Posts Tagged ‘Modi’

The Asiatic Gir Lion roars in Toronto

modi

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)

Advertisements

I wish I was born in Modi’s India… I might not have immigrated to another country just to avail my basic rights and dignity, and to live as a human.

I keep hearing Indo-Canadian friends complain about Canada: too cold, too high taxes, cannot relate to the multi-cultural people around us, too much wait-time at the hospitals — wish we could go back. But we cannot. Why? Because this foreign country gives us the basic rights and dignity which our own birthplace could not.modi

I lived and worked in India ‘snugly’ during the 10-year ‘delectable’ UPA era, which perhaps caused the country to plummet into the depths of corruption and dishonesty that she had never witnessed since Independence. And, inadvertently, lived in India during its ‘luxurious’ 35-year Communist era in Bengal. I saw the worst: bureaucracy, red-tapism, breaking down of the society, ‘dis’-industrialization, wreckage of the education system, rise of muscle-power and the redefinition of the word ‘Communism’. I survived, somehow. In power-cuts, in heat and pollution, in water shortage, in poison-spewing public transports, rushed for reporting in unkempt villages, and met ministers who were lavishly resting atop bundles of public cash. (I was raised a roadside journalist, which today’s generation hasn’t heard of).

I am not saying that they are gone, vanished, whooshed! Corruption will take another 200 years to disappear from India. But somewhere I can see a movement. A movement to make these anti-elements disappear. And despite some discrepancies, the bigger picture reflects that the Modi government is the reason behind this.

I have not met Mr Modi personally, but I’m supposed to hear his speech coming week when he’s in Toronto for a few hours. If I could have, I would have asked him just one question: When can you call us back?

When can you give us the clean air that we breathe here? This foreign country, which has no blood ties with us, gives every citizen running hot-and-cold water in every tap. Clean drinking water running from every kitchen tap. When can you give every Indian citizens free healthcare when they can walk into a clinic and walk out without paying anything? Free education to every child, be they rich or poor, in the same institution up to grade 12? When can you give Indians roads free of potholes and traffic signals that are working and obeyed by all? In how many years?

When can you give us these fundamental needs? When can you give Indians true freedom? To walk, stroll back home at the middle of the night like we can do it in Canada? When can we come back to our motherland with dignity, Mr Prime Minister?

I am sad to say I am Canadian now. Sad, because I could afford to come here and avail the basic necessities. Millions cannot. Sad, because my country (Read: Past government) did not let me hold onto my Indian citizenship. Tell me one thing Mr Prime Minister, is this change that we are witnessing a one-government mirage? Will we ever see a true socialism emerge in your era, like which was envisaged by Mahatma Gandhi and Netaji Subhas Bose? Can we come back to our country and live there once again with all the dignity of being just a human being? A proud citizen?

Canada too has its discrepancies, but we can ignore that. Because the law and the system does not support it. Law cannot be bought. Justice is not blinded by power. No one is powerful in Canada. No one is a VIP. Everything has a system and you have to follow it. Which is why perhaps I could not personally interview you. No influence works here.

Like me, there are hundreds of Indo-Canadians who would be glad to go back to their motherland. But their inner system has got so used to the regulated system in this country, that even if they want, they cannot. The peace is addictive.

When can you promise Indians this kind of peace, Mr Prime Minister?

(Published in The South Asian News, April 10, 2015)