Thirty things you should know about Narendra Modi – Sheela Bhatt

Narendra Modi and his mother Heeraben

Sheela Bhatt“Narendra Modi has finally gate-crashed New Delhi. The state-level political leader from a medium-sized Indian state has arrived in Delhi seeking the prime minister’s chair, no less.

While the country will take its time to make up its mind, Modi has shown that he is a man in a hurry and will not leave any stone unturned to achieve his dream.

So who really is Narendra Modi? Do we really know him? What are his personal habits, for one?” – Sheela Bhatt

Hatkeshwar Mahadev Temple1. Vadnagar, an ancient town that’s almost 2,500 years old, is Narendra Damordas Mulchand Modi’s birthplace. Indians strongly identify themselves with their janambhoomi, and Modi is no different. He likes the Hatkeshwar Mahadeo Temple, built in the 15th century, in his home town. His birthplace is unique in that it saw both Hinduism and Buddhism flourish. It is also a highly cultured town that is famous for singer-duo Tana and Riri who stumped none other than the legendary Tansen in the Mughal king Akbar’s durbar.

Vadnagar was once the capital of Gujarat and has a proud place in history also because the Chinese scholar Hsüan-tsang visited it during his 17-year journey through India in the seventh century and has narrated Vadnagar in detail in his fascinating memoirs.

Bhagavatacharya Narayanacharya High School, the co-ed Gujarati-medium school that Modi attended in Vadnagar.2. Modi was born on September 17, 1950. He makes it a point to take the blessings of his mother Heeraben on his birthday. He bonds reasonably well with his four brothers and sister but doesn’t display it in public. His wife’s name is Jashoda, and the couple separated soon after marriage.

3. The most striking personal habit of Modi is to wear well-ironed and wrinkle-free clothes, a habit he retains from his teenage years when he would fill hot water in a brass lota and iron his shirt using the vessel’s heated bottom. He continues to lay stress on dressing well and, judging by his Narendra Modipublic appearances over the last couple of years he owns hundreds of kurtas, all of them tailored by his favourite darzi in a posh shop on Ahmedabad’s CG Road. Everyone knows that he is crazy about wrist watches and sandals.

4. Modi is a cleanliness maniac. He keeps his desk, his home and general surroundings spic and span. There is no doubt that he is very comfort-oriented in the matter of designing his home and personal desk. He loves his chartered flights, too—one of the privileges of being a chief minister.

5. He can be dubbed one of the best copywriters in contemporary India. No Indian advertising agency is likely to match his ability to paraphrase ideas, launch new brands, re-US legislators invite Modi to the States, will get him visa clearance.launch people and events, write-rewrite copies to sell ideas or products as he does.

6. In closed-door meetings he likes multi-media presentations. He has a flair for technology and has a child-like enthusiasm for it. In meetings he has displayed that he has a fine sense of humour—though it can sometimes be hurtful.

7. He is extremely prudent in money matters, and would like to pay the least and get the most while finalising contracts of various ministries. He can be called economical if not a miser. Yes, he is very economical with his own money as well.

8. These days his weight veers around 84 kg. He gets back-pain at times, with the upper part of the spinal region being the problem area. When he stands for a long time his feet get swollen. But, no, he doesn’t have any serious health problems.

9. Has spent enough time in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh so his language, nuances of behaviour and expressions can never be Westernised. He definitely likes Western watches, accessories and homely comforts, but that’s all. He is quite conservative, even old-fashioned, on issues relating to women and family, though he will never say so in public. His knowledge of English is reasonably okay but he is not comfortable speaking it. He has done his masters in political science but as an RSS pracharak he learnt all about India, Hinduism and family life when he was staying with RSS followers’ families.

10. Those who believe in astrology may like to know that Modi’s moon sign is Scorpio, and sun sign is Virgo. His star constellation is Anuradha. He was born at 11 am on September 17, 1950. An astrologer who saw his kundli says his rahu antardasha, considered good for those in politics, “is on till September 2014”.

Ahmedabad’s best astrologer claims, “Modi’s planetary strength lies in Tula, no mangal in chalit and Rahu in sixth house.” Those in the know say that Lokmanya Tilak and Otto von Bismark had similar kundlis. According to current astrological transit, Saturn and Rahu in Tula and Jupiter’s position in his kundli are helping his rise.

One perforce thinks of destiny and X factor while talking about Modi because even as his government is facing serious allegations of fake encounters, his star is on the ascendant. The man’s rise is impressive also when one considers that for almost three decades he lived with little money. When in his 20s, he arranged and acted in a play in Vadnagar to collect funds to build his school’s boundary wall. He has even served tea in his maternal uncle’s canteen at the bus stand in Ahmedabad while studying in college.

Ma Ambaji11. He fasts all nine days during Navratri every year – eating only one fruit a day during this time. He eschews the Navratri special-thali-meal which is traditionally allowed once a day. He fasts out of devotion for Goddess Ambaji, and has changed the landscape of her shrine on the Gujarat-Rajasthan border. Out of reverence to Ma Amba he has built a Rs 70 crore-plus Shakti Peeth parikrama on the Gabbar Hillock, considered highly sacred by devotees. This will be inaugurated soon.

12. He logs on to the internet every morning without fail and checks all that is written about him. Even if he is travelling, he gets newspapers and cuttings of what his critics are saying about him.

Anandiben Patel13. He is the decision-maker. Period. He will not send any decision to a Group of Ministers.

14. Modi has no ‘best friend’. He is a loner.

15. Modi is married but never lived with his wife. Since long he has been trusting Anandiben Patel, a minister and among his likely successors if he shifts to Delhi. However, he guards his privacy zealously.  

16. Modi is workaholic. After going online at 7 am or even earlier, he would call his party men from all over Gujarat; now, he calls people from all over India. He attends office early in the morning, and works till 10 pm if need be. He is a leader who is not going to ease his grip on party politics even if he were to head a ministry or be ensconced in the PMO if a National Democratic Alliance government comes to power.

17. Oh yes, he is in love with the mirror. He poses like a model. He is very conscious of pictures that are sent out from his publicity office. A few years back he used to like dark colours but now he experiments. He keeps a comb handy in his pocket all the time. He keeps half a dozen colourful ‘khes’ angvastras ready in the back seat of his car, and chooses one according to the crowd he is addressing.  

18. He sleeps for only five hours—sometimes even less. Whatever time he hits the bed, he gets up at 5 or 5.30 am. 

19. He has written poems of low literary value.

20. His icon is Swami Vivekananda. He admires Indira Gandhi.

21. Modi was incommunicado when he was 17 and 18. He left his family and went to Rajkot’s Ramakrishna Mission and to the Belur Math in West Bengal and then to the Himalayas. He wanted to do something but did not know what. So he travelled and wandered around India. 

22. His favourite food is bhakhri (crisp rotis) and khichdi made in Gujarati style. Modi knows to cook, too. 

23. He has met innumerable sadhus. He taught Gujarati to Sadhvi Ritambhara when he was a full-time worker in the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. The sadhvi’s guru Swami Parmanand was fond of Modi’s ‘spiritual quest’.  

Modi with imams & Xian priest Gandhinagar24. Unlike his image, Modi meets local Gujarati Muslims frequently. But the easy access given to them is among Gandhinagar’s well-kept secrets.

25. He is a hard task-master and treats government officers as tools to achieve his political goals.

26. There is no doubt that he played communal politics in the last three Gujarat elections. Gujarat CM Narendra ModiBut his close associates say, in a weak defence, that his negative side is not dominated by his penchant for identity politics. He is like most national leaders—from Indira Gandhi to Nitish Kumar—opportunistic, which drives him to play identity politics for the sake of power.  

27. He has won so far because he knows the usefulness and uselessness of everyone around him. Two, he recognises time and its value. He strikes when it’s his time and bends otherwise.

Energising Gujarat28. No one should have any doubt that if at all he fulfills his dream of becoming prime minister he will turn New Delhi topsy-turvy. He will make bureaucrats work and will be a dictator who will ensure the implementation of his decisions.

His Jyotigram Yojna to provide power to all Gujarati households 24×7 was almost impossible to implement, with the toughest resistance coming from users of electricity. But Modi put his foot down, plugged leakages, stopped theft, and forced farmers to pay pending bills running into crores of rupees. It was a very China-like implementation that he managed through Saurabh Patel, the state energy minister. Modi’s entire image is built on and around this achievement after the 2002 riots. Those who are not his fans may hear him out in the coming days because he has provided power to all homes in Gujarat. 

29. Whatever critics may say, Modi has learnt his lesson after the 2002 riots. The secular activists, media and judiciary struggled to get Modi’s government to follow the rule of law. That has made a difference, and is a huge achievement for Teesta Setalvad and other activists. The Modi camp says he is unlikely to repeat the mistakes of 2002. However, those who hate him will continue to hate him. Modi evokes extreme emotions in his fans, and more so in his opponents.  

30. Even though the prime minister’s chair is far, far away, in case Modi becomes PM he will not continue the “official minority policies” the way it’s now run from New Delhi. He will leave his imprint on the way the central government handles the nation’s minorities.

This fear will ensure that Muslim voters will go the whole hog to vote against Modi. The fear is understandable. L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj are also arguing on the same lines. It’s precisely for this reason that from now on, Modi will be heard attentively when he speaks on cultural, social, communal and constitutional issues.

Modi has an original way of political manoeuvring. Just wait and watch. –, 14 September 2013

Narendra Modi at work.

Narendra Modi at leisure in the garden of his house.

For more photos go to the article »

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5 Responses

  1. Very comprehensive and inspiring article on most powerful and popular leader of post independent india after late Indira Gandhi. My sincere thanks and regards to my sister and friend Sheela ji..


  2. Please update this post as he is now considered a Master of Entire Political Science


  3. Don’t know about Modi’s ‘thievery and womanizing’ — but one thing is clear — Modi is the biggest hoax perpetrated on Indian public by the combined efforts of media moguls, corporate India, rich Gujaratis fired by Hindutva Taliban zealotry — a highly flammable mix.

    Giving a “freehand” to border forces without civilian supervision and control — (Congress at least was responsible enough to hold the leash) — is the FIRST STEP to invite a war on the border as a certainty — NOT ‘development’ for the country — a huge mistake.


  4. By any imagination, he is the best Prime Minister that Bharat deserves. Sardar Patel was not allowed to be Prime Minister because of that Dhonghi Muslim Womaniser Nehru. However, is the Indian population ready and willing to accept the best man for the job ? Or would they accept a Dhongi and a half caste ? Choice is yours. I hope and pray Sri Narendrabhai Modi becomes the next genuine Prime Minister of Bharat. I have just one message to give to the Muslims in India. Mother Bharat was vivisected by the malevolent British, Muslim Nehru and Jinnah. No other minority, be it Christian, Parsees, Buddhists, Sikhs or even Aetheists had asked for their own country. It is only the Muslims. The British, in their rage, gave our beloved Motherland fur a song to create Two Muslim countries. Not only that, a choice was given to the Muslims to go to Pakiland or stay put. No Hindus were given the privileges and asked ‘what do you want?’

    Now that you are here, for the sake of God, learn how to live like proper human beings. Have live for the country. There are 56 Muslim countries you can migrate to if you do not like Bharat. Pack your bags and go.

    Live and let live should be changed to live and let those who key you live.


  5. Has Sheela Bhatt written ’30 things you should know about Rahul Gandhi?’

    Would make interesting reading !


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