US President Donald Trump’s nearly 27-minute speech at the Namaste Trump event at Sardar Patel Motera Stadium here was dotted with some interesting examples to strike a local Indian connect. From Bollywood blockbusters like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge & Sholay to cricket stars Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, Trump cited several examples to strike a local connect and drew loud applause.
Beginning his speech with “Namaste! Namaste!”, he went on to say, “This is a country that produces nearly 2,000 movies a year, from the hub of genius and creativity known as Bollywood. All over the planet, people take great joy in scenes of Bhangra music, dance, romance and drama, and classic Indian films like DDLJ and Sholay.”
Ahead of his maiden visit to India, Trump had shared a video on Twitter in which his face was morphed on the title character in the movie Baahubali. “Look so forward to being with my great friends in INDIA!” he had tweeted while sharing the video. Prior to that, he had praised Ayushmann Khurrana’s latest release, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saavdhan. On a tweet complimenting the movie for celebrating a same-sex love story on the celluloid, Trump last week commented “great”.
Interestingly, former US president Barack Obama had also referred to DDLJ during his 2015 visit to India when he quoted Shah Rukh Khan’s famous dialogue from the iconic film. “Last celebration here we celebrated festival of lights in Mumbai. We danced with some children. Unfortunately, we were not able to schedule any dancing in this visit. ‘Senorita, bade bade desho mein’… You know what I mean,” Obama had said while addressing a town hall event in Delhi.
In another local connect, Trump said, “This is the country where your people cheer on some of the world’s greatest cricket players from Sachin Tendulkar to Virat Kohli.”
Trump also invoked Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel during his speech. Referring to Swami Vivekananda, he said, “While our nations have many differences, they are both designed and propelled by a fundamental truth, a truth that all of us are blessed with a divine light, that every person is endowed with a sacred soul. As the great religious teacher Swami Vivekananda once said, ‘The moment I stand in reverence before every human being, and see God in him, that moment I am free.’”
Speaking about the Statue of Unity, he said, “This is the country that built the tallest statue to honour the memory of the namesake of this stadium, the greatest Indian patriot, a native of this state, Sardar Patel.”
The US President also referred to Diwali and Holi. “India is a country where hundreds and millions light candles to celebrate the triumph of good over evil at Diwali. And it’s where just days from now, Indians of all faiths will pour out on to the streets to celebrate the beautiful festival of Holi,” he said. Touching upon the background of Prime Minister Modi, he said, “The life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscores the limitless promise of this great nation. He started out by his father’s side, as a chaiwala, a tea seller.”
A bag full of gifts at Sabarmati Ashram
A marble replica of Mahatma Gandhi’s “three wise monkeys” statue, a copy of his Talisman and a special edition of his autobiography were among the items gifted to US President Donald Trump and his wife Melania at the Sabarmati Ashram. They were also gifted three handspun khesh (a form of fabric) made up of khadi.
At Motera, a string of performances
As people waited at Motera stadium, they were treated to a live concert by various Gujarati artistes like Kinjal Dave, Happy Desai, Gita Rabari and Parthiv Gohil. Kathak dancers performed an ode to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and singer Kailash Kher sang some numbers. When the Trumps were delayed, western music played in the background to fill the void.
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