Houston Indians Celebrate Yogi Win

HOUSTON: Last Sunday March 13, Hillcroft Avenue was resonating to the sound of drums and chants of Hanuman Chalisa that one would usually associate with the streets of Varanasi or Prayagraj or Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh State in India. What was the reason ? The Indian American diaspora of Houston were celebrating the thumping victory of Yogi Adityanath , Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh , also known as UP. This was part of a victory of the BJP party in 4 state legislature elections seen by all of India as a victory for good governance, law& order, and inclusivity

Yogi as he is popularly known just completed his first term as the democratically elected Chief Minister of UP and was reelected to a second 5-year term with a resounding two- thirds majority (275 out of 403 seats) in the UP State Assembly (legislature). He was elected on his track record of restoring law and order in a state that was known for its huge amounts of crime, his quelling of scores of mafia gangs that went around the state terrorizing people under previous UP state governments, infrastructure development of UP that had languished in the last 10% of Indian states in infrastructure since 1947, his adroit handling of the Covid epidemic, and his good governance of UP, a state with a population of 240 million people. If UP were a country it would rank sixth in terms of population and its electorate would rival that of the US in numbers. A few examples of his life altering people centric governance in his first 5-year term are as follows:

1. 14.78 million new gas connections to families who were using wood burning stove that cause respiratory illnesses among the women of the house

2. 4.3 million new houses to people who were living in huts and who had never known a solid roof over their heads
3. Muslim women were afforded protection from the dreaded Triple Talaq which allowed a man to divorce his wife by simply saying the word talaq (divorce) thrice.

What relation does all this have to the Space City Houston and its inhabitants? Houston is home to 300,000 Indian Americans who are all vested in improved relations between the city of their work (Karma Bhumi) and the largest state in the land of their birth (Janmabhoomi) namely UP. They want to increase the people to people contact between Houston and Texas on one hand, and UP on the other. The want to increase the presence of American companies from Texas and Houston in UP under the make in India program started by Prime Minister Modi and being aggressively implemented by CM Yogi. They want to increase the tourism from Houston and Texas to the holy and historic cities of Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura, Sarnath, Prayagraj and many others. They want to take their friends from Houston and show them what a great place UP is and promises to be under the leadership of Yogi.

So, a band of motivated Indian Americans took it upon themselves to celebrate this great and deserved victory by Yogi on March 13 in Houston. The rousing tunes of the ancient and great prayer Hanuman Chalisa and shouts of Jai Shri Ram, & Bharat Mata Ki Jai (Victory to Mother India) rent the air. Drums that reminded one of war drums on the ancient battlefield of Kurukshetra (of Mahabharat epic fame) and festival drums on the modern streets of Varanasi & NOIDA made people sway to their lilting rhythms. Snacks and sweets were distributed to all passersby celebrating what Indian Americans hope will be the start of a great journey to cement the relationship between Varanasi the most ancient and longest continuously inhabited city of the world and the holiest city of Hinduism, and Space City Houston which is their adopted home.

The hope is that there will be a long people-to-people, commercial and diplomatic bridge between Houston and UP that will outlast governments and result in a mutually beneficial relationship. It would also serve as an example to the world of how a non-corrupt, progressive, people centric, good governing, government, could lift 10s of millions out of poverty and provide a sustainable way of existence going forward. That is an idea that most people could support, natural allies, and partners in an everchanging world !