Modi gets rockstar welcome in Central Park

Modi gets rockstar welcome in Central Park

 Who would have thought of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a rockstar? But Saturday evening, he shared the stage with top music icons like JayZ, Beyonce, Carrie Underwood, Sting and Alicia Keys.

 
Modi also received rockstar treatment from a crowd of more than 65,000 at the Central Park here at the Global Citizen Festival, as he talked about subjects like sanitation, health and global peace.

Using an unusual platform, the prime minister praised youths for their “can do” attitude which has the power to transform India and the world.

Modi began his speech in English: “How are you doing New York? I hope you are having a good time.” Modi said he was delighted to be among the youth at an open park and not inside a closed conference room.

Modi was introduced to the crowd by actor Hugh Jackman as someone who started off as a “tea salesman” and went on to become chief minister of Gujarat and then the prime minister of India with a huge mandate.

After a seven-minute speech in English, Modi also read out a Sanskrit scripture calling for “peace in the world” and greeted the largely American crowd with a “Namaste” amid cheers and claps.

He also sent his “Namaste” to those watching the concert on “TVs, laptops, tablets and phones”, becoming the first Indian politician to send across a social message from a music concert.

“Because you are the future. What you do today, will decide our tomorrow. I feel a current of hope in this park. Among you, I feel confident about the future,” the 64-year-old said while referring to the youths.

“I salute you. I feel proud of each one of you. I am sure, your families, your friends, your nation, feels just as proud,” he said.

Hailing the Global Citizen movement to end poverty and provide education and basic sanitation to all, Modi said: “Some believe that the world changes with the wisdom of the old. I think that the idealism, innovation, energy and can-do attitude of the youth is even more powerful.”

“That is my hope for India too (for) 800 million youth joining hands to transform our nation,” he added.

Modi said he decided to attend the festival to extend his support and to express his belief that the youth of India can join them in this global effort. UN chief Ban Ki-moon also attended the concert.

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