Modi Speaks in San Jose: The Indian Prime Minister in His Own Words

The Indian prime minister gave an intimate speech to the Indian community in the South Bay, filled with references to the country’s independence-movement heroes of the early 20th century, the many historic ties between Indians and Californians, and India’s scientific and technical achievements as weapons against government corruption and national poverty.

Text of the one-hour, Sept. 27 speech by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at SAP Center in San Jose translated from Hindi by Sneha Singh of the San Jose Learning Center.

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi at the SAP Centre before his address to the Indian community in San Jose, California on September 27, 2015.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi enters the SAP Center in downtown San Jose before his address to the Indian community Sept. 27. (Photo courtesy of the prime minister’s office)

Good evening, California,

It is a pleasure to see your enthusiasm today. Today is the 27th of September here and the 28th of September in India. The 28th of September is the birthday of the great Indian freedom fighter Bhagat Singh. I salute the great son of India Bhagat Singhji. I would like you all to raise your hands and repeat after me.

(Shouting:) Long live Bhagat Singh!

(Audience:) LONG LIVE BHAGAT SINGH!

Long live Bhagat Singh!

LONG LIVE BHAGAT SINGH!

Long live Bhagat Singh!

LONG LIVE BHAGAT SINGH!

I have been in the U.S.A. for the past two days, and I have met many people. Last year in September, I was here for the U.N. Summit. Last year on the 28th of September, I had the pleasure of meeting fellow Indians in Madison Square Garden. Today I have the pleasure of meeting you all in California. I have come here after nearly 25 years. Lots of things have changed. I’m seeing many new faces; in fact, in a way I’m seeing a vibrant image of India in California. Whomever I meet has a glow on his or her face, dreams in his or her eyes and is determined to do something great. The citizens of America are proud of the Indian community and show respect to them. I congratulate you for that.

The prime minister was greeted onstage by multiple U.S. Congressmen and -women including Democratic Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, the Minority Leader of the U.S. House of Representatives. California on September 27, 2015.

The prime minister was greeted onstage by U.S. Congressmen and -women including Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco, the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, to the prime minister’s right in silver pantsuit. (Photo courtesy of the prime minister’s office)

Today, the world is recognizing India in a new way. The world is now compelled to change its thoughts about India. It is due to the magic of your fingers working on the computers and keyboards. Your capability, commitment and innovations are compelling the world to change, and those who refuse to change will lag in the lifestyle of the 21st century. I feel great happiness when I see my fellow countrymen and youth living on foreign soil and trying to take the world in a new direction and make India proud. I once again congratulate you all.

Sometimes in India, we hear comments such as, “Do something about the brain drain. It should be stopped.” Our motherland, India (Bharat), is a homeland of brilliant brains and will continue to be so. Did anyone ever consider that this brain drain could become a “brain gain?” I hold a different perspective on this. I feel that the brains are being deposited, and the deposited brains are looking for the opportunity to serve Mother India with interest whenever the opportunity comes.

(Shouting): Will it come or not?

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressing the Indian community at the SAP Centre, in San Jose, California on September 27, 2015.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that like India’s independence fighters in the 20th century, the Indian community in San Jose is also making history by changing the world’s understanding of what it means to be Indian. He asked for the community’s help in developing India in the 21st century. (Photo courtesy of the prime minister’s office)

(Audience:) YES!

Will it come or not?

YES!

Will it come or not?

YES!

Surely it will come!

So, this is not a brain drain. It is a “brain deposit,” a valuable deposit.

My countrymen,

I say to you that the time has come to demonstrate your strengths. The motherland is waiting for you. When I look into the pages of history, in the 19th century, my Sikh brothers came here. They did agriculture with hard labor. The freedom struggle continued in India. But here, thousands of miles away, they lit the candle of freedom and helped in every way they could in the freedom struggle. My Sikh brothers were worried in the 19th century about independence, the same way the youth here in California and on the West Coast worry about the poverty in our country in the 21st century. They want to do something for their country. What could be more inspiring than that!

In 1914, (Dhan) Gopal Mukerji became the first Indian graduate of Stanford University. Moreover, from 1957 to ‘63, Dalip Singh Saund became the first Indian (U.S.) Congressman. Very few people know this person who sacrificed his youth for the freedom of India and lived the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. … You will not find a lot of people who know that (Indian independence leader) Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan came to study in California.

It means that the relationship of India with this land of California is intense. You are also going to be a part of history, so whenever people in India think about you, they feel proud.

I have now been (prime minister) in Delhi for about 16 months. Sixteen months ago, I came as a stranger. I didn’t know which street to reach the Parliament. I had to get some help. One-point-two-five hundred crore Indians (a crore is a unit of measurement representing ten million) gave the responsibility to an absolutely new person like me. With the blessings of you, I’m taking up this responsibility in a good way. Go into any corner of the world, India is being seen from a perspective of hope and faith. There is discussion that the 21st century belongs to India.

(Shouting:) Why did this change? How did it change?

(Audience:) MODI! MODI! MODI!

This change is not due to Modi. This change came from the strength of the resolution of 1.25 hundred crore countrymen … (who) have determined in their minds that India will not be left behind. And when the public makes a resolution, even God gives blessings to them.

When I came into politics, I said that the technology that you have given to the world is not hidden. Whenever anything happens, it comes to your mobile phones first. This work that you have done in technology lets you be aware of all the happenings in India. It’s like when you’re in a stadium watching a cricket match, it’s harder to keep track of everything that’s happening on the field. But if you are at home watching TV, it’s much easier. The same way, people who are in India have a hard time identifying what exactly is happening in their country, but you guys are so far away but you still know: What is Modi doing? What did Modi do earlier? What has Modi talked about? You know everything.

If you remember, I said that I would not lack in labor. One-point-two-five hundred crore countrymen have given me the responsibility. I will put every particle of my body and 100 percent effort to the work. Today, after 16 months, I want a certification from you.

(Shouting:) Have I kept the promise?

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressing the Indian community at the SAP Centre, in San Jose, California on September 27, 2015.

Prime Minister Modi said government corruption has been a scourge on the Indian people preventing progress and sowing discontent. He vowed to use technology to outsmart corrupt politicians. (Photo courtesy of prime minister’s office)

(Audience:) YES!

Have I kept the promise?

YES!

Have I kept the promise?

YES!

Am I working day and night?

YES!

Am I doing it for the country?

YES!

The responsibility that you have given me, and the promise that I have made, I’m working on it. Our politicians get accused as soon as they reach higher designations in politics: He got a 500-crore flat, his son got a 500-crore flat, his daughter made 500 crore, his son-in-law made 1000 crore. Blah, blah.

(Shouting:) Aren’t you tired of hearing this?

(Audience:) YES!

The country gets disappointed, yes or no?

YES!

Hatred of corruption arises, yes or no?

YES!

Aggression happens, yes or no?

YES!

My countrymen,

Today I am here with you. Do you have any such accusation against me?

(Audience:) NO!

Any accusation?

NO!

Today, I want to assure the nation that I will live for the country and die for the country. Long live, Mother India! India, the Goddess!

Brothers and sisters,

Our country is full of power and strength. People sometimes ask me, ‘Where does this confidence come from? How do you think your country will grow further?’ People tell me: ‘This happened; that happened; aren’t you scared? Yet you’re saying that the country will move forward?’

I believe that my country will grow. My country is young. Sixty-five percent of the population … 65% of the country’s population is below 35 years of age. What in the world can they not do? The country’s youth are 800 million. That is 1,600 million arms. They can do anything. … Now the country cannot stay behind.

You know, some years ago there was a new terminology in the world (for) the countries that were expected to advance fastest in coming days. … They were designated the “BRICS” — B, R, I, C, S — and whoever coined this word said that these five countries would proceed at a faster pace in the coming days — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. But two years ago, an argument emerged that we should remove the “I” from BRICS because India was not progressing but devolving. Today, with pride I say that if a country is standing tall in the BRICS theory, it is the “I” — India. Within 15 months, spanning the heights of development and economic stability, India has emerged as a force. Today, among the world’s fastest growing big-country economies, there is one name on top — India.

(Shouting:) The name of the country?

(Audience:) INDIA!

Brothers, sisters,

India is such a big country, so much poverty. In such a situation, how can the country move forward? … India has created a new identity in the field of science. Our first identity is from the Upanishads (ancient Hindu scriptures). India is proud of the Upanishads. … (But) India is (also) the first country in the world that has succeeded in a mission to Mars on its first attempt. Many countries of the world have tried but succeeded only after several attempts. India did it in the first attempt. I did the same.

Modi@SAP.27Sept2015

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the San Jose audience directly before and after his speech drawing tremendous response and adulation. The Indians he met in the United States are filled with great expectations for their futures, he said, presenting ‘a vibrant image of India in California.’ His great hopes for India start with its youth, Modi said, 65 percent of the population is younger than age 35. (Photo courtesy of the prime minister’s office)

Why? Look at the strength of the country’s determination. Look at its capabilities. A long time ago, when there were scientists like Vikram Sarabhai and (Homi J.) Bhabha, there used to be discussions. Ours is a poor country. What are we doing going to space? Why should we spend so much? How will it benefit us?

But today, those space missions are coming in handy. Farmers get weather information. Fishermen get to know how far to go out to sea. Satellites tell you all kinds of information.

When I came to Delhi, I told (government) administrators that we should adopt e-governance. We must use technology to the fullest. I was the chief minister for a long time (in the state of Gujarat), and based on my experience, I found e-governance effective. I asked — are we using e-governance? Are we using space technologies? They said, not much, and after that I was all over them. I called the space department, organized meetings and did workshops. And today, I’m happy to say that our government has about 170 different work projects based on our space technology.

Like the (space) technology that has given the world a new direction, a new strength, similarly, we have also established Digital India. (Audience applause.)

Today, the poorest of the poor has a mobile phone — the poor person who sells vegetables owns a phone, sells milk but owns a phone. Newspaper sellers own a phone. This is the effect of technology, the penetration of technology. The government has joined this mission. It is called JAM: the “J” is jandhan (people’s money). … When I came to Delhi, I saw that there were many poor people who never went to the bank because the bank needs a minimum balance to be maintained in its accounts. Rich people could easily do this, but where would the poor get the money? According to the prime minister’s jandhan mission, anybody can open a bank account with no minimum amount.

The second is the “A:” aadhar card. There is a movement in the whole country that through the biometric system, every individual gets his or her own identity card.

And the third letter, “M” is for mobile governance. So people have access to government officials via (mobile) phone.

(Shouting:) So we have put JAM into practice. And see the results! Tell me, has corruption devastated the country. Yes or no?

(Audience:) YES!

Corruption should be eliminated, yes?

YES!

But if I’m alone in not being corrupt, will that work?

NO!

Do we have to do more about it?

YES!

Skill development of the youth — there has to be talent in every hand. We have started a big campaign for the 800 million youth in our country. In the coming years, their talent will make the country. Mothers and sisters, their strengths should contribute to the development of the country. “Save daughters, educate daughters” is a revolution in India. The farmers in India know how to increase agricultural production with a soil-health card. There is no health card for our bodies in our country, but at least I have determined that there must be a health card for the soil. So, we can know the merits and flaws of the soils and try to improve the quality (of the crops) and (the farmers’) income. I have taken such initiatives.

Recently, I did a very small thing. The farmers require urea fertilizer for the crops, and the government gives a subsidy for urea (that costs) 80,000 crores. But how much of that money reaches the farmers? There is no account of how much of the subsidy money goes to corruption. So, I did a small thing: We put a neem coating over the urea. Now that urea cannot be used in any other way except agriculture. Earlier, a part of that urea was diverted right to the chemical factories. I can assure you, my friends, that next year when we look into the account, we will see that thousands of crores of rupees have been saved from theft. And my farmers will get urea with neem coating, and the crops will be benefitted much more.

There are many other areas where my efforts are to reach new heights. If I were to start telling you, it would take me two-hour sessions for another 15 days. So, I’m only showing you the trailer of how our country is achieving new heights.

Today, the world is facing two major challenges. One is terrorism, and the other is global warming. I believe that if humankind joins hands together, we can defeat terrorism and global warming.

India is fully alert and is ready to face these challenges. Wherever we go, we discuss these matters very seriously. We have put pressure on the U.N. The U.N. is celebrating its 70th anniversary, but until now it has not been able to define terrorism. If defining terrorism has taken so much time, how much time will it take to counter it? I have written letters to every country and asked them to agree that the U.N. should define these acts as terrorism and these people are those who support terrorism; these are people who we define as inhuman. There should be a clear map of terrorists and people who stand by them. I hope that this pressure created on the U.N. will now compel it to define the difference between right and wrong and understand better what terrorism actually is.

Right now there is a vague definition of good terrorism and bad terrorism. Humanity cannot be saved from terrorism in this way. I have said this at the U.N. before, and I will say it again at the U.N. tomorrow.

My dear brothers and sisters in California,

I am very thankful for the respect, love and support that you have given me. We have to fulfill the dreams of our nation together. May the poor be blessed with money, youth become employed, women be respected, farmers be happy, (and) the standard of living increase. Let’s move forward with this pledge.

With these expectations, I thank you all again. And the senators and congress people who came here in such a big number, I wholeheartedly thank you all. Your presence increased the stature of this event.

(Shouting:) I speak of strength with both fists closed! Mother India!

(Audience:) LONG LIVE!

The sound must reach India! Mother India!

(Audience:) LONG LIVE!

Mother India!

LONG LIVE!

Mother India!

LONG LIVE!

Mother India!

LONG LIVE!

Mother India!

LONG LIVE!

Once again, I will remember the heroic Bhagat Singh Ji. The immortal Bhagat Singh!

THE IMMORTAL BHAGAT SINGH!

The immortal Bhagat Singh!

THE IMMORTAL BHAGAT SINGH!

The immortal Bhagat Singh!

THE IMMORTAL BHAGAT SINGH!

Thank you very much. 

Sneha Singh is a native Hindi speaker who holds a master’s degree in computer science from the University of California, Hayward. She teaches multiple software languages at the San Jose Learning Center.

blue-cir (4)

2 thoughts on “Modi Speaks in San Jose: The Indian Prime Minister in His Own Words”

  1. Neel says:

    Thank you for translating this speech. It puts paid to the lie that this man is uneducated and ignorant, as snidely suggested in a recent New York Times opinion piece. At the very least he acknowledges the problem of global warming, which catapults him ahead of many of our own elected representatives in IQ.

  2. Caio says:

    Thnaks for taking the time to post. It’s lifted the level of debate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top