On a previous trip to America, the two strong leaders met and appeared quite amicable. My friend Page sent me this article below from the Washington Post this morning. She had visited India during college and also knows my love for Incredible India. Her question was about my opinion of Mr. Modi and had it changed. My trips to India were 2013, 2015, and 2017. I have not heard specifically from Indian friends about Mr. Modi’s work and accomplishments and struggles since his election in 2014.
I will give my thoughts and then I encourage my Indian readers to agree, disagree, and add to my text. First I am an unashamedly Modi fan an have been from the months I spent in Ahmedabad when he was state minister of Gujarat. The infrastructure, electricity, traffic and just about everything was more efficient in Gujarat. Traveling through India where all those services were less, it seemed a no brainer for me. Elect Mr. Modi to do his hard work and magic all throughout India.
On each subsequent visit, improvements had been made. An example was public trash barrels had been placed around the city and yes they had been used. . . . . to overflowing onto the ground around. Next job is getting trash trucks to haul it away. Such a small but monumental problem with a huge amount of people. They are trying and working at it and it will get corrected.
Kashmir. . . . has been a challenge between India and Pakistan since 1947 and the division of the countries. I know that division is rarely, it seems, satisfactory for anyone. . . Ireland, Israel, and Palestine. . . Berlin. And to the best of my knowledge, Kashmir and the wars over it are rooted in the usual hatred and greed . . . . .money and or power. Please add to the conversation and correct me if necessary.
Mr. Modi is a devout Hindu and now he is the leader of a country which is 85% Hindu. There are more Muslim people in India than in Pakistan and all major and many minor religions are there. . . interacting more or less peacefully. I have heard that some Christian churches who have served and ministered for years in India running hospitals and schools are feeling less welcome now. This is a problem in a democratic country.
Now for a very strong positive for Mr. Modi. He had promised 100% potty installation by 2020. It seems hard to understand in a huge country with 1.3 billion people that there are many homes and areas without indoor facilities. In the Washington Post article, I read of the Gates Foundation award for progress! That is amazing as I am sure there were high-performance expectations that were met. Remember India launched a rocket and beat the US to an orbit of Mars. . . .
India has a huge gift for problem-solving and an entrepreneurial spirit. Mr. Modi sees the challenges pretty clearly and inspires confidence in the huge middle class. Ironically Mr. Trump voices his base as being middle class in America. Neither is perfect and both have a huge favorable following. Can they deliver? Can they avoid corruption and love of money and power?
I would not be surprised if, on Sunday, both leaders are filmed in a large white cowboy hats. Don’t expect a white stallion, though.