The scene was to be seen to be believed. Nevertheless it gave jitters to security personnel on duty for Modi's protection. The active and sleeping cells of Islamic terrorists in the heartland of the former Hindu Kingdom ruled by the Bir Bikram Shah Dev dynasty could not be ignored. By the grace of Ishwar all went off well.
PM Narendra Modi who was on a two day official tour of the now democratic Nepal. The first day of two-day Nepal visit by PM Narendra Modi was set apart for ceremonial welcome at the Tribhuwan international airport. The Gorkha contingent and its accompanying military band were resplendent in their shining armour, Gurkha hat and shining faces.
The commander's word of command for present arms was loud and clear. The drill of the contingent was just perfect. The band played the national anthem of Bharat first and of Nepal later. Narendra Modi and Sushil Koirala, Prime Minister of Nepal shared the saluting dais.
Thereafter Koirala introduced cabinet ministers, civil and military dignitaries to Prime Minister of India. Modi stayed on at the airport for forty minutes. The weather was good and the bon homie was something to write home about.
Later in the day the two Prime Ministers met and had a chat in privacy that resulted in signing of three major agreements. Modi was keen on winning over hearts and minds of people of Nepal and he was more than successful. The Nepalese people fell head over heels to greet him and prove to neighbouring countries across the Himalayas and elsewhere, both friend and foe, that they were hugging their own kith and kin. The message was loud and clear.
Jeet Bahadur's story is worth telling. A young lad of 12 years or so sat in a wrong train and landed in Ahmedabad instead of his desired destination. He looked lost and was spotted by some kind hearted person who circulated the story of the lost lad. Modi heard of it and decided to adopt him for sustenance and education. Grown into a young man he is now doing BBA. He was keen on meeting his parents and siblings.
PM Modi let him fly to Kathmandu in his own plane, had his family spotted and restored him to his loved ones. Modi gave gifts to all members of Jeet Bahadur's family. The happy ending of the episode of a lost lad was lapped up by men, women and children of Nepal. The philanthropist side of Modi's personality endeared him to common man more than anything else.
Narendra Modi's 47-minute address to the Nepali Parliament-cum-Constituent Assembly was a hit. It was in Hindi, the words were chosen well and delivered better. Humour tickled the distinguished men and women in the House.
Modi made a deliberate mention of the age old ties between Bharat and Nepal, "as old as the Ganga and the Himalayas" and the deep brotherly bonds made the two nations inseparables. Yeh Maitri Atut hai, anvarat hai, so said the distinguished guest and was cheered lavishly.
Modi touched the chord when he mentioned that there was no victory of the Indian Arms where blood of Gorkha soldiers was not shed. He paid rich compliments to bravery of the Gorkha soldiers and said they are not afraid of death in battlefield. They are named Bahadur and are real Bahadurs, so said the Indian Prime Minister. He quoted Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw in this regard.
Cameras focused on the legendary leader Prachand when Modi praised those who have abjured the use of Bullet and adopted Ballot as the way of life. He emphasized the point by saying that Yudh chhod kar Budh ki oar jana ek swasth qadam hai. Later he added that Shastra Tyag Kar Shaastra Apnana Budhimani Hai.
Prime Minister Modi lamented that it took 17 years for a Prime Minister of India to go across the border and visit Nepal. He assured the audience that it would not happen again. In any case he himself would be coming soon to attend the SARC conference.
He further said that a border should not be a barrier but a bridge between two countries. Bharat and Nepal share pleasure and pain. The Kosi tragedy in Nepal made him sleepless too. Both of our countries share joys and sorrows of life, Modi added.
Besides many other pleasant smilies in Modi's address, what pleased the parliamentarians and public of Nepal was Modi's announcement in the House that India would give a loan of ten thousand crore of Nepalese rupees to Nepal for development.
Modi also suggested a HIT plan, as mentioned earlier, meaning development of Highways, Information Technology and Transmission lines of power. He applauded Nepal's richness in Water resources for generating hydro-electric energy. India is giving power to Nepal now but a decade later Nepal would be transmitting electricity to remove darkness in India.
PM Modi did on the ultimate day of his visit what is dearest to his heart. He undertook a pilgrimage to the world famous temple of Pashupatinath in Kathmandu to offer prayers. Dressed in saffron clothes with a saffron wrapper around his shoulders PM Modi, escorted by officials of the Nepal government, diplomats of the Indian embassy, under a tight security cordon, entered the Garbh Grih or Sanctum Sanctorum of the temple, a world heritage, and prayed for 50 minutes.
When he came out he had a Rudraksh mala around his neck. The Devasthanam board presented him photographs of the temple taken from different angles. Modi looked mighty pleased with the Rudrabhishek of Pashupatinath that he had performed. His journey began from Somnath in Gujarat, he contested election to Parliament from Kashi Vishwanath and finally worshipped Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, Nepal.
In a short visit of two days Narendra Modi has achieved a lot of goodwill of people of Nepal. The people of Nepal too were indeed pleased to have Modi in their midst. It is hoped that the goodwill thus generated will be nurtured by both the countries to bring their hearts and minds closer to each other.
No wonder there are suggestions that the India-Nepal Treaty of 1950 be revised to remove its angularities and smoothen the process of real friendship between Bharat and Nepal.