Why ‘Howdy Modi’ Worked Magic at Houston?


By: R. Veera Raghavan, Advocate, Chennai

A riveting political spectacle of 2019 was witnessed on 22nd September, themed ‘Howdy Modi’. The venue was NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas, thronged by over 50,000 Indian Americans to welcome and hear India’s prime minister Narendra Modi. He gave a rousing speech and proved he was the super hero of the event.

At the stadium, US President Donald Trump also took the stage along with Modi for some time, and later Trump came down to occupy the front row and watched the huge crowd react to the Indian leader repeatedly in rapturous applause. Trump has also recalled that the stadium scene was like rock star Elvis Presley coming back. How could Modi work his magic?

If Indian voters are delighted to see Modi and wish to give him a huge mandate in elections, that is understandable. They would want to see development around them and a better life for themselves and so they keep high hopes on a leader they perceive as strong, able and incorruptible. But Modi doesn’t hold any elective office in the US. As India’s prime minister, he didn’t do anything, and has no role to play, for the welfare of Indian Americans living in a different continent. Why should those people go in ecstasy to welcome and be with Modi?

A good number of Indian Americans who assembled at the Houston stadium should be US citizens, and many more among them would be wanting to join their ranks. But citizenship is only a matter of legal allegiance, and all of them have a soul-level attachment to India, more so when they are Hindus. If you are a Hindu born in India or if your Hindu parents were born in India and you are proud about your Hindu lineage you cannot turn your heart away from India, and a part of you will be longing for India even as you work and live abroad. Hindus look upon India as a land of holy places they revere and hence their special bond with this country. This applied to nearly everyone who was present in the NRG Stadium – and to many several times the stadium capacity who watched Modi live on television across America that day.

Look at how Sikhs deeply revere Gurudwara Darbar Sahib at Kartapur, the final resting place of Guru Nanak, that became part of Pakistan after partition. That location is now enemy territory, but Sikhs in India – and from around the world – have unfading sentimental attachment to Kartapur and look for a pilgrimage to that gurudwara. This tells us, in a parallel, about the special attachment Indian American Hindus will have for India that is full of holy sites in its rivers, mountains, puranic locales and innumerable temples. And yes, this phenomenon has a connection with the Howdy Modi event.

An average Indian American has a higher level of education than an average native American citizen. Indian Americans know very well why their education, knowledge and competence are valued and used for the development of America, but not in India which needs those human resources more dearly. They know who the villains in India are in this story – all typical Indian politicians who entrenched themselves in power throughout India for the past several years to reap personal gains, stifling merit and talent and pampering mediocrity and letting corruption grow all round.

Most  Indians  with  a  good  academic  record  and  high merit find themselves suffocated by the country’s corrupt and degraded political atmosphere and the shackles it lays on ability, personal progress and national development. Those who can get out of the country to grow and prosper do so, and many of them reach American shores. Once there, they would be happy working their talent and reaping its benefits. They would surely be contented in a life which offers clean water, good civic services, efficient transport and assured quality education for their children, which remain a dream for the people of India. But still they won’t forget their contempt and hatred for the Indian political leaders who stunted the development of a country which the emigrated Indians emotionally love.

If those Indian Americans, and possibly their children too, spot an Indian political leader whose heart beats for India and who is honest, hard-working, humble and astute, and he looks a gift of the gods for India’s redemption and development, they are overjoyed. To them, applauding and rooting for such a new-found Indian leader is like hitting back at the other grade of Indian politicians they despise for what those politicians do or did to India.  And so Modi came and conquered the hearts and minds of Indian Americans and dazzled at the NRG Stadium.  As he also spoke credibly and evocatively to Indian Americans, they naturally warmed up to Modi with euphoria – which also meant they were gleefully kicking many rascal politicians of India who all along betrayed the land those Indian Americans deem sacrosanct.  This is why Howdy Modi glowed and galvanised Indian Americans.

Can you still not grasp why the Modi magic worked with Indian Americans in Houston? Then you don’t know how Indian politicians in government, with their little minds, let down India for long. Those politicians ruled amidst the Congress party’s shoddy track record at the Centre and in many states – specifically, when the Congress has been led by Indira Gandhi and by worse leaders later. They constantly drove bright disgruntled and choiceless Indians, still loving India, out of the country. These Indians – who are now largely spread over USA, Britain and Australia – will always cheer and celebrate Modi, the different leader. But don’t worry – in India you will still benefit from Modi.

Copyright: R. Veera Ravhavan

(This article is borrowed with thanks from here)

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. IPC
    Sep 28, 2019 @ 13:07:24

    There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind that by and large Indian-Americans (and aspiring would-be Indian Americans) are much above in their intellectual calibre than the average Indians living in India. It is not to denigrate Indians living in India. They are intellectually less developed because they did not get the opportunity to develop their talent. Indian American have seen the world – how the people of US and other first rate countries are developing fast in this competitive world. They know before Modi India was sleeping, its people were milked by corrupt politicians and there was no way even in imagination to come out of this dismal condition. But now it is no more so. Modi has put all his energy to bring India out of this gloom. Modi knows how to work. Corrupt are being sent to jails, development is on fast track, with a global vision India is taking a lead on the world stage, agenda for peace (against terrorism etc.), human harmony, environment protection and other burning issues (like unjustified hegemony of China in South China Sea) etc. are being set by India. Indian Americans know all this and its value for the world. They are not sleeping in US; they are highly intelligent. Credit for all this goes to Modi and they know it. It is the tireless work of Modi and the high intellectual accomplishment of Indian Americans that has created this magic of public euphoria at the Howdy Modi at Houston. This writing of dear R. Veera Raghavan is beautiful analysis of this event.

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