded respect for India. Beginning his speech with a thunderous ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’, he went on to enrapture everyone present. In good humour, he remarked that in India people no longer play with snakes, they play with a mouse to change the world, referring to the IT revolution in India.
Modi thanked the NRIs for improving the image of India in the global scenario. He stressed on the issue of Ganga cleaning and explained how important it is for the environment as well 40% of India’s population that is directly or indirectly dependent on it. Also, he boldly stated that the 21st century belongs to Asia and to India. India’s greatest strength is its manpower. In a few years there will be a great demand for a large workforce in the world. With 65% of India’s population being below the age of 35, India will be in a position to outsource manpower to the world. He also cited the successful Mars mission and complemented the Indian heads who achieved their dreams in the first attempt.
Modi modestly said that it is not the Prime Minister or the government that develops the country. It is the people themselves. Like the freedom movement, he asked the citizens of India to embark on a revolution of development, of radical change that will materialize the dream of India. Coming to the point of having a vision, he pointed out that it is not a ‘big vision’, but small actions that will have a big effect. He urged the intellectual and wealthy Indians in America to visit India and contribute to the national development. He urged Indians to follow the policy of ‘make in India’ and move forward on all fronts.
Modi also stated that gone are the days when the problems of the common man do not reach the government. He informed that through his live website mygov.nic.in anybody can approach him. Amidst an enthusiastic applause he further stated that the old redundant laws will be removed. Acting like a true crowd-puller he declared that there will be lifetime visas for Person of Indian Origin (PIO) cardholders. Also, he assured that PIO and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards would be merged as one. Other incentives include US nationals being provided with long term visas and visa on arrival facility following electronic travel authorization. This was received with a fair amount of joy and relief, particularly the NRIs who usually face a lot of hassle for issuing of visas.
It was an unprecedented event wherein a foreign Prime Minister was given such respect and had a large scale following on American soil. It was unbelievable that the event was actually happening in New York and not Ahmedabad because such was the frenzy and the echoes of ‘Modi’. He acknowledged that he was indebted to the people who had supported him and promised that he would repay the debt by making an India of their dreams. He wished the people a joyous and auspicious Navaratri and concluded with a resounding ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’: spoken like a true Indian.
It is a matter of great pride for India to have the Indian Prime Minister being given such an awe-inspiring response. But of course, he deserves it, for the role of the leader is to inspire, to motivate. What our nation needs is an impetus and Modi is the man who will provide it. The world has had a glimpse of his power and his capabilities. All that is left to do is to ensure that the 21st century will indeed belong to India.