It is a rock ‘n’ rollers dream to “sell out The Garden,” but for a foreign politician to pack New York City’s most famous sports and entertainment arena is another thing entirely.
Narendra Modi, on his first trip to New York as India’s Prime Minister, will draw perhaps the largest crowd ever by a foreign leader on US soil when he takes the stage on Sunday in Madison Square Garden before a crowd forecast to total more than 18,000 people.
Thousands more are expected to pack New York’s Times Square to watch his address in Hindi on big screens as well as smaller viewing parties around the country and on TV in India.
The Indian diaspora hopes this visit by a leader who was until recently denied visa by the United States will signify India’s importance not only on these shores but all over the world.
The event is being emceed by prominent members of the Indian American community, Nina Davuluri, who has just relinquished her crown as Miss America 2014, and TV journalist Hari Sreenivasan.
“Indian citizens and diaspora over the world are hopeful that this (Modi) administration will cut bureaucracy and focus on people,” said Dr. Dinesh Patel, chief of arthroscopic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, who arrived in the United States more than 50 years ago.
Mr. Patel, who says he was given an award for work in education by Mr Modi, a fellow Gujarati, added: “People are passionate to see the new leader. Another Narendra is coming to this country to let the USA know what India is about.”