There are many who asked me what Howdy Modi is. Houston is the fourth-largest city with a population of over 1,30,000 Indian-Americans and “Howdy”, is a short form for ‘How do you do?’, which is a friendly greeting commonly used in the southwestern United States. Houston, the fourth most populous city of the US and most populous in Texas, is named after Samuel Houston. This was one of the largest gatherings of the Indian-origin Diaspora ever addressed by Modi and Trump. More than 50,000 Indian-Americans from across the country had attended the “Howdy, Modi!” event, the largest-ever gathering of this minority but affluent ethnic community in the US. The gargantuan event, rowdily named as “Howdy, Modi!”Really reflects the growing size, power and complexity of the Indian-American community, both in the Houston area and the U.S. The most significant attendee in “Howdy Modi” was US President Donald Trump. This is because Trump, who as a Republican presidential candidate in 2016 promised to be India’s best friend. The Houston event came ahead of the 2020 US presidential elections, in which the influential Indian-American community is expected to play a big role. Trump will earn more votes from Indian Americans in the 2020 presidential elections. This reveals the fact that PM Modi is a polarising politician – loved and loathed in equal measure in the world.
Modi’s main two engagements in Houston were addressing the NRI community at a stadium and a roundtable meeting with CEOs and top executives of US energy companies. Over 1,000 volunteers and 650 organizations had mobilized to make it possible. The Indian-Americans were very enthusiastic about PM Modi and US President Donald Trump as they jointly addressed a mega ‘Howdy, Modi’ rally, which they feel can take the bilateral ties to a new level. The entire city of Houston enjoyed the festivities and learned about Indian-Texan relations.
With the cultural program, the attendees experienced the vibrant expressions of people empowered by their identity and driven to enrich the communities around them. The cultural programme arranged preceding PM Modi’s address, showcasing Indian-American artists from Texas has portrayed how the community is woven into the larger tapestry of American life. It has also involved broad-based community participation across the United States.
The show had also lighted on unsung heroes in the Indian-American community who had undertaken selfless acts benefiting the broader American community without any need of recognition.
There is no doubt that this event is a unique moment in world history as the leaders of the world’s oldest democracy and the world’s largest democracy shared a stage speaking to 50,000 Indian-Americans.
Indian Ambassador to the United States Harsh Vardhan Shringla has rightly described Howdy Modi as the “largest event” of its kind, adding that it is a bigger and momentous event as compared to all the previous overseas community events of PM Modi. The event was organized by non-profit Texas India Forum (TIF), a representative body of Indian-American organizations in Texas and other parts of the US. The message is very loud and clear that US and India are natural allies and this relationship will get stronger as time goes. It has created a great opportunity to emphasize the strong ties between the people of the United States and India and to discuss the ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship.
Today there are many in Houston who are Modi’s supporters and are very much attracted by the PM Modi’s attitude towards modernization, the environment and improving India’s economy. One would see that there are no other leaders like Modi and Trump who works for their country, love their country and for them the country comes first. The United States and India must work closely together to address the pressing issues that impact our nations, our countries, and the entire world too.