Upbeat PM Narendra Modi plays taiko drums, wows Japanese businessmen

  • Sitaraman Shankar, Hindustan Times, Tokyo
  • Updated: Sep 02, 2014 12:40 IST

A day after signing a clutch of deals with Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, Narendra Modi was in upbeat mood on Tuesday – and this time he wowed a set of suited businessmen by playing traditional Taiko drums with great verve.

Modi’s performance came at the launch of Tata Consultancy Services’s Technology and Cultural Academy, a programme to send young Japanese employees to India for training in technical and cultural skills.

After TCS CEO N Chandrasekaran finished his opening remarks, inviting Modi to play a note on the drums after the professional drummers had finished, Modi asked “Pehle drum bajaiyen?” and could barely wait his turn.

The two drummers – one man and one woman -- did their number and then Modi took over, playing the drums at a rapid beat and holding his own when the male drummer joined him. The audience – some of it on videoconference -- burst into applause when he had finished.

Watch: PM Modi plays the taiko drum

The TCS programme involves eight weeks of classroom training and six months project work at various locations in India, and Modi asked the young Japanese not to get locked into a classroom, to get out every weekend and spend some money.

“Come back not just as a TCS employee but as an ambassador of India,” he said, before wading into the crowd to interact with the chosen students.

Earlier Modi addressed girl students at the Sacred Heart University, fielding questions from college and school children. He dealt mainly in allegory, talking of India’s “cabinet” of female goddesses in the Hindu pantheon.

He sidestepped a question on how to face the Chinese threat, saying that India and Japan should focus on progress, and it was possible to take on a dark room not by fighting it with swords and brooms but by lighting a diya.

In the afternoon, Modi calls on Emperor Akihito and delivers the keynote address at a business seminar.

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