Ashwin Shukla 7 Vik Samvat. Yugabda 5116: October 1, 2014

-1.  FESTIVALS: Kartik Poornima


11. NINTH HINDU MANDIR EXECUTIVES CONFERENCE CONCLUDES:  12  RSS ON UPSWING - With more shakhas, online recruits, and mainstreaming of agenda, RSS on upswing




1.  FESTIVALS: Kartik Poornima  ( November 6 this year ) is also known as Tripuri Poornima or Deva-Deepawali - the festival of lights of gods. It derives its name from Tripurari - an epithet of Bhagwan Shiva. Shiva in his form as Tripurantaka  killed Tripurasura on this day. This victory is celebrated by lighting lamps. This day is also called "Dev-Diwali" - the Diwali of the gods. Kartik poornima is also the birthday of Matsya, Bhagwan Vishnu's fish-incarnation (First Avatar).
On this day, Annakuta, an offering of food to the deities, is held and temple complexes in southern Bharat are lit up throughout the night with Deepmalas or towers of lights. Lights are also floated in miniature boats in rivers. Lights are placed under Tulsi, Sacred fig and Amla trees. In Tamil nadu , in tiruvannamalai ten day annual festival is be held to celebrate karthikai deepam.
In Pushkar, Rajasthan, the Pushkar Fair or Pushkar mela commences on Prabodhini Ekadashi and continues till Kartik Poornima. This fair is held in honour of god Brahma, whose temple stands at Pushkar.
A ritual bath on Kartik Poornima in the Pushkar Lake and places like Varanasi is considered most auspicious. Jains celebrate this festival by visiting Shantrunjay Hills in Palitana a Jain pilgrimage centre. Guru Nanak was born on the day of Kartik Poornima in 1469 AD. - goTop

2. AT UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY, PM REBUKES PAKISTAN FOR ITS KASHMIR OBSESSION: Pakistan's ceaseless effort to internationalize the Kashmir issue earned a sharp rebuke from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who told the UN general assembly on 27th September that it was a pointless exercise when there were so many more pressing issues facing the region and the world.

"Raising it at the UN won't resolve bilateral issues," Modi suggested in caustic remarks that came a day after Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif told the general assembly that his country could not draw a veil on Kashmir. "We want to promote friendship with Pakistan too, but we can only talk without the shadow of terrorism over us," Modi said in a speech delivered in Hindi, adding that it is incumbent on Pakistan to create a conducive atmosphere for talks.
Modi also asked the world leaders to adopt an International Yoga Day, saying that by changing lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us deal with climate change. - goTop

3. BUST OF SWAMI VIVEKANANDA INSTALLED IN PARIS: On the eve of the anniversary of Swami Vivekananda’s speech at World Parliament of Religion in Chicago (September 11, 1893),  Bharatiya Ambassador Arun K. Singh alongwith Mr. Marcel Pochard, President, Cite Universite, Mr. Bikas Sanyal, Director, Maison De L’Inde and Swami Veetamohan, President Ramakrishna Mission, France, unveiled the bust of Swami Vivekananda at the Cité internationale Universitaire de Paris (CIUP) in Paris on 10th September, 2014. CIUP is located in the 14th arrondisement in Paris, where Swami Vivekananda stayed during his visit to France.  After the unveiling of the bust of Swami Vivekananda, Ambassador spoke about his ideas of Inter-faith harmony, Universal brotherhood, and his contribution in instilling pride in his countrymen in their cultural and spiritual heritage. He recalled that the great French Nobel Laureate Romain Rolland, was inspired by Swami Vivekananda and had written a book ‘The Life of Vivekananda and the Universal Gospel’. - goTop


4. MESSAGE OF UNIVERSAL ONENESS: DATTATREYA HOSABALE: Hindu Swyamsevak SanghUK hosted an interactive event on September 21 at the Swminarayan Temple, Stanmore,London where sahsarkaryavaha of the Rashtriya Swaysevak Sangh (RSS) Shri Dattareya Hosabale, highlighted the circumstances in which the RSS was started in 1925 and what are its principles, and guide lines for Bharat in the present scenario.

The programme was attended by the all the major Hindu organizations of UK including ISKON, BAPS Swaminarayan sanstha, Hindu Forum of Britain etc. A question-answer session took place regarding Kashmir, BJP, and North-East province of Bharat. Dattatreyaji explained the four major factors which have contributed to the success and strength of RSS:
1) Ideology of Hindutva which encompasses universal humanitarian values. 2) Leadership, from very first day the organization has been strong with visionaries, 3) Technique of daily gathering and concern for the nation and society and 4) volunteers’ sacrifice, strength and dedication of the RSS worker that has enabled such a unique Prime Minister of Bharat to take centre stage of the world.
He said that, “The national culture of India is the Hindu culture which embraces all’ and  emphasized that RSS is not an organization within the Hindu society but is to organize the Hindu society and to spread the message of universal oneness, Udar Chirata Namtu, Vasudaiva Kutumbakam – The whole world is one family. - goTop

5. DR. MOHAN BHAGWAT INAUGURATES NEW OFFICE BUILDING OF RSS IN LUDHIANA: RSS chief Dr. Mohan Bhagwat on September 25th called for expansion and consolidation of the organization's work of preserving country's heritage and culture across the country. He was inaugurating the newly constructed office of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh built in the memory of late RSS national general secretary Madho Rao Muley at Ludhiana.

"What is important is not the building but the spirit and the soul that it represents," he said. In his brief speech, he asked RSS workers to dedicate themselves to the task of building the nation and living up to the ideals put forward by late Muley. - goTop

6. SCANDINAVIAN SHBIR 2014 ORGANISED BY HSS NORWAY: This year's Scandinavian Shibir was held  in Sanatan Mandir Sabha premises near Oslo during 29-31st August. Altogether 125 participants met for 3 days with lot of excitement. Theme of the Shibir was “Save the Earth & Environment“.

Apart from normal activities in a Sangh Shibir like  Shakha, Bauddhiks etc. Workshops, Charchas and Vishesh Abhays sessions were held on the environmental subjects like main causes of pollution, contribution of vegetarianism and Hindu way of life to environment, things to do in day-to-day life to save electricity, energy, water etc. Slogans used in Khels & physical activities included names of main rivers & mountains in Bharat and in Norway to set special focus on environment & nature during the whole Shibir.
During Vishesh abhyas Varg health sessions by swayamsevak doctors and Vedic Mathematics by sevikas followed by question/answer were organised. Sessions were very popular and kept all shibirarthis busy and engaged. For children, suitable scientific experiments, making of paper planes & equipments and educational videos based on Mahabharat & Ramayan were held. In Samarop Samaroh, president of Sanatan Mandir Sabha Shri Harkesh K Sharmawas was the chief guest. - goTop

7. MOM SENDS FIRST PICTURE OF RED PLANET: As Bharat proves a point beyond its space exploratory capabilities by sending its spacecraft Mangalyaan to the Red Planet, it started beaming pictures of Mars from day one of its orbit insertion. An ISRO team, led by ISRO Chairman K Radhakrishnan and ISRO Scientific Secretary V Koteswara Rao, presented the pictures to the Prime Minister in Delhi. After winning the Red Planet marathon in its first attempt ISRO’s MOM sent photos that show crater marked surface of the Mars. According to a space scientist at ISRO, the MOM has been so gentle in obeying the command and has started sending photos which are critical to analyze for further studies.

According to V Koteshwara Rao, Scientific Secretary at ISRO, MOM has taken a dozen photos which were crucial link for future studies.
He said, “After MOM landed, the colour camera on board started working. In fact, soon after Orbiter stabilized in its path it has taken a dozen quality pictures of its surface and its surroundings. The MOM is in its pink of health and all its parameters are functioning well. The MOM will also take the pictures of two moons of the Red Planet.” - goTop

8. SEVA BHARATI TO ADOPT 60 VILLAGES FOR REHABILITATION: Sewa Bharati and Mata Amritanandamayi Math together are going to adopt around 60 severely flood hit villages of Jammu & Kashmir for permanent rehabilitation. These are the villages where impact of the flood is huge and not only the houses, but also the agriculture land has become useless for several years due to silt. “We are conducting survey of the damage and the exact number of such villages will be ascertained only after the survey report,” said RSS Akhil Bharatiya Sewa Pramukh Shri Suhasrao Hiremath after visiting the affected areas of the State. Rashtriya Sewa Bharati general secretary Rishipal Dadwal accompanied him in Srinagar and surrounding areas.

Shri Hiremath said apart from supplying food and other items, the Sewa Bharati activists have also provided four blankets to each person at several places. “The villages where electricity is not expected to be restored for long time, we have decided to provide solar lights. About 2,000 solar lights are to be distributed shortly,” he said adding that Sewa Bharati teams of doctors are visiting the affected villages to treat and educate the people about the water borne disease which may occur in coming days. Suhasji also suggested the workers to provide school bags and books to all the students. About 5,000 such kits are to be provided in the first phase. - goTop

9.  LORD GANESHA FIGURE IMMERSED IN PATTAYA BAY THAILAND: Followers of the Hindu and Buddhist god Ganesha capped a 15-day festival with a ceremony lowering a statue of the “god of success” into the sea at Bali Hai Pier.

Deputy Mayor Ronakit Ekasingh and Pattaya Ganesha Lovers Club President Chaiwat Detnathee led the faithful at a fire sacrifice and prayer ceremony Aug. 28 as part of the Ganesha Chaturthi celebration.
The centerpiece of the event was the ritual immersion of a 2.39-meter-tall Ganesha figure made of Plaster of Paris into the sea, symbolizing a ritual see-off of the Lord in his journey towards his abode in Kailash while taking away with him the misfortunes of his devotees.
Devotees joined in, bathing the figure in curcuma, coconut and nectar, and covering head of priests as per ancient tradition. They prayed for sadness and disease to be lifted and wrote the names of relatives on the statue to eradicate evil from their lives and bring prosperity.
The Aug. 15-30 festival - the sixth year it has been held in Thailand - is the country’s largest celebration of its kind. The festival included a parade through Pattaya to display Ganesha’s image so followers could pray for their own success and obstacles to be removed. - goTop

10. ‘BODHI' TREE GETS A PLACE IN VIETNAM'S PRESIDENTIAL PALACE: A second sapling of the revered ‘Bodhi’ tree from Gaya in Bihar was planted in Vietnam’s Presidential palace on 15th September by Bharat’s President Pranab Mukherjee, 55 years after Bharat  gifted the first offshoot of the holy tree to this Communist country.

Mukherjee along with Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang planted the sapling in the nicely maintained lawns of the palace soon after the two leaders finished delegation-level talks and signed seven pacts. The sapling procured from the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) a few days back was carried in a small wooden box as a gift to the country and people of Vietnam. It was The first ‘Bodhi’ tree in Vietnam was gifted by then President Rajendra Prasad to his counterpart President Ho Chi Minh in 1959 and it was planted in the Tran Quoc Pagoda here. - goTop

11. NINTH HINDU MANDIR EXECUTIVES CONFERENCE CONCLUDES: Over 200 adult and youth delegates representing over 85 Mandirs and Hindu organizations, from across the world, attended the ninth annual Hindu Mandir Executives' Conference (HMEC) that was held from September 19 -21 in Orlando, Florida USA. It was co-hosted by a record 47 Hindu temples and Hindu organizations from across the United States, Canada and the Caribbean. The theme of the conference was: "The Role of Temples in Hindu Education."

The participants discussed how the temples, through community involvement, can contribute to the American society in many ways such as, coping with and reducing stressful situations through traditional practices, and by referrals to the right resources available via local city, county, and federal agencies. A special session was dedicated to teaching Hinduism in Universities. With the increasing academic awareness of Hinduism, many universities and colleges offer courses on the subject which are often taught by non-Hindu practitioners. - goTop

12.   RSS ON UPSWING - With more shakhas, online recruits, and mainstreaming of agenda, RSS on upswing - It may be an 89 year old organisation, identified as representing a more conservative set of values. But the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is witnessing steady growth. With more shakhas, online recruits, and mainstreaming of their agenda, the Sangh - ideological parent of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - is on the upswing.

In July 2012, the Sangh had 34,761 shakhas; this number swelled to 37,125 shakhas the following year; and this year - by July 2014 - RSS was holding 39,396 daily shakhas. There has also been a spurt in the number of volunteers registering on the Join RSS link on its website. If there were around 1000 such people every month in 2012, 2500 possible volunteers in 2013, this number has swelled to an average of around 7000 online recruits this year.
The increase in membership must comes as a shot in the arm for RSS - for there was a perception that they were facing a crisis in attracting the young. There was a time in the last decade when the number of shakhas were over 43,000. And the Sangh's number 2 in command Suresh Bhaiyyaji Joshi admitted last year that there were challenges - educational patterns, lifestyle, working hours had changed leaving people with little time, energy and inclination to attend morning or evening shakhas. Other Sangh officials say there had been a spike in numbers when they celebrated Guru Golwalkar's Birth centenary in 2006-07, but then as happens after an intensive period of public outreach and expansion, there was a period of consolidation. All agreed on need for flexibility and innovation.
Can the increase in RSS strength be attributed to the rise of the BJP and Narendra Modi in this period? Sangh officials do not believe there is any direct link, and it is in fact the RSS' own organic strength which may have helped BJP.
RSS, they insist, does not depend on political or government support. Manmohan Vaidya, chief spokesperson, told HT, "Look at Kerala. The RSS is very active in the state but there is barely any BJP presence. Our growth is autonomous."
But there may have been indirect impact. The incessant coverage of the Modi campaign led to greater curiosity about the RSS and more media visibility. Private television channels in the past few months have done dedicated shows on sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat's birthday, on the life of founder Dr Keshav Hedgewar, and discussions on Sangh's work.
There has also been more discussion on Hindutva related issues - be it the desirability of a Hindu Rashtra, the place of Muslims in India, whether there is anything called 'Hindu terror', or 'love jehad'. All of this divided society and drawn criticism, but its mere discussion drew some segments to the Parivar ideology.
During the elections, the Sangh was out there in full force backing the BJP. They visited homes, and this increased their interface with society. Pracharaks and swayamsevaks are known to maintain such relationships, and the public outreach too would help in spreading the message.
But Vaidya believes the core reason for growth is because of an increasing 'hunger among people to assert their cultural identity' and a desire to 'serve society', wherein RSS is seen as synonymous with social service.
The use of new technology provided a channel to tap into this sentiment. Vaidya explains the modalities of online recruitment. "If a person from Rohtak has registered on the join RSS site, we pass on the name to the Haryana in charge who passes it on the Rohtak in charge. Someone from the area would then visit this person's house and judge how he can contribute best to Sangh and how much time he can give - either by attending shakhas, or through social media, or participating in our festivals or getting engaged in service activities." In bigger cities where meeting each possible recruit may not be possible individually, they organise a bigger interaction at a common place on a monthly basis.
The Sangh has also reached out directly to students in colleges and universities and in fact there is currently a three day camp of Sangh affiliated students in Delhi underway in Sonepat, attended by Bhagwat himself. They also organise IT Milans - for busy professionals in cities likeBangalore who cannot attend morning shakhas daily.
Almost 90 years after it was established, a product of the Sangh is now PM with a full majority. As it expands, its political and social impact is bound to increase. (Prashant Jha, Hindustan Times  Sept 27, 2014 ) - goTop

13. VICTORIA’S LOCAL HEROES RECOGNISED AT THE MULTICULTURAL AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE 2014: Victoria’s Multicultural Awards for Excellence 2014 were announced on 22nd September in the ceremony at Government House. Now in its 15th year, these respected Awards acknowledge outstanding achievements and services made by people and organizations that support cultural diversity in communities across Victoria.

This year a total of 73 individuals and 17 organisations received awards in 10 categories, spanning various sectors of the community including education, local government, policing, business and media. HSS senior karyakarta Shrikishan Auplish and Nisha Bhatnagar are the recipients of the awards. - goTop

14.   KAILASH YATRA BREAKS ALL PAST RECORDS:  A total of 909 pilgrims have visited Kailash Mansarovar this year, setting a new record of sorts. The yatra is an annual affair which passes through Uttarakhand and goes till Kailash Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region under China.

Last year, owing to the adverse situation, the yatra was suspended midway. “Though there were apprehensions, we are glad that the yatra broke past records. We feel this will send positive feedback across India,” said Deepak Rawat, managing director of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN). - goTop

15. INTEL, SNAPDEAL, INFOSYS AND OTHERS INTRODUCING YOGA AMONG THE WORKFORCE: Companies - from Indian Railways to companies like Intel, Snapdeal, Jabong, Infosys and Maruti Suzuki - are introducing yoga and pranayama among the workforce to stem the impact of the various ailments.  

Almost 60% to 70% of executives visiting Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals are suffering from stress-related diseases, says senior consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist, Dr Achal Bhagat. "The number of patients from the corporate world who seek help has gone up by about 20% this year compared with last year," says Dr Bhagat.
Companies or professionals offering Corporate Yoga have witnessed a steady rise in the past few years. "Last year, we used to get around 150 queries from corporates compared with 250 queries so far this year," says Pradeep Solanki, director, Yoga On Call.
Many practitioners have customised yoga into chair yoga, flight yoga, office yoga, laughing yoga, yoga on the move, walking yoga and even 10-minute yoga for BPOs where there is paucity of space and time. - goTop

16.  THREE BHARATIYA-ORIGIN LEADERS ELECTED TO NZ PARLIAMENT: Three Bharatiya-origin politicians Kanwaljeet Singh Bakshi, Dr Parmjeet Parmar and Mahesh Bindra have successfully made it to the 121-member New Zealand Parliament in the just-concluded general elections.

Delhi-born Bakshi and Pune graduated Parmar fought the elections as the candidates of the ruling National party while Mumbai-born Bindra was elected as the New Zealand First party candidate.
While Bakshi is all set to begin his third term in the Parliament, Parmar and Bindra are ready to make their debut, taking the growing contribution of the Kiwi Indians in New Zealand to the parliament as well.
Bakshi is both, New Zealand's first Bharatiya and first Sikh Member of Parliament. He was first elected in the 2008 elections. - goTop

17. OBAMA NAMES BHARATIYA-AMERICAN RICHARD VERMA AS BHARAT ENVOY: In a first of its kind, President Barack Obama has nominated Bharatiya - American Richard Rahul Verma as the next US Ambassador to Bharat just ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s American sojourn.

A former Assistant Secretary of State from 2009 to 2011, Verma’s nomination needs to be confirmed by the Senate before he can succeed Ambassador Nancy Powell, who quit her post last March following the protracted spat over the harsh treatment meted out to Bharatiya diplomat Devyani Khobragade in New York. Known for his close proximity to President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, the 45-year-old Verma is currently a senior counsellor at Steptoe & Johnson law firm and the Albright Stonebridge Group. He is also a Senior National Security Fellow at the Center for American Progress, the prominent Washington-based Democratic think tank.  
A son of immigrants from Punjab who arrived in the US in the early 1960s, Verma and his four siblings were raised in Pennsylvania. His father taught at the University of Pittsburgh for four decades. - goTop

18.  1 LAKH AND COUNTING: TCS IS NOW TOP EMPLOYER OF WOMEN: In a landmark for India Inc, the number of female employees at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has crossed the one-lakh mark, making it the country's biggest employer of women in the private sector. Women now comprise one-third of the IT major's 3.06 lakh workforce. This makes TCS, also the most valued company in Bharat, one of the top employers of women in the technology sector globally. The top slot is held by IBM, which has an estimated 1.3 lakh women out of a workforce of 4.31 lakh.

In terms of market cap, the next two players in the domestic IT market are Infosys (54,537 women employees) and Wipro (45,276) but the female workforce of TCS is more than the two combined. The IT and BPO sector collectively employs about 3.1 million, of which nearly one million are women, according to industry body Nasscom. - goTop

19. AYURVEDA, A RAY OF HOPE FOR ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE: Natural News, a health portal dedicated to wellness, has come out with the news that herbals and plants found in Bharatiya subcontinent are capable of reducing the chances of Alzheimer’s disease. Along with herbs and plants, it is Bharat’s traditional system of medicine, Ayurveda, the West sees as a ray of hope.

“Brahmi is capable of improving attention, cognitive processing and working memory,” says the Natural News. Prof BM Hegde, eminent medical researcher and former Vice-Chancellor of Manipal University, said that the findings by the portal need serious discussion. “This is yet another proof that Bharatiya system of medicine has ever lasting solutions to all kind of medical disorders. Brahmi, Ginkgo biloba and Gotu kola all find detailed mention in our system of medicine,” said the professor.
Ginkgo Biloba is a fossil plant found in Japan and China. Extracts from the leaves of Ginkgo have been found to improve the memory of middle-aged persons. Gotu kola, found inHimalayas, along with other herbs within the Medhya rasayana group, are quick in action and bring about improvement in memory faster when compared with Yogic practices,” says the article. - goTop

20. CHANDRABABU NAIDU HOLDS PAPERLESS CABINET MEET: Taking a step further in eGovernance, the Andhra Pradesh state cabinet has now gone paperless.

On 15th September morning, wielding iPads in their hands, chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and his council of ministers conducted a meeting of what is being called "eCabinet", a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country.
It was a regular meeting of the state cabinet, but the uniqueness this time was that it is paperless, with the government switching over to the electronic format in conducting proceedings.
The agenda and the minutes of the meeting were all electronically recorded while a power-point presentation was made on important subjects for elaborate discussion, sources in the chief minister's office said. - goTop

21. FIRST NON-EUROPEAN BHARATIYA LAW LECTURER AT CAMBRIDGE: Mumbai-born Antara Haldar has become the first non-European lecturer of law at the University of Cambridge. At 28, she is also among the youngest, and the only Bharatiya to get the tenured position in the top-ranking law faculty that traces its origins to the 13th century when ancient Roman and Canon law was taught. She studied at Cambridge for her law degree in 2006 and got a Doctorate in 2010.

"I am happy and also excited about being on the faculty ... It is a triumph and recognition for the work that I have done. There have been other Indians appointed to other faculties but never in the field of law," says Haldar. - goTop

22. IIM CALCUTTA RANKED BEST B-SCHOOL IN ASIA: The premier Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta has been ranked as the best B-school from Asia in the FT Masters in Management Global Rankings. It has been recognized at rank 13 of the 2014 Financial Times Master in Management (MiM) ranking leaping by 6 places from 2013, for its flagship post graduate program.

According to the list it is the highest ranked non-European B-school with a prized positioning in the top cluster. With only six non-European schools in the list of top 70, the other Bharatiya school in the ranking is IIM Ahmedabad on rank 16.
IIM Calcutta has also been recognised as the best management institute globally for study in economics with the first rank. - goTop

23. EIGHT BHARATIYAS IN FORTUNE LIST OF POWERFUL ASIA-PACIFIC WOMEN: As many as eight Bharatiya women, led by ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar, have made it to the Fortune list of 25 most powerful women “shaping the new world order” in the Asia-Pacific region.

Kochhar, ranked highest among Bharatiya women, has been ranked second across the region, while three others -- SBI’s Arundhati Bhattacharya (4th), HPCL’s Nishi Vasudeva (5th) and Axis Bank’s Shikha Sharma (10th) -- have also made it to the top-10.The list is topped by Australian banking major Westpac’s chief Gail Kelly.

24. SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Shri Dattatreya Hosabale will return Bharat after finishing his tour to UK and European countries. Visitors:


FOOD FOR THOUGHT: The nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons. They arise from sense perception, and one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed. - Bhagavad Gita  - goTop

Niharika Mandhana
New York--Madison Square Garden thundered with applause as thousands rose to their feet and chanted the name of an unlikely celebrity: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The grand reception on Sunday, filled with dance and Bollywood tunes, was a reflection of the mood among much of the Indian American community that sees Modi as once-in-a-generation leader who can at last fix the entrenched problems that have held India back while other Asian nations have sped ahead.
"I live thousands of miles away, but i know the things that bother you," Mr. Modi said to them in colloquial Hindi. "I will make the India of your dreams."
Elected in a landslide victory in May, Mr Modi has vowed to kick start economic growth and modernize India by building much-needed infrastructure and removing beauracratic hurdles to business. His message has stirred hope among large numbers of Indian-Americans and ex-patriates, from entrepreneurs belonging to Mr. Modi's Gujarati community to students and young professionals, many of whom watched from afar with frustration as India's economy slowed and corrution scandals dominated the headlines.
This group understnads India's potential because they have been so successful abroad. Indians are among the best-educated and highest-paid group of migrants in the U.S.
To them, Mr Modi is an embodiment of how they want India to be seen: ambitious and resourceful.
"Modi can set India on a completely new path, truly bring India into the 21st century," said Pradeep Khosla, the Indian-American chancellor of the University of California, San Diego, who moved to the U.S. over three decades ago.
Mr. Khosla lamented that the "India story" had fizzled out, saying, "It's not a good feeling when you're not proud of your country."
The event marked a dramatic personal moment for the Indian leader, who was banned from traveling to the U.S. in 2005, a few weeks before he was to arrive in Florida to address a much smaller gathering of Indian-American hoteliers.
His visa was revoked over allegations that he didn't do enough to stop deadly riots in the state of Gujarat in 2002 when he was chief minister there, which he denies. The riots left at least 1,000 people, the majority of them Muslim, dead. A court last year said there wasn't sufficient evidence to prosecute Mr. Modi.
The prime minister's Hindu nationalist credentials have made him an unpopular figure among some Indian-Americans who see him as a religious strongman and a threat to India's multiculturalism.
Protesters outside Madison Square Garden said they wanted to draw attention to the Hindu nationalist groups that back Mr. Modi's party and their fundamentalist agenda.
"We want to make sure everyone knows that those celebrating Modi do not represent the entire Indian-American community," said Shaik Ubaid, a 52-year-old neurologist who is part of a group called the Alliance for Justice and Accountability.
There are more than three million Indian-Americans in the U.S. and among their ranks are heads of big businesses, entrepreneurs, acclaimed artists and scholars.
In a more than one-hour-long speech, Mr. Modi asked them to participate in India's development, saying their contribution was part of his vision for a "people's movement for development," modeled, he said, on Mahatma Gandhi's mass movement for freedom from British rule.
Mr. Modi is hoping to tap the diaspora to propel his economic agenda. He was set to address a large gathering of Indian-American businesses in Washington later this week.
Outlining his image of India, he promised to fix the things that have long frustrated Indians living abroad, from unclean streets to unending official paperwork. He announced eased visa regulations that will allow members of the community to travel to India more easily.
"India was seen as a country of snake charmers. You have changed that," he said.
The event Sunday was a big show of force by the community. Organized by 400 groups under the umbrella of the Indian American Community Foundation, it cost $1.5 million dollars. Over two dozen U.S. elected officials turned up, and were seated alongside a cast of prominent Indian-Americans.
The event was "a tribute to the Indian-American community and their profound contributions," said Cory Booker, a senator from New Jersey, which has one of the largest populations of Indians in the U.S. "It is a day of pride for the Indian-American community, but also for Americans."
How Mr. Modi and India are seen in the U.S. has a big impact on the Indian community, said Khyati Joshi, a second-generation Indian-American who has written a book about Asian migration.
If the news coming out of India is upbeat, and if U.S.-India relations are seemingly important, Ms. Joshi said, that shapes how diaspora Indians see themselves. If the news is centered on rape, corruption and bad roads, it affects their self-esteem and sense of identity, she said.
"Whether they are first generation or second, Indian-Americans are seen as Indian at some level, even if they want to identify as American," Ms. Joshi said. "Whether they like it or not, their racial and ethnic identity hits them in the face."
Munjal Shroff, a 40-year-old Indian-American psychiatrist in Atlanta, who watched Mr. Modi's speech from home, said the Indian elections this spring had garnered a good deal of coverage in the U.S. and piqued the interest of his American friends and colleagues. Mr. Modi's visit, he said, is doing the same.
"The American government at the highest levels engaging with the Indian government puts out powerful images," Mr. Shroff said. "It makes the Indian-American community feel more comfortable, more confident."
Part of Mr. Modi's appeal among overseas Indians is his meritocratic rise through politics and his noncorrupt image. His supporters point to his beginnings as a tea-seller at a railway station, and admire his discipline and work ethic, virtues also associated with the American dream.
Mr. Modi also enjoys a frenzied fan following among devout Hindus in the U.S.
Lalji Goswami, a 39-year-old IT consultant in Tampa, Florida who left India 13 years ago to look for better opportunities in the U.S., said he disliked India's "pseudo secular" politics that he said had "made Hindus reluctant to even say they are Hindus.""Modi isn't shy or embarrassed by his culture and religion," Mr. Goswami said.
(Wall Street Journal, September 28, 2014) - goTop