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At Central Park, Modi salutes the youth, wishes them ‘The Force’

Addresses 60,000 students in English; UN Secy Gen, World Bank chief attend.

By: Press Trust of India Written by Ritu Sarin | New York | Updated: September 29, 2014 1:26 am
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, left and Hugh Jackman speak at the 3rd Global Citizen Festival at Central Park on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 in New York. (Source: AP) Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, left and Hugh Jackman speak at the 3rd Global Citizen Festival at Central Park on Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014 in New York. (Source: AP)

Taking centrestage at the Global Citizen Festival in New York’s Central Park on Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a crowd of 60,000 — mostly American students — in English. At the end of the event, which could be described as a music concert with a strong social message, he told the cheering crowd in fading evening light against the backdrop of New York’s famous skyline: “I salute you… may the Force be with you.”


Among the thousands who heard Modi and saw his image on a giant circular screen was 22-year-old American student Jennifer Robinson. “Yes, I liked the Indian Prime Minister. He spoke about peace and blessed us all. There is also something I heard about India making toilets for all in the next few years. That’s very impressive,” she said.

Organisers of the Global Citizen Festival, which is held at Central Park every year on September 27, said that while they had already invited Modi to attend their show since he would be in New York that day, it was his August 15 Red Fort speech that clinched the issue.

“After he reiterated that he was taking up sanitation and building clean toilets as a national campaign, we knew that we needed to have him here. We exchanged tweets with him, then met members of his team, including Bharat Lal, in Delhi, and finally, met him in person. And today, just look at the way the crowds reacted to him,” said a key organiser who had visited India to firm up arrangements, but who did not want to be named.


Besides Modi, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank President Jim Yong Kim attended the event. Among the popular musicians who participated were rapper Jay-Z, veteran British rocker Sting and the American hip-hop band The Roots. Modi personally thanked Hollywood actor Hugh Jackman, the host for the evening.

The PM told the crowd: “This is a great city. It has assimilated the world in itself. I am delighted to be here in the open Central Park and not inside a closed conference room. I feel a current of hope in this park…”

He used just the right lines for a high-profile international advocacy event attended by young people: “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.”


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  1. G
    Sep 29, 2014 at 10:58 pm
    Well they were fooled by the lies about his complicity in riots which he did not start. They were fooled into ignoring hisrecord of 12 riot free years. But as they say you can fool some of ghe people all the ime, all the people some of the time but you cannot fool all the people all the ti me.
    1. I
      Sep 28, 2014 at 9:16 am
      I am a Marathi and I appreciate Modi. He is the pride of India. True Marathi will always acknowledge what is good.
      1. Achintya Srivastava
        Sep 28, 2014 at 4:35 pm
        Better than the coward Manmohan
        1. S
          Sairam Kannaian
          Sep 28, 2014 at 9:22 am
          It is true, this is called education, universities can train you for a job but not educate you. Education is derived of life skill which can make you comprehend and act appropriately (mean: as expected by majority of partints) for any given situation. That is the difference between Dr. Singh and Tea wallah Modi. Even then, here comes Indian university training in question because Dr. Singh was trained as economist and who broke the nations economy. Comprehend and act didn't materialise in this situation, because apude wasn't there to be able to fulfill with inner urge which usually is a factor in success.
          1. Ashwin Arora
            Sep 28, 2014 at 5:20 am
            An amazing tea seller who can speak in Engligh, in front of engligh speaking crowd without a paper...on the other hand our puppet maun singh cannot speak even 4 congratulatory lines for ISRO without reading
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