Special : 'Got opportunity to return Modi's favour after 47 years'

By Padmashree Dr B R Shetty

Note: The following article has been translated from a Kannada version of a write-up, authored by Dr B R Shetty, which appeared in a Kannada daily. The article was translated for daijiworld with the consent of Dr B R Shetty.

Abu Dhabi, Aug 21: The late Dr V S Acharya and I had contested the Udupi municipal election in 1968. Then, Udupi municipality was the only entity other than New Delhi city corporation to have Jan Sangh at the helm of the local body. Vajpayee had come to Udupi to canvass for the party candidates. Narendra Modi, who was just 16 then, had also visited the town as an astute fan and follower of Vajpayee. In Modi's own words, he was a 'Vajpayee Chela' then.

Modi had, during his address, showed his affection towards me by recollecting this incident and openly narrating about it at a function held at Ahmedabad four years ago, in which I too was a participant.

I consider myself lucky to have been given the responsibility of being the chief coordinator, and thus being involved with coordinating different programmes in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated during his visit to Abu Dhabi recently. The success of this visit was unprecedented. I am extremely grateful to have got an opportunity to pay back an indebtedness that was 47 years old.

As this happened to be the first visit by an Indian Prime Minister to United Arab Emirates (UAE) after a gap of 34 years, this event also won global attention. The last time a Prime Minister came to UAE was in 1981, when Indira Gandhi came here.

I had requested Modi to come to Abu Dhabi immediately after he won the election last year. However, because of his busy schedule, he could not meet my request. When the ruler of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed invited him to visit the Emirates, Modi agreed. This programme was fixed just seven days prior to Modi's visit. Out of faith they had on me, the local committee asked me to organize the programmes. Information about it came from the embassy on Friday August 7, and people spontaneously came forward, setting aside differences of caste, language and religion in extending wholehearted support within a matter of five to six days towards holding programme of such magnitude. A team of 60 people worked towards making this visit a huge success. Sathish Mayya functioned as media head. We provided opportunity to everyone to take part in the programme free of cost.

In the year 2005, the government of Abu Dhabi had decorated me with the highest award, 'Order of Abu Dhabi'. I humbly submit that I am the only Asian to have been bestowed with this honour. It became easier for me to organize Modi's programmes without much problem, as I have cordial relationship with the Abu Dhabi ruler and the local people. With the support of the local government, the security department and the transport department, the first public meeting, which was a mega event, was successfully held. This boosted my confidence.

The very fact that the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and his five brothers had personally visited the airport to welcome Modi on his arrival speaks volumes about the level at which the UAE responded to this visit. Over 50,000 people enthusiastically took part in the reception held at Dubai international cricket stadium. During Modi's visit to the world's first zero carbon city, Masdar, Yousuf Ali from Kerala, several other entrepreneurs and I took part and held discussions. Modi exhorted businessmen to invest capital in India, which he said, has good environment, security, and good administration.


Pictures courtesy : Dr Kiran Acharya (from late Dr V S Acharya's archives)


Because of Modi's visit, investment from UAE is likely to flow into sectors like Indian telecommunication, real estate, smart city, national highways, railway, electricity, renewable energy, oil, and tourism among others. The government here has announced an investment of Rs 4.5 lac crore rupees towards India's developemtn. Annually, Rs 45,000 crore flows into India through my UAE Exchange Company, and perhaps it was by coincidence that the government announced assistance to the extent of ten times that figure. This is an example to prove the belief that 'Lord gives with his innumerable hands if we give out of our two hands'. Agreements have been entered into for mutual cooperation between these two countries in the fields of finance, defence, security, law enforcement, culture, agriculture, urban development, health, science and technology etc. With the cooperation of Abu Dhabi, investments will be made in railways, ports, airports, and industrial yards. In addition, an understanding has also been reached at for expansion of industrial areas with the assistance of small and medium Indian industrialists in UAE. At present, about 25 lac Indians are in the UAE, and they have been contributing to the financial stability of both this country and India.

Modi felt elated after visiting the zero carbon city Masdar. Abu Dhabi is even ready to build such a city in India. This city uses only solar and renewable energy sources. As much as 16 billion dollars had been invested into creating this city.

UAE is an amalgamation of different cultures of the world, and all of them co-exist harmoniously. Abu Dhabi is so strongly secular that those who speak on the basis of religion get ten years of jail term. A graveyard had been built at the land allotted by the government here, by a committee chaired by me in the past. Entrepreneur Yousuf Ali had extended support for this project. During the visit of Modi now, the government here has allotted land to build a temple. The location where this will come up has not yet been decided. I will soon talk to the government on this issue. The temple will become a reality within two years, and will emerge as an iconic prayer centre. Funds will never be an issue here.

Dream of Karnataka tourism: I have always dreamt about developing different places of Karnataka including Udupi where I grew up and coastal Karnataka by exploring their tourism potential. There are plans of taking people of UAE on a tour to Jog Falls, Shravanabelagola, Hampi, Belur, Mysuru, Ooty etc, introducing them to Ayurvedic methods of treatment, and providing them the experience of rainy season which they are devoid of, between May and July through 'rain festivals' with the intention of developing tourism. If airports are built even in Shivamogga and Madikeri, people will find it convenient to visit different places easily.

I also aim to build hospitals at all-India level. My hospitals are located at Oman, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries and also in Malaysia. There are 20 such hospitals in the UAE, two in Egypt, one each at Nepal, Doha, Spain, Colombia, Thiruvananthapuram, and Chattisgarh. Ours is a global company. When I visited Ahmedabad four years back to receive the Global Achiever award, Narendra Modi, who was then Gujarat chief minister, had promised to provide five acres of land five km away from Gandhinagar. I plan to set up a hospital at this spot.

Kalsanka area is full of people who shower love and blessings. This area houses a main church of Udupi, and I am thankful that I was given an opportunity to donate a church bell, when the old bell developed a crack and people of the area approached me with a request. I got the new church bell blessed by the Pope and it was ceremonially received by several bishops in the presence of Oscar Fernandes. It is inscribed in marble on the church wall. I am very grateful that I got this opportunity, thanks to the people of Kalsanka.

I have always a had a close relationship with Manipal. I have adopted Dr T M A Pai as my Guru. I could grow to this level because of the guidance provided by T A Pai and K K Pai. Even now T Sathish Pai and others have been extending wholehearted support and encouragement to me. My aim at coming to Abu Dhabi was not for making money or becoming an entrepreneur, but to clear the borrowings which I had raised at my hometown. K K Pai had extended help to me then. The guidance of Pai family of Manipal and ideals of Vajpayee continue to guide and lead me even now.



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Comment on this article

  • Dr R K S Rathore, Agra, India

    Thu, Aug 27 2015

    Dear Dr B R Shetty,
    Your write up has inspired me and several others who have gone through it. May we have many more people from India to shine out like you.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree

  • vincent, mangalore/india

    Sun, Aug 23 2015

    Congratulations!!! Mr. B.R.Shetty is a true and challenging person. He respects each and everyone. Your achievement is a great one. Mangalore/India never forget your achievements...May God bless you Sir.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [10]

  • Anita Upadhyaya, Kinnigoly/salalah

    Sun, Aug 23 2015

    Congrats Dr B.R.Shetty on all your achievements.In Mangalore we need a good airport ,not table top dangerous airport.Many Airlines are scared to fly to Mangalore.With all your influence we r sure you can fulfill our dream.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [5]

  • Alban D Souza, Udyavara/Bajjodi/Mumbai/Doha Qatar

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Congratulations !Dear Mr.. BR Shetty .You are a broad minded man. we are proud that your are from our region you ! you're a great person from India, not only an entrepreneur, but also a philanthropist. employing thousands of people from various nationalities in UAE exchange and other Medical fields.God bless you to help more people all over !

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [18]

  • Christopher DCunha, IXE/AUH

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Dear Sir,
    God has blessed you because you are doing a wonderful service to the Mankind.....Please turn our coastal Karnataka into a world-class tourist destination.May God grant you good health & happiness.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [20]

  • Jossie Mascarenhas, Bajpe / Dubai

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Beautiful article. Thanks Daiji for giving us a chance to enjoy reading it.

    Mr. BR Shetty is indeed a visionary and highly talented entrepreneur. I have also heard his many speeches in various programmes where he does not forget to remember his old associates as well as those who had helped him in the past which is his truly super quality.

    I wish him more and more success in his future plans too.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [17]

  • Abhishek, mangalore

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Hats off sir, we r really very proud of u sir... u r my idol and inspiration sir, hope in future more n more ppl from here achieve ur heights.. may God bless u:)

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [12]

  • Prashanth C Acharya, Udupi/ Dubai

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Visionaries always stand apart from the others. Within 10 days of time what you have made is a Miracle. Our Honorable Prime minister is well deserved it. Hats off to you Sir, you are a true inspiration. May God Bless.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [18]


    Sat, Aug 22 2015


    Reply Report Abuse Agree [15]

  • Jacob Mendonsa, Bangalore

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    I have met Mr. B.R. Shetty several times when we had Mangaloreans get together in Abu Dhabi. Once During interaction he explained to us how he has spent quite a lot of money to shift Bajpe Airport to Padubidri, but due to political interference he could not Succeed. He had also felicitated Karnataka's former CMS J.H.Patel & Kumaraswamy in Abu Dhabi & had briefed them how to make our Mangalore/Udupi
    Coastal Area to develop as a tourism destination, but I believe non took any interest after their return. 

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [20]

  • Ramadas Acharya, Udupi/Pune

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Dr B.R.Shetty is a real gem from Karnataka with vision determination and action.He is also a role model for our young generation and surely generate inspiration for many.Wish him success in all his future ambitious plans.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [21]

  • Anil, Udupi/Mumbai/Dubai

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Well-done Sir, keep it up. God bless you immensely.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [12]

  • ibrahim, Mangaluru

    Sat, Aug 22 2015

    Karnataka our Kannada Nadu has highest potential and has economic and natural resources to make it one of the most favorite tourist destination
    We have mighty and beautiful palaces vrindavan garden, huge sea shores, rain forests, national safari, heritage, history, architectural buildings, temples, churches, masjid
    Our natural mining resources are so rich we can change our state one of the best if ou r rulers pay little attention
    You can do it sir, please raise the status of our state join all rivers and do inland water free for transport, get train facility to cover whole of karnataka
    We will attract huge tourists and reach new heights

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [38]

  • Henry Lewis, Sastan/Kuwait

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    It is nice to Know About Mr.B.R.Shetty by your own words great personality that India has got with you, your helpful nature to all people is admirable and also with you whole Udupi is proud you. Thank God for your good health and courageous approach in everything you do. wish you all good wishes.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [21]

  • paul dsouza, balakunje

    Fri, Aug 21 2015


    Reply Report Abuse Agree [16]

  • Mahendra Shetty, Mumbai Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015



    Reply Report Abuse Agree [24]

  • Harold D'cunha, Mangalore, India

    Mon, Aug 24 2015

    Mahendra Shetty, Mumbai Mangalore

    I do appreciate the immense contribution by Dr. B R Shetty to the community and to the Nation. With due respect to your appreciating word to Dr. B R Shetty and you request to him " WE NEED ALL THE HELP AND SUPPORT FROM YOUR SIDE TO MAKE INDIA AS A SUPER POWER NATION............."

    My observation is - you and me individually make India super power by uplifting at least one family or more, depends on the individual capacity. When we do it, at least few will follow it and this spirit of supporting, empowering will continue.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [2]

  • Raphael D'Souza, Shankerapura/London

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    My family too is a beneficiary of Mr B R Shetty’s kind heartedness. Mr Shetty’s dream of developing Karnataka a tourism attractive state is praiseworthy. Udupi is one of the few cities in India where Hindus, Muslims and Christians live in complete harmony. What udupi needs is visionaries and entrepreneurs like Manipal Pai’s and B. R Shettys. With Temples, churches, Mosques and world class educational institutions, the day is not very far when people of Udupi could call it ‘God’s Own City’

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [30]

  • Oliver, Udupi

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    A big salute to you 'Shetre.'
    May the GOD bless you more with long life & good health.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [16]

  • Ivan Saldanha, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Padmashri B R Shetty, from my personal experience i am made aware is a great human. That he hails from Canara is a matter of blessing for those who feel it. He is rewarded time and again because he is always out to do good and see good for his fellow humans. God bless him abundantly.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [45]

  • Juliet Mascarenhas, Bejai

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Dr. B.R.Shetty,
    My hearty Congratulations to you for organizing such a big event.Fifty thousand Indians gathered in response to your invitation. Majority of them could be from NMC. You will be blessed abundantly.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [52]

  • Valerian D Souza, Udupi / Mumbai

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    I didn't know that Padmashree Dr B R Shetty Sir was from Jan Sangh.
    However, BRS Sir possesses all great qualities of shri. Vajapayeeji and our present Karnataka Governor and that of a great industrialist.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [42]

  • Sujith polali, mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Respected Sir , hats off to your achievements in U.A.E.
    This event was on of the biggest event conducted by NRI, s in GCC so far , wish to see the opening of temple soon in Abudabhi

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [47]

  • Richard Almeida, Kodavoor/Thottam, Airoli, Navi Mumbai

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Dr B R Shetty,

    we feel proud of you sir as a fellow Udupian you are doing wonders all over the world. Your dedication, humanity and service to the world community to be applauded by all. The program of Modiji in UAE was great and appreciated by all. God bless you and keep doing the same social work for all needy citizens of Karnataka and India as a whole.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [46]

  • Hansel Ralph Furtado, Barkur/Mangalore/Bombay/KSA

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Kudos to Mr. B.R. Shetty.His yeoman service to humanity is commendable. I had the privilege to meet him personally in Mumbai.Hope he will develop coastal Karnataka further.May his tribe increase in and around South Kanara.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [38]


    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Hope things will change in UAE as well as in India.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [35]

  • jk, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    I don't know Mr Shetty but know he has done good job at Saudi & gulf countries. Really appreciate his views on Modi and remembering the past relation with MODI. 

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [25]

  • Jossy dsouza/Mercarahills/Mangalore, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Dear B.R Shetty, God bless you for inspiring millions of NRI people to do something for India and in U A E.As your friend now since so many years Sir I am proud of your achievements and bringing light into lives.May God bless you with long life and good health always.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [33]

  • Hasan Yusuf, Mangalore - Kuwait

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Shri B.R. Shetty - We appreciate your services for the betterment of our Communities.

    Dear Sir, we kindly request your good self to use your influence in regard to the RUN WAY EXPANSION of MANGALORE AIPORT at the earliest possible.

    Our people in Coastal Karnataka as well as Coastal Karnataka NRIs in Gulf Countries and worldwide are eagerly looking forward this to be fulfilled soon so that wide body flights can also be landed.

    Please support the matter.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [46]

  • harish kumar, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    This is just miraculous gathering in such a short span of time. Its shows your leadership and devotion towards Sriman Modiji. Hats off to you sir.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [49]

  • Vishal D Souza, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Dear Shetty Sir,
    You are a great & really a gem of Udupi, Coastal Karnataka. You have provided employment to lakhs of people. God bless you & your family. Keep the good work going.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [46]

  • yatheesh shetty, puttur-mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    really we proud of you sir i watched the entire event in T V its super sir i request you sir please open one hospital with medical college in mangalore district or in PUTTUR taluk

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [37]

  • Abdullah Kudroli, Mangalore

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    May Almighty reward you with good forever.
    Ameen .

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [44]

  • Ramesh Prabhu, Kateelu/B'luru

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Hats of Sri B.R Shetty......you are really a gem in Bunt community and great son of Tulunaadu.... Your greatness is you are so humble being so big.May Yellur Ullaya bless you sir......

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [40]

  • j.anata, Mangaluru / Bengaluru

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Sir, you're a great person, not only an entrepreneur, but also a philanthropist. God bless you!

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [58]

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Modi's Historic visit to the UAE was a big achievement and a dream come true for 125 Cr. Team India ...

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [84]

  • Allan dcosta , Kinnigoly/Abu Dhabi

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    God bless you always sir, you are truly an inspiration to all. And especially to all mangaloreans.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [76]


    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    Hats off to you sir & your team, NAMO DUBAI Events created history in Dubai, we Indians are proud of this Events, Shri Modiji is making our Image of Indians proud, once again Thank you Mr BR Shetty Shetty Sir.

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [76]

  • jeetendra hegde, mumbai

    Fri, Aug 21 2015

    sir, kindly accept a Respectable Bow from me..Vande mataram...

    Reply Report Abuse Agree [94]

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Title: Special : 'Got opportunity to return Modi's favour after 47 years'

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