Hundreds of Indians in New Jersey, including Indian-Americans, gathered to pray for the electoral victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the upcoming elections.
Close to 900 millions Indians are expected to go to the polls starting April 11 for 6 weeks of voting in the largest exercise in democracy, the results of which will be declared May 23.
On this side of the globe, non-resident Indians are mobilizing in support of Modi, engaging in phone calls, trips to India, and holding prayer meetings and Chai pe Charchas (Discussions Over Tea), and Chowkidar marches.
On Sunday, April 7, a “Shiv Shakti Maha Puja and Yagna” was held at the Shri Sanatan Mandir in Parsippany, N.J., hosted by India World Foundation, a non-profit based in Morris Plains, N.J. Back in May 2014, a similar yagna was held in the mandir to usher in Modi’s victory for his first term.
Billed as a yagna “For United India” the flyer of the event said the prayers were meant to “send Divine Energy toward Preserving, Nurturing our Dharma and Culture, as India goes through tremendous Election Cycle and also praying for our Motherland towards becoming an emerging Global Power ‘Vishwa Guru’.” The prayers were also “For Vibratn & Strong Bilateral Relationship between USA and India” and “Blessings for the Victory of Shri Narendra Modi’s Team in 2019 General Election.”
Speakers praised Modi who they credited with raising India’s status in the world and bringing about reforms in that country over the last five years in office.
Seshadri Chari, a leader in the Rashtriya Swayam Sevak Sangh (RSS), and on the National Executive Committee of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in his speech, called the yagna “a very great occasion” adding that he was “elated” to be part of it.
An estimated 400 people attended the yagna, according to those present at the event.
“NRIs are India’s ambassadors in their country of adoption,” said Chari who is also chief editor of India’s HW News Network, a partner of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold. “It is said ‘You can take an Indian out of India, but you cannot take India out of an Indian,” Chari said, adding, “They have kept the culture of India. They have kept it alive.”
“So it is not just victory of an individual. We are working for victory of not even one party, but for the victory of India. So if India is victorious, India’s culture, India’s dharma … and also universal peace will remain intact,” Chari emphasized. “So we are actually working for one universe – that is Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.” He praised NRI “karyakartas” who he said were “keeping the religion and culture of India afloat.”
Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, the founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and chairman of ITV Gold, thanked all Indians living abroad, who he said “were all children of India” and must work for the betterment of India.
“We all should take part in this festival of democracy. And who can make India strong? The one who has risen; one who has a great vision; one who works day and night for India; one who brought India to the global level — and that is no one else but our beloved Prime Minister Narendrabhai Modi.” He praised the health insurance initiative “Ayushman Bharat,” the largest of its kind undertaken in the world, being implemented during the Modi government, and other steps.
“Please tell your friends and family at home to vote for Narendrabhai. Vote for a strong leader, a visionary leader, to give him another chance,” said Dr. Parikh, predicting that Modi would be victorious and get a “pure majority” in the new Lok Sabha after the elections.
Dr. Parikh urged people to pledge to be “Chowkidars” (watchmen/ guards) adding, “Main Bhi Chowkidar” (I am also a Chowkidar), a slogan that Modi has made popular garnering thousands of followers around the country and in the diaspora.
Pramod Bhagat, president of India World Foundation, said people must work “selflessly” for the betterment of India. “Our dream is that it (India) go forward with Prime Minister Modi at the helm,” Bhagat said in his speech.
Indians living abroad, who Bhagat described as “NRI Hind ki Sena” have pledged to “selflessly” help the Motherland, which he said is moving ahead under Modi’s leadership. ‘Sena’ is Hindi for army.
There can be many ways to serve India, said Bhagat, including making phone calls to family, friends, one’s village, to urge people to vote for Modi, or to pray at home and “send positive energy” to India.
Krishna Reddy Anugula, president of the Overseas Friends of BJP, spoke about the various marches and Chai pe Charchas that his organization had held and will be holding over the coming days.
Ajit Kothari, a trustee of the Sanatan Dharm Mandir spoke briefly saying the temple was “happy” it was chosen to hold the havan and happy to contribute to Modi’s success.
The yagna was conducted by priest Pravin Shastri. “I urge parmatman that this yagna is successful. We did this yagna for my Bharat to the vishwa guru that it is, and the vishwa guru it will be,” Shastri said (rough translation), adding that he believed Modi would be the best person to maintain the status of vishwa guru or global power. “This should be our national prayer,” he added (rough translation).