Sunday 4 December 2016

Boisterous crowd of over 1,500 welcome Indian PM

Jane O'Faherty

Published 24/09/2015 | 02:30

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi meets Indians working and living in Ireland at an event at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Dublin
Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi meets Indians working and living in Ireland at an event at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Dublin
Delight as the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi meets Indians working and living in Ireland at an event at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel in Dublin during his visit the Country

Not everyone can attract around 1,500 people to one short meeting, and yet it was exactly what the Indian Prime Minister did in Dublin yesterday.

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Narendra Modi came to Ireland just before he begins an official visit to the United States.

Bollywood dance, traditional music and even a group of Irish students singing in Sanskrit featured as entertainment before the prime minister's address.

But there was no disguising the collective disappointment when it was announced that Mr Modi would be unable to get selfies with all 1,500 people there.

Mr Modi was first elected in May 2014, and has so far received praise for his progressive approach to Indian politics.

Alka Gupta, who has been living in Cashel with her husband and son for the past 15 years, came to Dublin for the occasion.

"Narendra Modi is a very quiet man, very progressive," she said.

Ms Gupta (49) added that Ireland and India had many cultural links, as Sanskrit and Irish were both the oldest languages in the world.

Father Francis Neelankavil, a Catholic priest from India but now based in Cork, said the event reflected the Indian community's diversity.

"All are here - Hindus, Muslims, Christians and Sikhs," he said.

Irish Independent

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