In an unbridled gust of joy and jubilation, nearly 625 Indian Americans – both the young and old – gathered at the India House on Sunday, May 18th to celebrate ‘Victory of India’. They were celebrating the recent general elections that have declared an unprecedented victory to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and announced its 63-year-old leader Narendra Modi as the incoming Prime Minister.
This victory was especially historical for the Global India Bharat Vikas (GIBV) association, formed with the help of NRI volunteers to boost the ‘Modi for PM’ campaign. More than 1000 NRIs went from the USA, Japan, Canada and other countries to India as volunteers for the campaign out of which 25 were from Houston.
Achalesh Amar, Houston GIBV Coordinator, speaks on the occasion.
Achalesh Amar, Houston GIBV Coordinator, informed the gathering that approximately 1.9 million calls were made by the GIBV volunteers throughout the “Reference Calling Campaign,” successfully connecting with five to eight million voters in India directly. “The innumerable ‘indirect’ appeals through social media campaignsupport on Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp provided by the volunteers helped generate and sustain the momentum throughout the nine phases of polling,” Amar stated. He urged the gathering to get involved in nation building and mentioned the initiatives taken by NRIs which found a mention in BJP manifesto – a 7 point agenda for 70 million abled individuals and disaster management efforts.
Sarojini Gupta, President Sewa International, seen reciting a poem dedicating to Modi ji.
The “Victory of India” celebrations were kicked off with a procession through the parking lot of India House center setting the mood with high energy dancing and shouting of slogans: “Bharat Mata Ki Jai” and “Vande Mataram” throughout.
The celebrations continued with equal gusto inside India House where guests were seated to a formal setting. A beautiful rendition of the patriotic song “Vande Mataram” was sung followed by more inspirational songs like ‘Chodo kal ki baaten….’ that resonated Modi’s slogan to march ahead.
Ritesh Seal and Anand Bhattad, both active members of the GIVB served as emcees for the event successfully enhancing the mood with their high energy presentations and engaging the audience throughout the program with their wisecracks and apt insertions of relevant information. Sharad Amin, President, Hindus of Greater Houston, and Madhukar Adi, (Hyderabad) gave an account of the “campaign on the ground” activities in India, sharing their experiences of campaigning in three Indian states. Krupa Rathi, a ten year old dedicated her poem thanking people for supporting Modi ji in her own adorable style. A video of Modi ji’s victory speech was played to the rapt attention of the audience which responded with thunderous slogan shouting at the end of the speech.
Members of the India American community in Houston who gathered at the India House to join in the celebrations on May 18th, 2014 . Photos by Bijay Dixit, Unique Images.
The event was well attended by dignitaries and community leaders from Houston including Sugar LandCouncilmember Harish Jajoo, FBISD Trustee, KP George, Col Raj Bhalla, Subhash Gupta, Swapan Dhairyawan, Shobha Joshi, , Ramesh Bhutada, Charlie Patel, Jugal Malani, Dev Mahajan, Prof. TRN Rao, Goray Mookerjee, Shekhar Agrwal, Sarojini Gupta, Arun Kankani , Latafath Hussain graced the occasion.
Sarojini Gupta, President Sewa International, recited a couple of freshly coined poems capturing the campaign and victory of BJP. Jugal Malani, President, India House, Dinkar Chedda and Haider Kazim addressed the gathering as well.
Young volunteers sang Indian patriotic songs at the celebration
In his keynote address, Ramesh Bhutada, a noted industrialist and an experienced leader of the community (the GIVB volunteers referred to as their mentor) spoke encouragingly about how the entire team inspired each other to work tirelessly and enthusiastically. Terming this election victory as the second independence for India as it truly got its ‘freedom from vote bank politics, freedom from caste based politics, and freedom from the dynastic politics.” He lauded the efforts of various organizations in India which supported in the campaign. The efforts of Baba Ramdev and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar found a special mention in his speech. Hailing the paradigm shift in the politics where the focus would be on development of all, he was thrilled to mention that with India was emerging as a “Jagat guru” and the younger generation of NRIs would feel better connected to India. Bhutada also recognized Raman bhai Patel, (from Surat, Gujarat) former from VP of BJP Gujarat and Kartik Trivedi, an artist and musician of international acclaim based in Houston who were present on the occasion.
GIBV supporters: L-R: Ramesh Bhutada, Jugal Malani and Vijay Pallod
Gandhi Gopinath proposed a Vote of Thanks to all the supporters, volunteers, media members, donors and attendees. The entire event was efficiently coordinated by Manoj Rathi who meticulously planned and executed the entire program until it concluded with a sumptuous vegetarian dinner, provided by Vishala Restaurant. Earlier on May, 16th, volunteers and supporters of NaMo campaign were treated to a luncheon at the Bhojan restaurant to express their appreciation and also celebrate the moment of victory.