It is always a daunting task to pen a personal profile for a beguiling and charismatic leader, and even more so when the leader evokes strong emotions of respect, awe, and at times, even disagreement among every Indian as well as across the world. Such is the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Shree Narendra Modiji, and on his 69th birthday, this is a short and crisp article delineating the personal life and awe-inspiring political journey.
I would like to begin this article with words often repeated by Modiji: “People’s blessings give you the power to work tirelessly; the only thing required is commitment.”
It is with this resolve that India created history by voting his Government to power with a thumping majority in 2014 and once again in 2019, with a clear mandate to govern our country.
Shri Narendra Damodardas Modi, now lovingly called NaMo by his followers, was born to a family of grocers, on September 17, 1950, in Vadnagar, Gujarat. The third among six children, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the young age of eight years and later, became a full time ‘Pracharak’. He was instrumental in setting up a unit of the RSS’s students’ wing, the ‘Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad’, in his area. During his childhood, Modiji also helped his father in selling tea at the Vadnagar Railway Station and later ran a tea stall with his brother near the bus terminus.
Modiji has always been level-headed and firm in his convictions. At the age of seventeen, he decided that marriage was not on the cards for him. He left home and travelled across India, exploring its expansive landscape and diverse cultures. He visited Rishikesh, the Himalayas, the Ramakrishna Mission and Northeast India. On returning home after two years, Modiji went on to obtain an M.A. degree in political science from Gujarat University. The challenges Modiji faced during his childhood shaped him into the resilient politician that he is today.
Political Life and achievements
Modiji has always had the utmost zeal and enthusiasm to serve people in need, be it offering his services voluntarily to soldiers at railway stations during the war of 1965 or helping victims during the Gujarat floods of 1967. At the time of the Emergency, Modiji remained underground and resisted the government in various ways, right from distributing pamphlets. This brought his managerial, organisational and leadership skills to the fore.
In 1987, Modiji joined the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP); in the same year, he was not only made Secretary-General of Gujarat branch, but he also contested and won the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections, giving BJP its first ever win. Modiji then climbed the ladder; in 1995 he became the Secretary of the BJP’s national unit, and he rose further in stature after successfully organising the Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra of L. K. Advani and the Kanyakumari to Kashmir march of Murli Manohar Joshi, both eminent leaders of the BJP at that time. His hard work culminated into his appointment as the Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, after his predecessor Keshubhai Patel resigned due to health reasons.
Within a year of this achievement, the most controversial episode in Modiji’s political career took place. On February 27, 2002, a train, which was carrying a huge number of Hindu pilgrims coming from Ayodhya, was burnt near Godhra. This led to large scale riots the next day, killing hundreds of Hindus and Muslims. There were several allegations implying the involvement of Modiji’s government in these riots and petitions were filed. However, an SIT probe ordered by the Supreme Court into the matter resulted in a clean chit since there was lack of prosecutable evidence, which was upheld by the Gujarat High Court in 2017. By then Modiji was already Prime Minister of India. The same was earlier reinforced when Modiji was re-elected as Chief Minister in December 2002, after being forced to step down earlier.
Modiji went on to win Gujarat Assembly elections three consecutive times and held the position of Chief Minister for 12 years during which he brought Gujarat to the peak of its development. In 2014, Modiji contested Lok Sabha elections for the first time. He won by a grand margin and became the Prime Minister of India, only to be re-elected through a landslide victory in 2019.
Recognition and Awards
Under Modiji’s Prime Ministership since 2014, the NDA-led government has introduced large scale reforms in almost every sector. The Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana for financial inclusion, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana for provision of LPG to families living below the poverty line, the Swachh Bharat Yojana, the Make in India initiative, the Digital India programme, and the Start-up India programme are the prominent few among many. The government has taken risks that have paid off, beginning with the introduction of GST and increase in funds towards research and space departments. The only exception was that of demonetisation, which was largely criticised.
Modiji has received recognition from various institutions and governments around the world for his contribution to India’s rapid development. Recently in August 2019, Modiji was honoured with the ‘Bahrain Order- First Class’ by the King of Bahrain. Modiji has also been awarded the prestigious Seoul Peace Prize in 2018 and the UN Champions of the Earth Award 2018, amongst others. He was the TIME Person of the Year in 2016 and his approval ratings stand at 71%, putting him in the top three out of ten World leaders, as per the collaborative survey conducted by Gallup International Association (GIA) and CVoter International.
Last but not the least, to add to the achievements of Modiji is the large number of books he has written on a wide variety of topics such as education (‘Kelve Te Kelavani’) and the role of influential persons in his life (‘Jyotipunj’). Similarly, writers of all nationalities have authored a large number of books on his life.
Just the basics of Modiji’s vibrant life, are enough to tell that his journey to becoming the Prime Minister of India has not been easy. However, with determination and sharp focus, Modiji has been able to overcome each obstacle and become a source of inspiration for many. It is our hope that the Government led by Shri Narendra Modiji will continue to guide India towards maximum development and achieve the dream of a corruption free, self-sufficient nation with the highest standard of living!
The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of The Tilak Chronicle and TTC Media Pvt Ltd.