How India’s ‘Strongman’ became a globally respected national leader

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India’s Strongman

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses an election campaign rally ahead of the Karnataka state assembly elections in Bengaluru, India, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

As India’s first Prime Minister born after independence greets the diaspora at Houston, Narendra Modi’s road to becoming a globally respected leader, bears retelling

Here are extracts from the story of his life on www.pmindia.gov.in:

Personal Life Story

History was scripted in the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhawan on the evening of 26th May 2014 as Narendra Modi took oath as the Prime Minister of India after a historic mandate from the people of India. In Narendra Modi, the people of India see a dynamic, decisive and development-oriented leader who has emerged as a ray of hope for the dreams and aspirations of a billion Indians. His focus on development, eye for detail and efforts to bring a qualitative difference in the lives of the poorest of the poor have made Narendra Modi a popular and respected leader across the length and breadth of India.

“The world is seeing India with a ray of hope

and our diaspora can play a crucial role in further

spreading it. The Indian community doesn’t

settle abroad to enter into politics or take

seat in global politics. Wherever they go,

they think and act towards benefit of the society.”

-PM Modi at the inaugration of Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra

Narendra Modi’s life has been a journey of courage, compassion and constant hard work. At a very young age he had decided to devote his life in service of the people. He displayed his skills as a grass root level worker, an organiser and an administrator during his 13 year long stint as the Chief Minister of his home state of Gujarat, where he ushered a paradigm shift towards pro-people and pro-active good governance.

Formative Years

Narendra Modi’s inspiring life journey to the Office of Prime Minister began in the by-lanes of Vadnagar, a small town in North Gujarat’s Mehsana district. He was born on the 17th of September 1950; three years after India had gained its Independence. This makes him the first Prime Minister to be born in independent India. Mr. Modi is the third child born to Damodardas Modi and Hiraba Modi. Mr. Modi comes from a family of humble origins and modest means. The entire family lived in a small single storey house which was approximately 40 feet by 12 feet.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a child. (Photos: courtesy narendramodi.in)

Narendra Modi’s formative years taught him early tough lessons as he balanced his studies, non-academic life to spare time to work at the family owned Tea Stall as the family struggled to make ends meet. His school friends remember that as a child also he was very industrious and had an affinity for debates and a curiosity to read books. Schoolmates recollect how Mr. Modi used to spend many hours reading in the local Library. As a child he was also fond of swimming.

“Entire world today is keen to engage with

India. And, our diaspora can play a major

role in furthering the country’s bond with the world.

At the same time, it is also necessary for us to connect

and strengthen our bond with diaspora.”

-PM Modi at the inauguration of Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra

 Mr. Modi’s thoughts and dreams as a child were quite removed from how most children of his age thought. Perhaps it was the influence of Vadnagar which once used to be a vibrant center of Buddhist learning and spirituality many centuries ago. As a child also he always felt a strong urge to make a difference to society. He was highly influenced by the works of Swami Vivekananda which laid the foundation of his journey towards spiritualism and which inspired him to pursue the mission to fulfill Swamiji’s dream of making India a Jagat Guru.

At the age of 17 he left home to travel across India. For two years he travelled across the expansive landscape of India exploring various cultures. When he returned home he was a changed man with a clear aim of what he wanted to achieve in life. He went to Ahmedabad and joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). RSS is a socio-cultural organisation working towards the social and cultural regeneration of India. It was a tough routine for Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad since 1972 when he became a Pracharak for RSS. His day began at 5 am and went on till late night. Late 1970s also saw a young Narendra Modi join the movement to restore Democracy in India which was reeling under Emergency.

“Be it the First World War
or Second World War,
India never attacked other
countries. We never
attacked any country for
conquering their territory.
But our brave soldiers fought for others and
sacrificed their lives in both Wars. And, the world must recognize this.“-PM Modi at the inaugration of Pravasi Bhartiya Kendra

 While continuing to shoulder different responsibilities within the Sangh during the 1980s Narendra Modi emerged as an Organizer exemplar with his organizing skills. In 1987 a different chapter began in the life of Mr. Modi when he started work as the General Secretary of the BJP in Gujarat. In his first task Mr. Modi won a victory for the BJP in Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections for the first time ever. He also ensured that the BJP was a close second to the Congress in the 1990 Gujarat Assembly elections. In the 1995 Assembly elections Mr. Modi’s organizational skills ensured the BJP’s vote share increased and the party won 121 seats in the Assembly.

Mr. Modi worked as the National Secretary of BJP from 1995 looking after party’s activities in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. As BJP’s General Secretary Organisation he worked to ensure the BJP won the 1998 Lok Sabha elections. It was in September 2001 that Mr. Modi received a phone call from then Prime Minister Vajpayee which opened a new chapter in his life taking him from the rough and tumble of Organizational Politics to the world of Governance. To read more about Shri Narendra Modi’s personal life story please visit: http://www.narendramodi.in/humble-beginnings-the-early-years/

Years in Governance

Narendra Modi’s evolution from quintessential Organization Man of the BJP to one of India’s best known leaders recognized for his Good Governance over a span of a decade tells a story of grit, determination and Strong Leadership in the face of grave adversity. Narendra Modi’s transition from the world of Political Organizing to the realm of Administration and Governance neither had the luxury of time nor the benefit of training. Shri Modi had to learn the ropes of Administration while on the job right from Day One.

(After four years of governance, Prime Minister Modi was re-elected with a huge mandate in May 2019)

 

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