Jubilation Reigns Supreme for Locals at Narender Modi Victory







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By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: The strength of a landslide victory by Narender Modi at the helm of the Bharati Janata Party’s push for assuming power in India brought out all the pent-up emotions among the hundreds of local supporters who have clamored for change and even worked to make that change happen.


An estimated 625 people came out to show their joy vocally and with loud fanfare at India House this past Sunday evening, May 18 to a hurriedly put together victory celebration, in a version of a Fan Mob orchestrated by emails and phonecalls rather than Twitter and Tumblr for the mostly first generation, middle aged crowd who have grown tired of the status quo and lack of visible improvements in daily life in India.


But that effort for galvanizing the forces of hundreds of volunteers from the Indo-American population in the US came from the efforts and technology savvy of a younger generation mindset who banded together as the Global Indian for Bharat Vikas who borrowed a page from the 2008 US Presidential election which heavily relied on the social media aspects of the internet to reach out to voters and influence the outcome of the elections.

And the volunteers behind the GIBV were front and foremost among the jubilant crowd which came to India House, first at the noisy and joyous crowd at entrance to the building and then the speeches, songs and video program that played out in the banquet hall and was followed with a buffet dinner catered by Madras Pavilion whose co-owner Mahesh Shah was on hand.

As people filtered in to the packed parking lot, they witnessed a huge crowd gathered in a circle around two dholuk players and the volunteers who carried a large banner and tiny flags, while dancing to whoops from the others. The mood was definitely jubilant as people shared sweets in the traditional form of felicitations and posed for pictures, one person even walking around with a Narender Modi cutout mask on.

The team leaders for GIBV, Ritesh Seal, Achalesh Amar, Anand Bhatad and Gandhi Gopinath led the indoor program with descriptions of the intense work they had directed at getting out the vote in India through phone calling banks to voters, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook messages to connect 20 million people. Under a slide of the frontpage of an Indian newspaper that read (in Hindi) Lohji aa gaye ache din (Hey, good days have finally come), Seal explained that the 336 seat majority for the NDA (including the 278 seats for the BJP) meant that India was on the path of solid growth for the future. “Through the NRI efforts, we got the BJP agenda for 70 million special needs people” said Amar and recommended the book “Modi, Muslims and Media” by Madhu Keshwar to everyone.

“India will lead the BRIC (Brazil-Russia-India-China) grouping of emerging nations”, he said. The GIBV team was giddy with the success of the election results and showed many short videos and a few cartoon clips lampooning the Am Adami Party’s Kejriwal as well as other Congress and national leaders. “The BJP has planned for many years, using its Houston connections with the support of the RSS, Baba Ram Dev and others. Modi had huge leverage, using 3D holograms and the Chai Charcha and he became a concept”.

There were songs by patriotic songs several women and their teenage children and a young girl named Krupa read a poem she wrote called “NaMo Dance”. The assembly was repeatedly interrupted with shouts of Vande Matram and Bharat Mata ki Jai from both the people on stage and from the crowd and Masterji Trivedi took to the stage to do an improvised celebratory dance with a couple of people and a dholuk player.

Before a slide show showing the activities of the GIBV for the past four months, the main supporters of its work – Ramesh Bhutada, Jugal Malani and Vijay Pallod – came to the front to be recognized. Seal acknowledged the mentoring of Ramesh Shah, who has spent many months in India canvassing for votes for the BJP and the GIBV National Coordinator Gitesh Desai, who likewise is still in India.

Modi’s victory in India was celebrated with a program that had patriotic songs and an impromptu dance by Masterji Trivedi

Modi’s victory in India was celebrated with a program that had patriotic songs and an impromptu dance by Masterji Trivedi

Seal then introduced his own team and others from the local community for their support. Sharad Amin was among the 1,000 people from the US and the 25 people from Houston who went to work in the canvassing for two weeks and explained what he and the others encountered there, with many people curious at NRIs (Non Resident Indians) being involved. P.V. Patel described what he saw in Ahmedabad. Jugal Malani read a poem about the good days to come due to Modi, a visionary person.

Saroj Gupta read a poem she wrote about the hopes for Modi and the future. Dinker Chedda declared there were two stories going on: one in India and the other in Houston and predicted that Modi would seek out the help of NRIs, whose efforts have all been within the laws of both the US and India. Haider Kasim said that change had already begun as the US media gave more coverage to India affairs.

Ramesh Bhutada closed out the speeches with his impassioned call to everyone to heed the message of change and progress that this crucial election signaled for the future of India, urging that there was no turning back in the transformation of the country. “The GIBV volunteers inspired me, not the other way around”, he declared. “This is India’s second independence, but from a dynasty, from vote banks, from a legacy of socialism and from divide and rule policies”, he added. He said that there was a debt to the RSS for their work over its existence. “The RSS and the HSS have given me the discipline and other aspects to run my life and my business”.

Achalesh Amar described the work that the GIBV performed since starting in December 2013 and how 1,260 volunteers made 1,900,000 calls, and connected with the calling centers in 15 states. “Even before the last round of calling was finished, we predicted that the BJP would cross 252 seats”, he proudly declared. “The US may have made WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter but India used it to the change the government”, he added with a broad smile.