Narendra Damodardas Modi, India’s current Prime Minister representing the BJP [Bhartiya Janata Party] celebrated his 70th birthday on 17th September 2020 this Thursday. Modiji by his teacher was ‘an average student but a great debater’. But the leader of the largest democracy's journey wasn't quite a smooth sailing.
Narendra Damodardas Modi was born on 17th September 1950. He was the third of six children born to Damodardas Mulchand Modi and Hiraben Modi. Son of grocers in Varanasi, Modi dreamt big at a young age. He studied at Delhi and Gujarat University, where he got a BA in Political science. Young Narendra joined the RSS [Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh] at the age of 8 and after graduation at 17 he left to travel for 2 years; In some interviews, he has said he visited a few Ashrams founded by Swami Vivekananda. In his younger days, he helped his father sell tea at the railways. Whilst working there, he lived with his uncle who worked in the canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation. He became the full-time Pracharak of the RSS in 1971 because he was so influenced by them. This was the time he formally joined RSS. In the early 1970s, 20-year-old Narendra set up an RSS student branch called Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad. The RSS has certainly helped his political career.
In 1987, Modi started a new chapter in his life joining the BJP’s general secretary of the Gujarat branch of the party. In 1988 the BJP won the elections and became the ruling party in Gujarat. After gaining more experience and learning a great deal more in politics, Narendra Modi was appointed as the Secretary of the BJP's national unit in 1995. In 1998, BJP won the national general elections making Atal Bihari Vajpayee, one of Modi’s mentors, Prime minister; Many states, that the Ram Mandir Ayodhya conflict in which the BJP had protested had a great outcome to their power and votes. In 2001, the year which changed it all for Modi. Due to health reasons, the Gujrat CM Keshubhai Patel had resigned; BJP had lost a few seats in the state elections but because Modi was one of
Vajpayee’s successors he contested and was sworn in as Gujarat’s new CM. Narendra Modi ended up being the CM for 3 terms. Narendra Modi was also married to Jashodaben, but he left her as he wanted to focus on his career. During his term, in 2002 there were major riots in Gujarat which affected him a lot. He was tried in court for ‘not doing enough during the riots’ which were against minority Muslims. The riots were a major setback to his cabinet and Gujarat had 1,044 dead, 223 missings, and 2,500 injured people. After court cases and investigations, no evidence was found leading him to any charges.
2013 was a big year for BJP and Modi as it was time for the national general elections, BJP announced that Modi would be the prime-minister candidate and had backing from Arun Jaitley, Amit Shah, and Rajnath Singh who were high-rank BJP members but the congress party was a strong opponent. BJP beat Congress. That year, Congress had an all-time low of only 44 seats while BJP won 336. Modi had a great term with the surgical strike and the bitter-sweet demonetization. 5 years later came the 2019 general elections, Modi was the favourite against the young Rahul Gandhi. This time was again no different with BJP winning 303 seats compared to Congress’s 52.
Narendra Modi, a fierce diplomat, and a master-strategist has had his ups and downs, but he has served the country well and will continue to do so in the future.
Written By Arhaan Zaveri