Here we go again. In the UK they are rushing for the bus, the tube and the queue to join the Welcome Partners, organisers and sponsors for Indian Prime Minister Modi’s Wembley address on 13 November. They are calling it a show to rival the opening ceremonies of an Olympic Games. And everyone needs an invitation to get in.
The 400 groups who have already signed on are as widely different as the Art of Living, ISKCON, the Swaminarayan Mandir and The Indian Muslim Federation, the last stating that this visit will crumble the walls of hatred but does not spell out where.
Special registration desks have been set up for this event and the only concern is that Wembley may not be large enough to fit in the crowd eager to hear India’s first rock star Prime Minister. They are going to get more folks into that stadium than you would for the FA Cup final. Said one journalist flabbergasted by the intensity of the planning, "We don’t have this kind of frenzy for a Man U vs Chelsea game."
This will be the most splendid welcome accorded a foreign leader in the history of Britain rivalling that of the reception given to King George V and Queen Mary on their 1911 visit to India, which kind of indicates how the ring has come full circle. Whether they will build a Gateway to Britain to commemorate this visit is to be seen.
The Europe India Forum (EIF) which is the spearhead of the ‘Hell Namo’ committee confirms that people will be landing in London from the British Isles and the continent.
The reception themed “Two Great Nations. One Glorious Future” will kick off with a specially produced cultural show featuring some of the very best British Indian artists.
Prime Minister Modi’s keynote address will be followed by what is expected to be the country’s largest ever fireworks display, as the visit coincides with the festival of Diwali.
"We will make night into day," said an organiser, "It is colossal."
Even Guy Fawkes day will pale in comparison.
Members of Parliament from across the political spectrum, business leaders, and personalities from the world of entertainment, art and culture are also expected to attend. If you add the non-invitees lining the road to Wembley you are looking at over 300,000 people, their infants in their arms.
The event website www.ukwelcomesmodi.org, is now accessible for UK community organisations to register their interest in becoming Welcome Partners. The event Twitter handle is @ukwelcomesmodi and will be used for all announcements and information relating to the event and its build-up.
Lord Kaled Hamid, board member of the British Muslim Research Centre and chief executive of London International Hospital said: “We have heard of the splendid news of the forthcoming visit of the Indian Prime Minister Modi. It will enhance and increase the goodwill between Great Britain and India, and encourage, with great delight Indians living in the UK.”
And Lord Bilimoria, a cross bench peer of Zoroastrian Indian descent and founding chairman of the UK India Business Council, displays unbridled enthusiasm: “The UK and India have an opportunity to really invigorate this unique and deep bilateral relationship. Prime Minister Modi visit I am sure will be the catalyst for many great things.”
This will be Mr Modi’s 27th foreign trip, though the brightness of the sheen currently being developed by Indo-Brits will depend on the outcome of the Bihar elections.
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Updated Date: Oct 06, 2015 07:20:44 IST