On the morning of 13th May 2013, Shri Narendra Modi addressed NRIs across 20 cities of USA to commemorate 53rd Gujarat Day celebrations. The programme was organized by Indian/Gujarati Samuday. In a comprehensive speech, Shri Narendra Modi spoke about the development in Gujarat during the last ten years. He said that the credit for the success of Gujarat does not go to an individual but the collective efforts of the 6 crore people of Gujarat. Talking about the state of affairs in the nation, Shri Modi said that the greatest crisis the country is facing today is that of a trust deficit and that it is the need of the hour to rebuild this confidence of the people. “This break of trust is due to the actions of some people occupying high office…trust is a very big thing. The development in Gujarat is possible because people have trust in each other. Let us recall the values of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel and think of how this trust can increase,” he affirmed. He added that this increase in trust couldn’t merely be done by words.
Attacking the UPA Government, Shri Modi pointed that the country is moving to new crisis and that what happens when the rulers are weak, we have seen in the past month. Shri Modi stated, “China withdraws its forces from our territory but why are Indian forces withdrawing from Indian territory? Why did we retreat?” Elaborating further on his point Shri Modi said, “The foreign minister of our nation is addressing an international forum but he reads the speech of another nation! Our soldiers are beheaded but the nation that beheads them, their Prime Minister is fed chicken biryani. That is when questions are raised.” He added, “They make claims of a strong Government but still there are worries over safety of women. Few have seen the corruption as we are seeing now. The have not even left coal.” The Chief Minister opined that the optimism that was generated in the last years of the 1990s has disappeared in the last 8 years when this was ideally a time to build on that optimism and show results.
Shri Modi stated that the Gujarat Government is working towards ‘Sarvangi (holistic), Sarvasparshi (all pervasive), Sarvasamaveshak (inclusive) and Sarvadoor Vikas.’ He stressed on the need of development reaching all corners of Gujarat. “It should not be that one corner of Gujarat develops. Earlier Governments proudly said there is a golden corridor from Vapi to Mumbai. But is this something to be proud of? We need to also develop Kutch, Banaskantha, Radhanpur; we need to develop our coastline. It has to be Sarvasparshi.”
The Chief Minister categorically stated that the development in Gujarat is due to the collective effort of 6 crore Gujaratis. Taking on the anti-Gujarat elements who have been spreading lies only due to politics he said, “We have changed the nature of development. I know people will start saying things even after this speech. The Feku industry people will get active but the fact is, this is the path that will take Gujarat to greater heights in the coming years.” Shri Modi recalled that earlier the definition of good roads what that the road from north to south Gujarat was in good condition. But now, the vertical and horizontal road networks have been linked.
Likewise he said, “Some places had good institutes. But did we see if tribal areas have universities? We focused on this. We found out which Tehsil does not have schools to study science. Then we focused on medical, engineering colleges.” He further opined, “Earlier we had 11 universities. Now in the last ten years that has grown to 44. Can anyone say no?” He talked about the specialized universities in Gujarat like the sports university, the forensic science university and affirmed, “They will say that forensic science department was already there. We say our contribution is forensic science university.”
Shri Modi said, “We have never said there was nothing before Modi came. There were things. Compare the work done in 40 years with the work done in last 12 years. We have taken development to new heights for the well being of every person. And I say it again, Narendra Modi has not done it. The credit goes to 6 crore people of Gujarat and those who have affection for Gujarat.” He further spoke, “Did Narendra Modi invent kites? Kites were there earlier too but was it thought that kites will draw the world to Gujarat? Can someone tell me if the Gir lions were not there before Modi? Yes they where there. Did Gujarat not have a coastline before Modi? Yes it did. Everything was there still tourism was not there. World came to see Jagannath but not Somnath. We made the efforts to change that. Yes there was a coastline but did they use it for any development? Today 35% of the nation’s cargo is from Gujarat. We have 41 major and minor ports now. Till when will you negate everything? We added new life in the Kutch desert. Modi did not paint the Rann white. It was there. Only that people come here today and it has given impetus to handicrafts industry also.” The Chief Minister talked about the state Government’s efforts to protect the Gir lions.
Sharing other instances of Gujarat’s development, Shri Modi spoke on how 24-hour electricity brought about a big difference in the lives of the people. On malnutrition, Shri Modi stated, “In 2001 we read the census reports and were alarmed by issue of malnutrition. From 2004 we launched a mission to eradicate malnutrition. And latest CAG report lauds the Gujarat model. There is a 33% improvement and we have to go further than this too.” Again taking on the anti-Gujarat industry he said, “These people will not point to all-India figures. Only Gujarat.” Shri Modi said that the largest canal network for Narmada waters has come up in Gujarat during the last ten years. Likewise, 18,000 villages have broadband connectivity in Gujarat. Shri Modi told the audience, “If you want to see the truth about Gujarat, see the number of Awards the Congress-ruled UPA has given to Gujarat!”
On the occasion Shri Modi congratulated the diaspora for organizing an event such as this and said that Gujarat is as much theirs. “I am happy that you are celebrating this Gujarat event globally,” he said. The Chief Minister recalled that for years Gujarat Day celebrations were forgotten because those in power tried to hide the truth be it the Maha Gujarat Movement or the firing of innocent youngsters from the Congress office at Bhadra in Ahmedabad. “I bow to everyone who worked and gave their lives for Gujarat. I assure we will never forget their dreams,” Shri Modi declared.
The Chief Minister described Gujaratis as a global community that has always taken people together. Referring to the Gujarati diaspora he affirmed, “Staying there you have not let Gujarat or India get a bad name. In the true sense you are our cultural ambassadors and this has given strength to us.” He congratulated three Gujaratis including Dr. Bharat Barai for winning the prestigious Ellis Award.
Shri Modi extended his greetings on the occasion of Mother’s Day and he saluted the power of Matru Shakti. He said that we are the people who inherited the Mantra of ‘'माता भूमि: पुत्रोऽहं पृथिव्याम्:'which means, ‘Bhumi is my Mata, I am a child of Prithvi.” Shri Modi said this is a culture that considers the Earth as a manifestation of the Mother that has given us immense strength. He gave the example of the Ganga and said that till we considered the Ganga as a Mother it remained clean but the moment we saw it only as a water body, it became polluted. “When the child started becoming more bothered of the self rather than the Mother, the problem of global warming came. Had we kept the Mantra of treating the Earth like the mother, this problem would not have come up,” he stated. He affirmed that respect for the Mother must be in our DNA.
After his speech Shri Modi took some questions from the audience. Questions were on poverty, sanitation and governance. Shri Modi answered the questions comprehensively. A large number of NRIs not only from Gujarat but also from the rest of the country heard Shri Modi in 20 American cities.