The politics of India have made their way to a tea stall in Silicon Valley.
Narendra Modi is a man of humble beginnings in North Gujarat, India who is the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate for prime minister. His candidacy is controversial due to his role in religious riots a decade ago, but surprisingly, his work as a young man as a chai wallah is playing a role in his campaign.
Modi launched a program called “Chai pe charcha,” or chai over tea, where on Feb. 14 he visited a tea stall in western Ahmedabad, India and answered questions submitted to NGO Citizens for Accountable Governance. This videoconference event was transmitted to more than 1,000 tea stalls sited in 300 Indian cities.
Inspired by the Chai pe charcha events, a volunteer group “I Care for India” established a so-called NaMo chai cart in Ortega Park, Sunnyvale, Calif. More than 60 young Indian American professionals in Silicon Valley with engineering backgrounds gathered over tea to discuss the role that technology could play in solving governance issues in India, in computerizing systems and in improving the work of farmers. The results of this brainstorming tea-and-talk session by Modi supporters will be summarized and submitted to the Bharatiya Janata Party for consideration.
Read about the Silicon Valley NaMo tea stall here.