Two months before his Sept. 27, 2019 speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Indian-Americans in the United States began mobilizing to welcome India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The result, according to organizers was thousands of members of the Indian diaspora converging from around the tri-state area, at 2nd Ave. and 46th street, to celebrate Modi’s speech delivered that morning. Members of the crowd were interviewed by media outlets there to interview a host of demonstrators and supporters of various causes who usually gather at the UN for one cause or another.
Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media and ITV Gold, noted how Modi and President Trump had wowed the more than 50,000 people at the HowdyModi! event in Houston Sept. 22, and how Trump had basically “endorsed” Modi’s initiatives, including the Kashmir issue.
“At the UN, approximately 6,000-7,000 people came to meet and greet the PrimeMinister and listen to his speech,” said Dr. Parikh, adding, “He showed he is a world leader. His speech involved global issues. We enjoyed, welcomed and celebrated his speech.” (Dr. Parikh is a patron of India World Foundation, and Parikh Worldwide Media was a media sponsor of the event.)
Pramod Bhagat, founder, trustee, and chairman of India World Foundation, a New Jersey-based organization, said two full blocks in Manhattan, were chock-a-block full with people who came not only on the 36 buses, but also by local transportation from the various New York boroughs, New Jersey and from as far as Houston and Washington, D.C.
“It took 8 weeks of effort to bring this together. We met many organizations, temples, and others around the tri-state, so it was a decentralized effort. There was no politics behind it,” Bhagat said. “This was just the biggest welcome from the diaspora at the UN,” said Bhagat, who is an IT professional on Wall Street.
Dr. Jasu Patel, came all the way from California to help with organizing the event. Both Patel and Bhagat said their efforts to organize were welcomed by the UN Permanent Mission of India. Some of the organizations involved included BAPS, Gayatri Parivar, ISKCON, and groups of Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs, Sindhis, Ahmadiya Muslims and others.
Some of the participants such as restaurants and temples donated food packets for the crowd. Garba dancing and dhol playing added to the celebratory mood.