‘Trust’ is Biggest Need Today, Gujarat CM Modi Tells NRIs


The organizers of the “Gujarat Day 2013” in Norwalk, Calif., which included a Mother’s Day tribute and a 90-minute video address by Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. (Parimal M. Rohit photo)

By Parimal M. Rohit, Special to India-West

NORWALK, Calif., United States:  More than 200 people filled the community hall at the Sanatan Dharma Temple here to watch a live satellite feed of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi take shots at the Indian central government and talk about the role of development in the growth of both his state and the country as a whole.

In all, 20 cities across the United States participated in the live telecast, which simultaneously aired May 12 to Indian American Gujarati communities living in Southern California, New Jersey, Houston, Atlanta, San Jose, Phoenix, and Chicago, amongst other areas.

For nearly 90 minutes, Modi addressed the viewers of the need to rethink how the country advances development by taking a holistic approach instead of building piecemeal. His entire address was delivered in Gujarati.

Modi also opined, due to alleged corruption and other events, that the biggest challenges India faces as a nation is for the central government to regain the trust of the public. He stated the Indian people have lost confidence in Delhi politics, making references to the recent trend of rape cases making international headlines, the reported beheading of an Indian Kashmiri soldier in Pakistan, and a reported border standoff between India and China.

“I feel biggest crisis (today) is lack of confidence. We need to get this trust back. This cannot be merely done by words: Biggest need today is trust,” Modi said in Gujarati during his address before questioning the country’s foreign policy with respect to China and Pakistan.

Beyond foreign policy, Modi also boasted how he has redefined development during his 12-year tenure as chief minister. Instead of developing in select areas, Modi said he pushes for development to take place in all segments of society.

By analogy, Modi explained that if one wants to fill a flat bicycle tire with air, he or she does not do so by giving attention to select portions of the tube. Instead, one would fill the entire tube with air in order for the wheel – and the bicycle – to move forward smoothly.

It’s just the same with development, Modi explained. The more inclusive development is across the country, the smoother India can move forward.

“We have adopted Mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas. We do not want development of only select sections of society,” Modi explained toward the end of the live feed.

Modi also made a request of the NRI Gujaratis. He asked the Gujarati community abroad to help contribute – financially, mentally, and physically – to the construction of a “Statue of Unity” in the likeness of Sardar Patel, adding that he would like this statue to be twice the size of New York City’s Statue of Liberty.

Modi went on to opine that it was Sardar Patel who was the leading figure in uniting India to break away from British colonial rule in 1947.

The 90-minute address, which included a brief question-and-answer session, anchored the “Gujarat Day” celebration here, which was coordinated by the Indian American community of California and the Indian/Gujarati Samuday of North America. Spearheading the local event were community members Keshav Patel, Manu Patel, Dilip Butani, Kewal Kanda, Navin Doshi and others.

Prior to Modi’s address, Arvind Joshi performed ceremonial songs in honor of Mother’s Day.

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