Indian Americans ready for Narendra Modi with buses to White House, garba

RITU JHA

A three-hour event featuring garba and Odissi dance, dhol and music will be held near the White House by Indian-American community organizations for the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The event — called ‘Let’s show the World Leaders how we celebrate our cultures!’ — has been planned by the Virginia chapter of the non-profit National Council of Asian Indian Associations (NCIA).

Modi’s three-day visit to the US, which starts Wednesday, September 22, will include him participating in the Quad Leaders’ Summit, addressing the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly, as well as a bilateral meeting with the President Joe Biden at the White House.

Due to the pandemic, Modi has not planned any of his signature community events like the ones held earlier at Madison Square Garden in New York, the SAP community even in Silicon Valley, and the Howdy Modi in Texas that attracted a crowd of over 50,000.

The Washington DC event this time is expected to have 500 people in attendance, according to the organizers.

NCIA executive vice president Sashi Aggarwal told indica News they were still reaching out to Indian dance schools and coordinating on hosting a cultural dance.

We got very little time to prepare,” Aggarwal said. “It was very short notice and due to the pandemic they did not want us to do any reception.”

The flyer circulated among the community promises a free bus ride to the event. The buses will leave from various stops on Friday, September 24. The organizers have offered a breakfast box before boarding bus and lunch boxes before return.

Alok Srivastava, the trustee of Rajdhani Mandir, one of the bus stops, told indica News that he would be visiting the airport to receive Modi. There would be around 100 people to welcome Modi at the Joint Base Andrews airport in Maryland where he will reach around 5:30pm on September 22.

The next day we people of Indian origin are trying to have a personal meeting with Modi,” Srivastava said, hoping that the Prime Minister would mingle with the community.

The idea is to create a festive environment for three hours and want the music and dhol sound to reach as far as to the White House where President Biden would be meeting Modi, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga,” he said.

He said the capacity of the park is 750 and they had taken a permit for 500 people.

K V Kumar, president & CEO, Indian American International Chamber of Commerce (IAICC) is traveling from Florida to meet Modi in Washington DC. “I was missing the festive mood,” he said.

M R Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, who hosted a bilateral dialogue on the sidelines of Modi’s Washington DC visit in 2017, told indica News that per his information, the Prime Minister would have very few meetings.

According to Indian government info, Modi will have a breakfast meeting with some business leaders on Sept 23. He would be having bilateral meetings with Japan and Australia and next day and a bilateral meeting with Biden. After that will be the Quad submit.

Modi’s bilateral engagements will include a meeting with Vice President Kamala Harris, their first formal interaction.

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