Early life and Education :
Narendra Damodardas Modi is an Indian politician serving as the 14th and current Prime Minister of India since 2014. Modi was born on 17 September 1950, He was the third of six children to Damodardas Mulchand Modi & Heeraben Modi in Vadnagar, Mehsana district, Gujarat. Modi’s family belonged to the Modh-Ghanchi-Teli Community, which is categorized as an Other Backward Class by the Indian Government. In 1967, He completed SSC Standard from Board Gujarat. In 1978, Modi Completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the School of Open Learning at the University of Delhi, Graduating with a third class. In 1983, He Completed Post Graduation MA from Gujarat University. In Childhood, Modi helped his father Sell Tea at the Vadnagar Railway Station, and said that he later ran a tea stall with his brother near a bus terminus. In 1967, Modi completed his higher secondary education in Vadnagar, where a teacher described him as an average student and a keen debater, with an interest in theatre. Modi had an early gift for rhetoric in debates, and his teachers and students noted this. Modi preferred playing larger-than-life characters in theatrical productions, which has influenced his political image.
At 8 Years Old, Modi discovered the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and began attending its local shakhas. There, Modi met Lakshmanrao Inamdar, popularly known as Vakil Saheb, who inducted him as a Balswayamsevak (junior cadet) in the RSS and became his political mentor. While Modi was training with the RSS, he also met Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda, Bharatiya Jana Sangh leaders founding members of the BJP’s Gujarat unit in 1980.
Narendra Modi’s childhood, in custom traditional to his caste, his family arranged a betrothal to a girl, Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi, leading to their marriage when they were teenagers. Sometime thereafter, he abandoned the further marital obligations implicit in the custom, and left home, the couple going on to lead separate lives, neither marrying again, and the marriage itself remaining unmentioned in Modi’s public pronouncements for many decades. In April 2014, shortly before the national elections that swept him to power, Modi publicly affirmed that he was married and his spouse was Jashodaben; the couple has remained married, but estranged.
Modi spent the ensuing two years traveling across Northern and North-eastern India, though few details of where he went have emerged. In interviews, Modi has described visiting Hindu ashrams founded by Swami Vivekananda-the Belur Math near Kolkata, followed by the Advaita Ashrama in Almora and the Ramakrishna Mission in Rajkot. Modi remained only a short time at each since he lacked the required college education. Vivekananda has been described as a large influence in Modi’s life.
In 1968, Modi reached the Belur Math but was turned away, after which Modi wandered through Calcutta, West Bengal, and Assam, stopping in Siliguri and Guwahati. Modi then went to the Ramakrishna Ashram in Almora, where he was again rejected, before traveling back to Gujarat via Delhi and Rajasthan in 1968–1969. Sometime in late 1969 or early 1970, Modi returned to Vadnagar for a brief visit before leaving again for Ahmedabad. There, Modi lived with his uncle, working in the latter’s canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.
In Ahmedabad, Modi renewed his acquaintance with Inamdar, Modi was based at the Hedgewar Bhavan (RSS headquarters) in the city. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, he stopped working for his uncle and became a full-time Pracharak (campaigner) for the RSS, working under Inamdar. Shortly before the war, Modi took part in a non-violent protest against the Indian government in New Delhi, for which he was arrested; this has been cited as a reason for Inamdar electing to mentor him. Many years later Modi would co-author a biography of Inamdar, published in 2001.
Early Political Career:
In June 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India that lasted until 1977. During this period, known as The Emergency, many of her political opponents were jailed and opposition groups were banned. Modi was appointed General Secretary of the Gujarat Lok Sangharsh Samiti” an RSS committee coordinating opposition to the Emergency in Gujarat. Shortly afterward, the RSS was banned. Modi was forced to go underground in Gujarat and frequently traveled in disguise to avoid arrest. He became involved in printing pamphlets opposing the government, sending them to Delhi, and organizing demonstrations. Modi was also involved with creating a network of safe houses for individuals wanted by the government, and in raising funds for political refugees and activists. During this period, Modi wrote a book in Gujarati, Sangharsh Ma Gujarat describing events during the Emergency. Among the people, he met in this role was a trade unionist and socialist activist George Fernandes, as well as several other national political figures. In his travels during the Emergency, Modi was often forced to move in disguise, once dressing as a monk, and once as a Sikh.
In 1978, Modi became an RSS Sambhag Pracharak (regional organizer), overseeing RSS activities in the areas of Surat and Vadodara. In 1979, He went to work for the RSS in Delhi, where he was put to work researching and writing the RSS’s version of the history of the Emergency. In 1985, He returned to Gujarat a short while later and was assigned by the RSS to the BJP. In 1987, Modi helped organize the BJP’s campaign in the Ahmedabad municipal election, which the BJP won comfortably, Modi’s planning has been described as the reason for that result by biographers. After L. K. Advani became President of the BJP in 1986, the RSS decided to place its members in important positions within the BJP; Modi’s work during the Ahmedabad election led to his selection for this role, and Modi was elected organizing secretary of the BJP’s Gujarat unit later in 1987.
In 1990, Modi Rose within the Party and was named a Member of the BJP’s National Election Committee. He helping organize L. K. Advani’s 1990 Ram Rath Yatra and Murli Manohar Joshi’s 1991–92 Ekta Yatra (Journey for Unity). Modi, on the selection committee for the 1998 Assembly elections in Gujarat, favored supporters of BJP leader Keshubhai Patel over those supporting Vaghela to end factional division in the party. His strategy was credited as key to the BJP winning an overall majority in the 1998 elections, and Modi was promoted as a General Secretary to BJP.
In 2001, Keshubhai Patel’s health was failing and the BJP lost a few state assembly seats in by-elections. Allegations of abuse of power, corruption, and poor administration were made, and Patel’s standing had been damaged by his administration’s handling of the earthquake in Bhuj in 2001. The BJP national leadership sought a new candidate for the chief ministership, and Modi expressed misgivings about Patel’s administration, was chosen as a replacement. Although BJP leader L. K. Advani did not want to ostracise Patel and was concerned about Modi’s lack of experience in government, Modi declined an offer to be Patel’s deputy chief minister, telling Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee that he was “going to be fully responsible for Gujarat or not at all”. On 3 October 2001, he replaced Patel as Chief Minister of Gujarat, with the responsibility of preparing the BJP for the December 2002 elections. Modi was sworn in as Chief Minister on 7 October 2001, and entered the Gujarat state legislature on 24 February 2002 by winning a by-election to the Rajkot – II constituency, defeating Ashwin Mehta of the INC by 14,728 votes.
In the aftermath of the violence, there were widespread calls for Modi to resign as chief minister from within and outside the state, including from leaders of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Telugu Desam Party (allies in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance coalition), and opposition parties stalled Parliament over the issue. Modi submitted his resignation at the April 2002 BJP national executive meeting in Goa, but it was not accepted. His cabinet had an emergency meeting on 19 July 2002, after which it offered its resignation to the Gujarat Governor S. S. Bhandari, and the state assembly was dissolved. Despite opposition from the election commissioner, who said that several voters were still displaced, Modi succeeded in advancing the election to December 2002. In the elections, the BJP won 127 seats in the 182-member assembly. Although Modi later denied it, he made significant use of anti-Muslim rhetoric during his campaign, and the BJP profited from religious polarisation among the voters. He won the Maninagar constituency, receiving 113,589 of 154,981 votes and defeating INC candidate Yatin Oza by 75,333 votes. On 22 December 2002, Bhandari swore Modi in for a second term. Modi framed the criticism of his government for human rights violations as an attack upon Gujarati pride, a strategy that led to the BJP winning two-thirds of the seats in the state assembly.
Modi’s personal involvement in the 2002 events has continued to be debated. During the riots, Modi said that “What is happening is a chain of action and reaction.” Later in 2002, Modi said how he had handled the media was his only regret regarding the episode. In March 2008, the Supreme Court reopened several cases related to the 2002 riots, including that of the Gulbarg Society massacre, and established a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the issue. In response to a petition from Zakia Jafri, in April 2009 the court also asked the SIT to investigate the issue of Modi’s complicity in the killings. The SIT questioned Modi in March 2010; in May, it presented to the court a report finding no evidence against him. In July 2011, the court-appointed amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran submitted his final report to the court. Contrary to the SIT’s position, he said that Modi could be prosecuted based on the available evidence. The Supreme Court gave the matter to the magistrate’s court. The SIT examined Ramachandran’s report, and in March 2012 submitted its final report, asking for the case to be closed. Zakia Jaffri filed a protest petition in response. In December 2013 the magistrate’s court rejected the protest petition, accepting the SIT’s finding that there was no evidence against the chief minister.
During the run-up to the 2007 assembly elections and the 2009 general election, the BJP intensified its rhetoric on terrorism. In July 2006, Modi criticized Prime Minister Manmohan Singh ” for his reluctance to revive anti-terror legislation” such as the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act. He asked the national government to allow states to invoke tougher laws in the wake of the 2006 Mumbai train bombings. In 2007 Modi authored Karmayog, a 101-page booklet discussing manual scavenging. In it, Modi argued that scavenging was a “spiritual experience” for Valmiki, a sub-caste of Dalits. However, this book was not circulated at that time because of the election code of conduct. After the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Modi held a meeting to discuss the security of Gujarat’s 1,600-kilometre (990 mi)-long coastline, resulting in government authorization of 30 high-speed surveillance boats. In July 2007 Modi completed 2,063 consecutive days as chief minister of Gujarat, making him the longest-serving holder of that post, and the BJP won 122 of 182 state-assembly seats in that year’s election.
As Chief Minister, Modi favored privatization and small government, which was at odds with the philosophy of the RSS, usually described as anti-privatization and anti-globalization. His policies during his second term have been credited with reducing corruption in the state.
The Governments led by Patel and Modi supported NGOs and communities in the creation of groundwater-conservation projects. By December 2008, 500,000 structures had been built, of which 113,738 were check dams, which helped recharge the aquifers beneath them. Sixty of the 112 tehsils which had depleted the water table in 2004 had regained their normal groundwater levels by 2010. As a result, the state’s production of genetically modified cotton increased to become the largest in India. The boom in cotton production and its semi-arid land use led to Gujarat’s agricultural sector growing at an average rate of 9.6 percent from 2001-2007. Public irrigation measures in central and southern Gujarat, such as the Sardar Sarovar Dam, were less successful. The Sardar Sarovar project only irrigated 4–6% of the area intended. Nonetheless, from 2001 to 2010 Gujarat recorded an agricultural growth rate of 10.97 percent – the highest of any state. However, sociologists have pointed out that the growth rate under the 1992–97 INC government was 12.9 percent. In 2008, Modi offered land in Gujarat to Tata Motors to set up a plant manufacturing the Nano after a popular agitation had forced the company to move out of West Bengal. Several other companies followed Tata to Gujarat.
A contentious debate surrounds the assessment of Gujarat’s economic development during Modi’s tenure as chief minister. The state’s GDP growth rate averaged 10% during Modi’s tenure, a value similar to other highly industrialized states, and above that of the country as a whole. Gujarat also had a high rate of economic growth in the 1990s, before Modi took office, and scholars have stated that growth did not accelerate during Modi’s tenure. Under Modi, Gujarat topped the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” rankings among Indian states for two consecutive years. In 2013, Gujarat was ranked first among Indian states for “economic freedom” by a report measuring governance, growth, citizens’ rights, and labor and business regulation among the country’s 20 largest states. In the later years of Modi’s government, Gujarat’s economic growth was frequently used as an argument to counter allegations of communalism. Tax breaks for businesses were easier to obtain in Gujarat than in other states, as was land. Modi’s policies to make Gujarat attractive for investment included the creation of Special Economic Zones, where labor laws were greatly weakened.
Over the decade from 2001 to 2011, Gujarat did not change its position relative to the rest of the country concerning poverty and female literacy, remaining near the median of the 29 Indian states. It showed only a marginal improvement in rates of infant mortality, and its position concerning individual consumption declined. For the quality of education in government schools, the state ranked below most Indian states. The social policies of the government generally did not benefit Muslims, Dalits, and Adivasis, and generally increased social inequalities. Development in Gujarat was generally limited to the urban middle class, and citizens in rural areas or from lower castes were increasingly marginalized. In 2013 the state ranked 10th of 21 Indian states in the Human Development Index. Under Modi, the state government spent far less than the national average on education and healthcare.
Despite the BJP’s shift away from explicit Hindutva, Modi’s election campaign in 2007 and 2012 contained elements of Hindu nationalism. Modi only attended Hindu religious ceremonies and had prominent associations with Hindu religious leaders. During his 2012 campaign, he twice refused to wear articles of clothing gifted by Muslim leaders. He did, however, maintain relations with Dawoodi Bohra. His campaign included references to issues known to cause religious polarisation, including Afzal Guru and the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. The BJP did not nominate any Muslim candidates for the assembly election of 2012. During the 2012 campaign, Modi attempted to identify himself with the state of Gujarat, a strategy similar to that used by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency and projected himself as protecting Gujarat against persecution by the rest of India.
While campaigning for the 2012 assembly elections, Modi made extensive use of holograms and other technologies allowing him to reach a large number of people, something he would repeat in the 2014 general election. In the 2012 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections, Modi won the constituency of Maninagar by 86,373 votes over Shweta Bhatt, the INC candidate, and wife of Sanjiv Bhatt. The BJP won 115 of the 182 seats, continuing its majority during his tenure and allowing the party to form the government (as it had in Gujarat since 1995). In later by-elections, the BJP won four more assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats held by the INC, although Modi did not campaign for its candidates. In 2013, the Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania canceled a keynote video-conference speech by Modi following protests by Indian-Americans. After he was elected prime minister, Modi resigned as the chief minister and as an MLA from Maninagar on 21 May 2014. Anandiben Patel succeeded him as the Chief Minister.
Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014. He became the first Prime Minister born after India’s independence from the British Empire. His first year as prime minister saw significant centralization of power relative to previous administrations. Modi’s efforts at centralization have been linked to an increase in the number of senior administration officials resigning their positions. Initially lacking a majority in the Rajya Sabha, or the upper house of Indian Parliament, Modi passed many ordinances to enact his policies, leading to further centralization of power. The government also passed a bill increasing the control that it had over the appointment of judges, and reducing that of the judiciary.
In December 2014 Modi abolished the Planning Commission, replacing it with the National Institution for Transforming India, or NITI Aayog. The move had the effect of greatly centralizing the power previously with the planning commission in the person of the prime minister. The planning commission had received heavy criticism in previous years for creating inefficiency in the government, and for not filling its role of improving social welfare: however, since the economic liberalization of the 1990s, it had been the major government body responsible for measures related to social justice.
The Modi government launched investigations by the Intelligence Bureau against numerous civil society organizations and foreign non-governmental organizations in the first year of the administration. The investigations, because these organizations were slowing economic growth, was criticized as a witchhunt. International humanitarian aid organization Medecins Sans Frontieres was among the groups that were put under pressure. Other organizations affected included the Sierra Club and Avaaz. Cases of sedition were filed against individuals criticizing the government. This led to discontent within the BJP regarding Modi’s style of functioning and drew comparisons to the governing style of Indira Gandhi.
Modi repealed 1,200 obsolete laws in the first three years as prime minister; a total of 1,301 such laws had been repealed by previous governments over a span of 64 years. He started a monthly radio program titled “Mann Ki Baat” on 3 October 2014. Modi also launched the Digital India program, to ensure that government services are available electronically, build infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet access to rural areas, boosting the manufacturing of electronic goods in the country, and promoting digital literacy.
Modi launched the Ujjwala scheme to provide free LPG connections to rural households. The scheme led to an increase in LPG consumption by 56% in 2019 as compared to 2014. In 2019, a law was passed to provide a 10% reservation to Economically weaker sections.
He was again sworn in as Prime minister on 30 May 2019. On 30 July 2019, the Parliament of India declared the practice of Triple Talaq as illegal, unconstitutional, and made it a punishable act from 1 August 2019 which is deemed to be in effect from 19 September 2018. On 5 August 2019, the government moved a resolution to scrap Article 370 in the Rajya Sabha and also reorganize the state with Jammu and Kashmir serving as one of the union territories and the Ladakh region separated as a separate union territory. In 2019, the Ayodhya dispute was resolved. The Supreme Court ordered the land to be handed over to a trust to build the Hindu temple. It also ordered the government to give alternate 5-acre land to Sunni Waqf Board to build a mosque.
Awards and Recognition:
Modi was named the Best Chief Minister in a 2007 nationwide survey by India Today. In March 2012, he appeared on the cover of the Asian edition of Time Magazine, one of the few Indian politicians to have done so. He was awarded the Indian of the Year by CNN-IBN News Network in 2014. In 2014, 2015, and 2017, he was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He was also declared the winner of the Time magazine Reader’s poll for Person of the Year in 2014 and 2016. Forbes Magazine ranked him the 15th Most Powerful Person in the World in 2014 and the 9th Most Powerful Person in the World in 2015, 2016, and 2018. In 2015, Modi was ranked the 13th Most Influential Person in the World by Bloomberg Markets Magazine. Modi was ranked fifth on Fortune Magazine’s first annual list of the “World’s Greatest Leaders” in 2015. In 2017, the Gallup International Association (GIA) conducted a poll and ranked Modi as the third top leader in the world. In 2016, a wax statue of Modi was unveiled at Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in London.
In 2015 he was named one of Time’s “30 Most Influential People on the Internet” as the second-most-followed politician on Twitter and Facebook. In 2018 he was the third most followed world leader on Twitter and the most followed world leader on Facebook and Instagram. In October 2018, Modi received the UN’s highest environmental award, the ‘Champions of the Earth’, for policy leadership by “pioneering work in championing” the International Solar Alliance and “new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action”. He has conferred the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize in recognition of his dedication to improving international co-operation, raising global economic growth, accelerating the Human Development of the people of India by fostering economic growth, and furthering the development of democracy through anti-corruption and social integration efforts. He is the first Indian to win the award. In January 2019, PM Narendra Modi, a biographic film starring Vivek Oberoi as Modi, was announced.
Following his second swearing-in ceremony as Prime Minister of India, a picture of Modi was displayed on the facade of the ADNOC building in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Premiered on 12 August 2019, Modi appeared in a special episode of Discovery Channel’s show Man vs Wild with the host Bear Grylls, becoming the Second World Leader after Barack Obama to appear in the adventure/survival show. In the show, he trekked the jungles and talked about nature and wildlife conservation with Grylls. The episode was shot in Jim Corbett National Park, Uttarakhand, and was broadcast in 180 countries along with India. The Texas India Forum hosted a community event in honor of Modi on 22 September 2019 at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The event was attended by over 50,000 people and several American politicians including President Donald Trump, making it the largest gathering for an invited foreign leader visiting the United States other than the Pope. At the same event, Modi was presented with the Key to the City of Houston by Mayor Sylvester Turner. He was awarded the Global Goalkeeper Award on 24 September 2019 in New York City by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in recognition of the Swachh Bharat Mission and “the progress India has made in providing safe sanitation under his leadership”.