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Narendra Modi Birthday: 14th PM of India turns 73 today

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Narendra Damodardas Modi, born on September 17, 1950, in Vadnagar, Gujarat, is a prominent Indian politician who has left an indelible mark on the nation’s political landscape. Serving as the 14th Prime Minister of India since May 2014, Modi’s journey in politics is marked by its unique twists and turns, as well as significant achievements and controversies.

Early Life and Education

Narendra Modi was born into a Gujarati Hindu family of grocers and was the third of six children. His childhood was spent in Vadnagar, a town in northeastern Gujarat. His early education took place in Vadnagar, where he completed his higher secondary education in 1967. Teachers remember him as an average student but a gifted debater with a penchant for theatre, which would later influence his political persona.

Modi’s introduction to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of eight marked the beginning of his involvement in ideological and political circles. During this time, he met mentors like Lakshmanrao Inamdar, who played a pivotal role in shaping his political journey.

The “Chai Wala” Controversy

One aspect of Narendra Modi’s early life that became a topic of discussion is his claim of having sold tea at the Vadnagar railway station during his childhood. However, this account has not been entirely corroborated by evidence. During a protest against the government, Modi’s brother, Prahlad Modi, contradicted the narrative by stating that Narendra Modi had never sold tea. According to Prahlad Modi, their father raised their family by selling tea, and it was a mistake to label the Prime Minister as a “chai wala” (tea seller).

Association with RSS and Early Activism

At the age of eight, Modi joined the RSS and began attending its local training sessions or “shakhas.” Here, he met mentors who would shape his future in politics. Modi’s political activism started in 1971 when he became a full-time worker for the RSS in Gujarat. He eventually transitioned to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1985, where he held various positions within the party hierarchy, eventually rising to the rank of general secretary.

Marriage and Personal Life

Narendra Modi’s personal life has garnered attention due to his unconventional marital history. At the age of 18, he was married to Jashodaben Modi, but the marriage was not a typical one. Modi abandoned his wife soon after their marriage and only publicly acknowledged her four decades later when legally required to do so. This revelation came just ahead of the 2014 national elections, during which Modi publicly affirmed his marital status.

Political Ascendancy and Controversies

Modi’s political career saw several milestones and controversies. In 2001, he was appointed Chief Minister of Gujarat, and he served in this capacity until 2014. His administration during this period faced criticism for its handling of the 2002 Gujarat riots. While his policies were credited with encouraging economic growth, they were also criticized for not significantly improving health, poverty, and education indices in the state.

Modi’s political career reached new heights when he led the BJP to a parliamentary majority in the 2014 Indian general election, becoming India’s 14th Prime Minister. His tenure included several significant policy initiatives, such as the demonetization of high-denomination banknotes and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). His administration’s handling of the 2019 Balakot airstrike and the Citizenship Amendment Act sparked widespread discussions and debates.

Challenges and Achievements

In his second term, Modi’s administration revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and introduced the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, leading to protests and unrest. The government also faced challenges with the COVID-19 pandemic, during which millions of Indians lost their lives.

Under Modi’s leadership, India has experienced both economic growth and democratic backsliding, raising concerns about the state of democratic institutions, individual rights, and freedom of expression in the country.

Conclusion

Narendra Modi’s journey from a modest upbringing in Vadnagar to becoming the Prime Minister of India is a remarkable tale of ambition, political acumen, and controversy. His life and career reflect the complexities of Indian politics and society. While celebrated for his economic policies and leadership, he remains a polarizing figure due to his Hindu nationalist beliefs and his handling of critical events in India’s history.

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