“Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures,” is the program being organized by Texas India Forum (TIF), a Houston-based non-profit body, at the NRG Stadium in Houston on September 22, 2019. The event was fully sold out with 50,000 registered attendees, at least a month in advance with thousands in the waiting list.
In one of the largest event by a politician, PM Modi is being welcomed in Houston's #HowdyModi rally. And, given that over 50,000 influential Indian-Americans are attending the event, even US President Donald Trump will join in! Click To Tweet
Why are these programs important?
Everywhere in the world, specifically democratic world, numbers count. Without numbers, you don’t have a voice that can be heard. When sufficient numbers come together to share a view, endorse a person or a direction, shift happens. Indian-Americans have long been a silent, albeit wealthy, community. That needs a change. For, the Hindus specifically have been run over in many areas, including how the textbooks in the US schools portray them! The fight has been very tough.
Such events bring the voice of the predominantly Hindu American community together. And that has a strength that was not seen earlier.
These events also showcase to the local leadership in the country – Canada, UK, Australia, US – that Indian Americans are a powerful group who can speak in one voice. They have large numbers and lot of money and influence. So, the local leadership not only factors that in when planning for their own elections, but also in how they shape their national and geopolitical policies. If some issue is important to Indians, and specifically resonates with the base of Modi in the US, then it will be mighty foolish for Trump to do something contrary.
For example, I can say with a fair bit of confidence, that Ro Khanna and Pramila Jayapal have bid their political future with the Indian Americans a good bye. I doubt that any Indian will side with them in anyway in their next bid. Their days of working with the Indian-Americans and hoping they will back them are gone. They may have sucked up to the Islamist-Leftist-Liberal brigade entrenched in Sanders’ campaign staff hoping that will help them in the party politics, but they have no political future left in being elected from their local areas!
Third large Modi event abroad
After the events at Madison Square Garden in New York in 2014 and the SAP Center in San Jose, California in 2016, ‘Howdy Modi’ will be the 3rd largest by Indian PM Modi in the US. It will also be the largest yet.
Given the silent and strong clout of Indian Americans in the US, such programs also bring in many political heavyweights. When Modi had such an event at Wembley in 2015, David Cameroon had joined in. In Toronto’s large event at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto where the then Canadian PM Stephen Harper had joined in.
This time, Donald Trump will be joining in the Howdy Modi program. In a statement by the White House, it was stated that Trump will first join PM Modi in Houston, TX and then go to Wapakoneta, Ohio where he will join the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. In Ohio, the three will visit the Australian-owned manufacturing facility.
As Texas shows signs of turning purple from strong red, the Republicans want to fight for every district and vote. And, that is why Trump wants to ensure that the influential Indian-Americans are by his side. Also, Houston is the energy hub of the world with all Oil & Gas companies having a large presence there. This makes it most critical for the Indian PM. And he is going to have a round table with the CEOs of the large Oil and Gas companies.
Democrats losing Indian-Americans
The Democrats will be there with the House Majority leader Steny Hoyer, and a few others, but as we said before, the recent remarks by some Democrats like Bernie Sanders, Ro Khanna, and Pramila Jayapal on Kashmir – which were based on false narratives – have not gone down well with most Indians.
By joining hands with Trump in such large numbers, the Indian American community will send a clear signal of the way of things to come. This will also help the Indian Americans to assert themselves after a long time!
Howdy Modi portends future
For Pakistanis, of course, there will be a lot of heart-burn after the humiliating treatment of Imran Khan by the US Administration. This will at least boost the strength of India in the Kashmir issue.
This Houston even will strongly impact the future of not just the US-Indian relations, but also a lot that will happen on the Indian subcontinent. Just wait and see.