The Asiatic Gir Lion roars in Toronto


Narendra Modi set the Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, arena ablaze with his fiery speech!

TORONTO: The Indian Prime Minister need not wage a war against anyone. He could just walk in and trance a nation into submission!

That is what I felt after watching the charismatic leader, Narendra Modi, speak at Ricoh Coliseum, Toronto, in the presence of 10,000 spectators and a horde of Canadian ministers, including Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, and his wife, Laureen, on Wednesday night.

What should I call him? The yellow-striped tiger of India or the Asiatic Gir Lion of Gujarat? I am befuddled by the furor the crowd exuded.

It was as though they were watching a World Cup match, a Rockstar on stage or a Hollywood film actor perform. He walked lazily around on stage, basking in the adulation amid shrieks, whistles and foot stamping, as the audience swooned over him — women of all ages squealing, “I love you Modi!” and the crowd chanting “NaMo! NaMo!”

His dais turned to face the surrounding crowd leisurely, as the man himself leaned on it as if he was sitting and chatting in his living room. “You have made India get recognized in Canada, not me,” he said amid ear-splitting cheers from all four sides. Four humongous television screens hung above him, giving the arena a close-up view of the all-saffron man.

“When India celebrated Modi victory during the day, you celebrated it at midnight,” he said.

“It may now be taking about 14 to 17, at the most 22 hours to reach India from Canada. But it took 42 years for an India Prime Minister to reach Canada from India,” said the dramatic orator, while the crowd exploded.

Although we all know that Dr Manmohan Singh, during his tenure as Prime Minister, visited Canada from June 26 to June 28, 2010, at the invitation of the Prime Minister Stephen Harper. During his visit, Singh participated in the G-20 Toronto Summit and held bilateral discussions with Harper.

However, facts found it hard to bob its head above the sea of Modi madness on Wednesday. Even media had to search Google twice for such facts.

Talking about facts, let’s list any substantial outcome of this visit. One, Harper and Modi unveiled a $350-million deal for Canada’s largest uranium producer, Cameco Corp., to supply 3,220 metric tonnes to power India’s reactors over the next five years.

Two, Indo-Canadians will be included in India’s visa-on-arrival program, which was announced by Harper, but was not touched-upon by Modi himself.

Three, Indo-Canadians will now get a 10-year visa and a life-long OCI, while we all know that OCI and PIO status are now merged. This was announced by Modi himself.

Modi may have tad slipped in his magic back at home grounds, but with this ‘inflated’ bouquet for the Diaspora, he is all set to lure the NRIs and set the media on fire. He even promised a seat for the NRIs at the Planning Commission in India.

Amid the warm (read: HOT) welcome that he received in Toronto, Modi pitched his Canadian counterpart Stephen Harper an enticing invitation to be a partner in his vision for India’s development, while stating repeatedly how his government is the visionary “cleaner” of India, cleaning up the rotten waste of the past governments.

Narendra Modi came. Saw. Conquered. The Diaspora hearts are softer than their Indian counterparts and we still believe that Modi is the change India needs desperately.

While it’s hard to please the radical Indians at home, the essential charming orator may still stand a chance with the Indian Diaspora if he concentrates on performing what he proclaims so hard.

(Published in The South Asian News, Toronto Edition, April 17, 2015)


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