New York: Playground of the biggest of rock stars, the iconic Madison Square Garden arena in New York erupted in rapturous applause to the words of a man India has voted as their agent of change- Narendra Modi.
Packed to the capacity with around 20,000 NRIs, the MSG in downtown Manhattan reverberated with chants of “Modi Modi” much before the Prime Minister arrived. Tickets for the event were sold out while hundreds others waited in front of a giant screen at the Times Square to hear Modi speak.
Playback singer Kavith Krishnamurthy began the event at Madison Square Garden with "Yeh Mera India" from the film Pardes, followed by performances by folk dancers from Gujarat, Rajasthan.
India in its all colours was at display at the unique event.
As soon as Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked in, the crowd went into a frenzy and chants hailing him reached a crescendo.
Modi walked up the stage with folded hands – he may have addressed bigger crowds in India but the enthusiasm of the NRI crowd appeared to have had moved him as well.
A contingent of American lawmakers standing on the stage was visibly stunned by the enthusiasm of the crowd for a man who has already been elected Prime Minister – it was not a campaign speech. Among those present were New Jersey Democrat and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Senator, Chuck Schumer, Joe Donnely, Danny Davis, Pete Sanchez, Joe Crawley andJim Hymes. Congressional members including Jim McDermott, Sandford Bishop and Congresswomen Caroline Malorie and Sheila Jackson Lee were also present. However, the star attraction of the contingent was the Indian American Republican Governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley.
The joy and excitement of the crowd over the prospect of hearing his live. Attired in a saffron Nehru jacket and yellow kurta, the Prime Minister held the packed indoor stadium spellbound as Modi began to speak from a rotating dais.
In his over hour-long speech in Hindi which he began with 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai', Modi promised to repay the love bestowed on him by building an India that everyone dreams about.
Highlights of his speech:
- The general elections of 2014, and its result, is a celebration not only for Indians in India, but also for Indian expatriates based in various parts of the world. At the time when I was declared the winner, I could not thank all of you, but today, I personally say thank you to all of you for my victory.
- It is a matter of great pride that 30 years later, for the first time, a single party (the BJP), has been able to form a majority government in India. No political pundit could anticipate it, no opinion makers could make an accurate opinion about it, India`s villagers and citizens made opinion makers the subject of opinion.
- Since taking charge, I have not gone on a vacation for even 15-minutes. It is my promise, that the responsibility that you have given me, I will do my best to ensure that your heads never hang in shame. The way the world economy is progressing at such a fast pace, Indians at home are asking questions as to how long it will take for us to be a part of this rac
- I promise all Indians that we will take the road to development and fulfill all expectations. We will make development a national mass movement. I know all of you have huge expectations from India and its present government, and I am committed to goal that we will succeed in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of all Indians
- I will not do anything to make you lower your head. The government you have chosen will not leave anything out.
- India's three strengths were democracy, demographic dividend in which 65 per cent of its population was under 35 years, and the demand for India because it was a huge market.
- These three things are present in one country, this is not there anywhere in the world. And on the basis of this India will cross new heights - it is my belief.
- Winning elections is not about any post or chair. It's a responsibility. Since taking over (as Prime Minister), I have not even taken a 15-minute vacation.
- You may not have voted in 2014 but I am sure that when the results were coming, you didn't sleep and you all celebrated.
- There is no reason to be disappointed. India will progress very fast and the skills of our youth will take India ahead.
- I was in Taiwan some years ago, someone wanted to ask a question and was hesitating. He asked if I won`t feel bad, I said go ahead. He said I heard India is a land of black magic and snake charmers. I said no, our forefathers maybe would play with snakes but we play with the (computer) mouse.
- My dream is to see every Indian family has a home by 2022.
- By 2020, only India will be in a position to provide work force to the world.
- My effort is to make development a mass movement. I am confident is that we will succeed. There is cause for disappointment. This country is going to make rapid progress.
- There are many expectations from the new government. This government will be 100 percent successful in fulfilling the aspirations of people
- PIO card holders will get lifelong visas and NRIs staying in India for long won't have to visit the police station,
- The People of Indian Origin (PIO) and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) schemes for the diaspora would be clubbed together a new scheme would be announced soon
- Indian missions in the US would grant long term visas to US citizens and US tourists would get visa on arrival in India.
- People ask for a big vision? Well, I got here by selling tea
- I`m a very modest man, and that`s why I plan to do big things for modest people
- And some say it will be India`s century. India has the capacity to achieve that potential
- The 21st Century will be that of India. By 2020, only India will be in a position to provide work force to the world. We are a youthful nation with a very old culture.
- A nation, whose youths are committed to make the future of the country, will not have to look behind. This country is going to progress with the support of the youths," he said as the crowd continuously cheered him.
- Development happens when there is public participation. The erstwhile governments had taken the onus of development only on themselves. We adopted the path of involving al
- Our forefathers maybe would play with snakes, but we play with the mouse (computer mouse).