‘Howdy Modi’ event live from the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas of the United States of America was truly overwhelming. Howdy is a Texas slang form of “How you doing”, a common way of Americans addressing one another.
Modi addressed a large and a largely disciplined crowd of 50,000 people of Indian Americans. I have seen Modi address more boisterous crowds in India, with audience far higher than this rally in Houston. But rarely (probably never) he got the same kind of attention on media, especially in India.
The entire airwaves back home on a Sunday evening was filled with the coverage of Howdy Modi, pushing an ungoing T20 Cricket match (a game religiously followed than any religion in India) to the back burner. It was quite unprecedented scale for an event held on the foreign soil to get such a feverish media coverage back home in India. However, the mainstream American media made a frugal coverage of the event, so I had to catch it on YouTube. The icing on the cake was Donald Trump. No doubt he was the star of the stage and his presence making all the difference. Such a widespread media coverage won’t have happened without him on board – especially for an event held on a foreign soil. Trump was very forthcoming and turned his speech into a campaign rally – heaving paens of praise on the Indian American community, sharing the common ethos and pathos of both nations, keeping in mind his reelection bid only a year from now. He left no stone unturned in eyeing India as one of the world’s top notch emerging market and America’s desire to tap on it. No one knows better than Donald J Trump who himself is a businessman. It is win-win situation, beneficial for both nations.
Yet one must have noted Trump alluding Modi doing his best to alleviate the Bureaucratic red tape in India to make it more business friendly. This is a much needed step as it is well known to Trump and international business community about India’s Babudom being its biggest bottleneck to its growth. The President of US is right in finger -pointing it as a deterrent when US is looking for an alternative to China in the middle of an ongoing trade war.
Let’s hope all these bonhomie lasts long, patiently waiting and watching how far it goes when it takes to next level. There forever will be the ubiquitous invisible Elephant in the room – Pakistan. The nuisance and utility value of that nation should never be underestimated. No question that it’s advantage India for now. A pat on the back from the most powerful person on earth doesn’t hurt at the time of Kashmir imbroglio post scrapping of the Article 370.
Sambeet Dash is an Odia technocrat living in Georgia US.