India’s new Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now speaking to 20,000 mostly Indian Americans at Madison Square Garden.
He’s speaking in Hindi, which he encourages other Indian diplomats to speak as well, according to Quartz.
Speaking about his recent election victory, Modi said “Even the poorest of poor people, how much faith they had in democracy. To win elections is just not limited to just sitting on the seat. To win an election does not mean you get an office and sit there. To win an election is a big huge responsibility.
“Ever since I have taken the responsibility of this job, not even for 15 minutes have I taken a vacation.”
“The poorest of the poor people in India have started to say, how long can I live like this. They needed a change. I assure you to bring it up, and to bring quality of life in India, the government you have chosen will not leave any stone unturned.”
” We are convinced that 21st century is a century of Asia. Even the most respected leaders of America have publicly said the 21st century of Asia and some said its the century of India.
He called Democracy “our biggest strength.”
“Democracy–this is our biggest strength, our biggest capital. It’s not just a system. It’s a faith. It’s a belief.”
He pointed to the nation’s 1.2 billion people as a market the world can’t ignore, but he said development in India can’t take place without full participation of the government and its citizens working together.
“We should make development a public revolution, ” said Modi . “Growth and development must be a public movement.”
He said everyone in India must be part of this public movement.
“By the time we reach 2020 the world is going to need a work force so much. We will be able to provide a work force in the entire world.”
He pointed with pride to India’s recent mission to Mars which he said was accomplished inexpensively–by some reports 74 million dollars versus the United States which spent $637 million, according to NPR.
Modi said was eliminating the bureaucracy that can often slow business development and said a system was being put in place to allow people to connect with India online. “To change the destiny of India, we all want to be connected.”
He called himself a “very small man, a common man. I like to do things for small people. I have the intention of doing big things for small people, ” he said.
He said it was the responsibility for everyone in India to clean the country to honor Mahatma Gahdhi for bringing independence to India.
Modi said “he had a dream” in 2022 when India celebrates 75 years of independence that “there was not a single family in India that will not have their own house to live in.”
He thanked the crowd for “giving him a lot of love” and said he was very grateful to them and promised to repay the loan by forming the India of your dreams,” he said to the cheering crowd.
“Long live mother India,” he concluded.
You can watch a live feed of Narendra Modi’s appearance before a sold out Madison Square Garden in New York here.
According to the New York Times , Modi is getting a reception from the Indian American community normally reserved for a Bollywood star.
But while 20,000 adoring fans are inside, a group of protestors were expected outside.
Al Jazeera reports resentment remains deep to Modi’s perceived treatment of minorities in India.
“What we’re protesting is not just Modi,” says Robindra Deb of the Alliance for Justice and Accountability. “In a lot of ways, he’s the face of this. But it’s not just about him. It’s about this whole movement that backs him.”
Modi’s handling of the Gujrat riots in 2002 which left 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus dead remains controversial even today.
Watch AsAmNews for continuing coverage of Modi’a appearance at MSG.