New York, Sep 25 : Indian-Americans have reacted warmly for the Houston meeting dubbed ‘Howdy Modi’ and described it as the beginning of a new era in bilateral relations.
Noted New York attorney and community leader Ravi Batra, who immigrated to the US early in his life, dubbed it unprecedented. “Precedents were broken and protocol-embedded wisdom discarded in Houston when Prime Minister Modi introduced President Trump,” he said in a statement. “I beheld with supreme delight the prime minister welcoming the president that too here in the US”.
Jagdish Sewhani, a former spokesman for Overseas Friends of BJP (USA) and currently president of the American-India Public Affairs Committee, watched the Houston meeting at Port Washington on nearby Long Island along with 60 others. “I see the emergence of a New India and an end to Islamic terror,” he said, referring to the Trump vow there. “I believe it is the largest gathering for any foreign dignitary.” Sewhani added: “Pakistan has been isolated even in the Muslim world. It has already been isolated diplomatically internationally.”
Naga Ambatipudi, an IT professional working in the Houston area, observed “Modi Mania” in the NRG Stadium, the venue of the meeting. He arrived sufficiently early to witness the “history in the making.” The 41-year-old professional, based in nearby Indians-dominated Sugar Land, was happy with the arrangements and the work of volunteers. He witnessed the rock concert-like program along with his wife and two children.
Enthusiastic backers of Modi, dressed in elegant saris and dhotis, waved both national flags and chanted “Modi, Modi.” They ate samosas and pieces of naan bread, as well as the locally available nachos. “We celebrated our community and its importance in Houston and all America,” Ketan Inamdar, who works in the Houston mayoral office, was mentioned in published reports as saying. “Race, religion and political parties don’t matter today.”
He was seen with the American flag on one cheek and the Indian one on the other. Preeti Dawra, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit Texas India Forum, the main organiser of the event, was ecstatic. Trump’s presence was an indication of his support and endorsement of strengthening bilateral relations, she said.
The rally had a symbolic value for both leaders, according to Devesh Kapur, director of Asia Programs at Johns Hopkins University. Kapur penned a book on Indian-Americans.
Kashish Parpiani, fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, commented on the recent measures undertaken by the Modi government.
“These moves seem to have been keeping in mind Modi’s domestic base. Modi is paying attention to the economy at a time when it seemed like foreign policy and events like Howdy Modi had taken central stage,” he said, according to a news report. Indian-Americans generally support the Democratic Party, but that attitude is slowly changing as acknowledged by some community members.
MR Rangaswami, the founder of Indiaspora, said events like the Howdy Modi would make the community more relevant. According to him, more Indians would now support Trump and the Republican Party, which attracted 14 percent vote share from the community. “He (Trump) could hope he could change some minds,” Rangaswami said, according to the New York Times. “It could happen.” (UNI)