Modi: A Saint and World Leader
What makes Modi a different head of the state as compared to Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama the recently served Presidents of United States? Come 31st May and Modi will be completing his ninth year as Prime Minister of India as compared to eight years of these Presidents of USA. In these last nine years Prime Minister Modi has emerged as the world’s most popular leader with an approval rating of 78 percent. This was revealed in a Global Leader Approval ratings released by a US based consulting firm Morning Consult.
Modi has left behind present day world leaders in terms of popularity as per the latest rating. These leaders include US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Comparisons between Narendra Modi and other historical and contemporary politicians are multiplying in order to place and contextualize the man who heads the world’s largest democracy. The temptation to liken him to some remarkable figure or the other has grown because of heightened global expectations that he will be in the league of history-making individuals with a solid impact.Parallels between personalities across space and time are often expressions of visceral emotions, likes and dislikes felt by observers. Liberals as well as conservatives while toasting Modi’s election triumphs in 2014 and 2019, argue that Modi is India’s Ronald Reagan or Margaret Thatcher. These two right wing icons of the 1980s were also revolutionaries in their own right who completely altered the socioeconomic structures of the US and the UK through their business-friendly deregulation and wholesale privatization. In the recent past so many writers and analysts have done a lot of research and then pen down a lot about Modi Magic, but in today’s write-up I will try to throw some light on the life and work which prove that he stands out among all the Prime Ministers the country has seen so far. Narendra Modi is most likely the only prime minister whose family members do not stay with him in the official PM residence. Members of Modi’s family stay in different parts of Gujarat, his home state. Modi had left his home at a young age. In an interview to Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar in the midst of last Lok Sabha elections, he said he is very detached from the members of his family. He used to meet only his mother at Gandhinagar. She has visited the official PM residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, formerly Race Course Road (RCR), just once. No one else from his family is known to have lived in the PM residence since then. His family members live a humble life employed in third or fourth grade government jobs or run small private business in Gujarat without any help from him. PM Narendra Modi is known to be generous. He has often donated his personal savings for social causes. He donated Rs 21 lakh from his personal savings to the corpus fund for the welfare of sanitation workers of Kumbh Mela. He donated the entire prize money of Rs 1.13 crore he had received as part of Seoul Peace Prize in South Korea towards Namami Gange to help clean the holy River Ganga. He auctioned the mementoes he had received during his first tenure as PM and the proceeds of Rs. 3.40 crore were also donated to the Namami Gange Mission. Earlier, he auctioned the gifts he had received till then in 2015. An amount of Rs 8.33 crore which was raised at Surat also went to the Namame Gange Mission. On winning the 2014 Lok Sabha elections and before leaving Gandhinagar as chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi donated Rs 21 lakh from personal savings for educating the daughters of the state government staff. He also raised Rs 89.96 crore by auctioning all the gifts he had received as Gujarat CM and donated this to the Kanya Kelavani Fund. The money was spent on the education of girl child, through the scheme.
Narendra Modi has not taken even a single day’s leave in the last nine years as prime minister. Moreover, he has claimed that he sleeps for only three to four hours. He had not taken any leave during his stint as Gujarat CM also which spanned three terms and over 12 years. Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads by example. He is not only worried about saving the expenses of the people but also saves the nation’s money. His Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, construction of toilets, distribution of gas cylinders, lowering the prices of drugs and implants such as stents are aimed at saving the health bill of the people. PM Modi himself saves the nation’s bills. During his foreign visits, he sleeps in aircraft at night and takes part in meetings and summits during the day. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi has celebrated every Diwali in the in the company of soldiers. In 2014, he went to 18.875-foot Siachen glaciers and in 2015 he was in Punjab interacting with officers and jawans of the Indian Army and Air Force at Dograi War Memorial, Barki War Memorial and Air Force Station in Halwara. He met the jawans of the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Indian Army and Dogra Scouts in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh in 2016. Next year, in 2017, he was in Kashmir among the jawans manning the Line of Control (LoC) in Gurez valley, Bandipora, in 2018, he was at the Indo-China border, with Army and ITBP personnel in the Harshil cantonment area, in 2019 he met the army personnel in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri, in 2020 he was at the border post of Longewala, in 2021 he celebrated the festival of lights in Jammu and Kashmir’s Nowshera and last year on October 24, 2022 OM Modi celebrated Deepavali with Indian Army personnel in Kargil. He always appeals to people to develop a tradition of according respect to soldiers. Once he appealed to give a standing ovation to groups of soldiers at public places such as airports and railway stations and today we see the people following the same. Prime Minister Narendra Modi vigorously promotes national icons other than the leaders belonging to the Nehru-Gandhi family. He emulated Mahatma Gandhi and implemented Swachh Bharat Mission. He even wielded the broom and forced other politicians and bureaucrats to do the same for cleanliness. Like Mahatma, he promoted Khadi. The humble Khadi has become a fashion statement now because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He has appealed to the people on a number of occasions through his monthly Mann Ki Baat radio programme to buy Khadi. Due to his aggressive promotion, the sale of Khadi garments and fabric has grown by more than 150 per cent in the last nine years. He built the world’s tallest statue dedicated to country’s first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel in Narmada district of Gujarat. The Modi government declassified 304 files pertaining to Subhas Chandra Bose in 2017. His government also launched several initiatives related to BR Ambedkar. PM Modi inaugurated Dr Ambedkar International Centre in the capital and BR Ambedkar Memorial in London among other initiatives.
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s efforts, the United Nations in 2014 proclaimed June 21 every year as the International Day of Yoga. The day is celebrated not just in India but also in several other countries. Modi himself takes part in yoga events and so do the others in government offices, schools and colleges. PM Narendra Modi gives a personal touch in his interactions with children, youngsters, elders and world leaders. He was often seen touching the feet of his mother and seeking her blessings on special occasions. He never hesitated in doing the same with senior BJP leaders LK Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi and also Akali Dal president Late Parkash Singh Badal.
He has been seen fondly pulling the ears of children on several occasions.
Modi has become famous for hugging world leaders. His hugs of heads of states such as US President Joe Biden and his predecessor Barack Obama& Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and French President Emmanuel Macron were much talked about. In an unprecedented gesture, he washed the feet of sanitation workers, including a women, at Kumbh in Prayagraj in 2019. On several issues, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has proved that he does not need to legislate laws to make people follow him. He said this showed an environment of honesty has been fostered in the country and the people trusted his government. On Independence Day in 2015, he made an appeal to the common man from the ramparts of the Red Fort to surrender LPG subsidy. More than 1.25 crore people voluntarily gave up the subsidy. The Railways on their reservation forms asked the senior citizens if they wished to give up their travel concessions. Over 50 lakh people gave up the concession in the very first year. Opposition for want of petty political gains often makes a dig on his initial initiates during COVID, but at the same time the whole world was highly impressed with the campaigns like Taali-Thali and the lighting of Diyas, which kept the morale of the country high.
To sum-up Narendra Modi’s outstanding achievements are, No corruption at Central govt Ministries level, Provided basis amenities to poor which they did not have since the independence of India and Traced out leakages and blocking them with direct benefit cash transfer which saved a huge amount of Govt and public money.
(The author is State Secretary & Prabhari District Reasi,
BJP Jammu & Kashmir UT) .