Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

PM Modi 2015.jpg
14th Prime Minister of India
Assumed office
26 May 2014
PresidentPranab Mukherjee
Ram Nath Kovind
Preceded byManmohan Singh
14th Chief Minister of Gujarat
In office
7 October 2001 – 22 May 2014
GovernorSunder Singh Bhandari
Kailashpati Mishra
Balram Jakhar
Nawal Kishore Sharma
S. C. Jamir
Kamla Beniwal
Preceded byKeshubhai Patel
Succeeded byAnandiben Patel
Member of the Lok Sabha
for Varanasi
Assumed office
16 May 2014
Preceded byMurli Manohar Joshi
Member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly
for Maninagar
In office
1 January 2002 – 16 May 2014
Preceded byKamlesh Patel
Succeeded bySuresh Patel
Personal details
Born
Narendra Damodardas Modi

(1950-09-17) 17 September 1950 (age 68)
Vadnagar, Bombay State, India
(present-day Gujarat)
Political partyLotus BJPBharatiya Janata Party
Spouse(s)
Jashodaben (m. 1968)
(estranged)
Residence7, Lok Kalyan Marg
Alma materUniversity of Delhi
Gujarat University
Net worth₹2.28 crore[1]
SignatureGovernment website

Narendra Damodardas Modi (pronounced [ˈnəɾeːndrə daːmoːdəɾˈdaːs ˈmoːdiː] (About this soundlisten); born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician serving as the 14th and current Prime Minister of India since 2014. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, and is the Member of Parliament for Varanasi. Modi is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Born to a Gujarati family in Vadnagar, Modi helped his father sell tea as a child and later ran his own stall. He was introduced to the RSS at the age of eight, beginning a long association with the organisation. He left home after graduating from school, partly because of an arranged marriage which he rejected. Modi travelled around India for two years and visited a number of religious centres. He returned to Gujarat and moved to Ahmedabad in 1969 or 1970. In 1971 he became a full-time worker for the RSS. During the state of emergency imposed across the country in 1975, Modi was forced to go into hiding. The RSS assigned him to the BJP in 1985, and he held several positions within the party hierarchy until 2001, rising to the rank of General Secretary.

Modi was appointed Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, due to Keshubhai Patel's failing health and poor public image following the earthquake in Bhuj. Modi was elected to the legislative assembly soon after. His administration has been considered complicit in the 2002 Gujarat riots,[a] or otherwise criticised for its handling of it, however a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) found no evidence to initiate prosecution proceedings.[b] His policies as chief minister, credited with encouraging economic growth, have received praise.[9] His administration has been criticised for failing to significantly improve health, poverty, and education indices in the state.[c]

Modi led the BJP in the 2014 general election, which gave the party a majority in the Lok Sabha, the first time a single party had achieved this since 1984. Modi himself was elected to parliament from Varanasi. Since taking office, Modi's administration has tried to raise foreign direct investment in the Indian economy, increased spending on infrastructure, and reduced spending on healthcare and social welfare programmes. Modi has attempted to improve efficiency in the bureaucracy, and centralised power by abolishing the planning commission and replacing it with the NITI Aayog. He has begun a high-profile sanitation campaign, and weakened or abolished environmental and labour laws. Credited with engineering a political realignment towards right-wing politics, Modi remains a figure of controversy domestically and internationally over his Hindu nationalist beliefs and his role during the 2002 Gujarat riots, cited as evidence of an exclusionary social agenda.[d]

Early life and education

Narendra Modi was born on 17 September 1950 to a family of grocers in Vadnagar, Mehsana district, Bombay State (present-day Gujarat). He was the third of six children born to Damodardas Mulchand Modi (c.1915 – 1989) and Hiraben Modi (born c.1920).[18] Modi's family belonged to the Modh-Ghanchi-Teli (oil-presser) community,[19][20][21] which is categorised as an Other Backward Class by the Indian government.[22][23]

As a child, Modi helped his father sell tea at the Vadnagar railway station and later ran a tea stall with his brother near a bus terminus.[24][25] Modi completed his higher secondary education in Vadnagar in 1967, where a teacher described him as an average student and a keen debater, with interest in theatre.[26] Modi had an early gift for rhetoric in debates, and his teachers and students noted this.[27] Modi preferred playing larger-than-life characters in theatrical productions, which has influenced his political image.[28][29]

When eight years old, Modi discovered the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and began attending its local shakhas (training sessions). There, Modi met Lakshmanrao Inamdar, popularly known as Vakil Saheb, who inducted him as a balswayamsevak (junior cadet) for RSS and became his political mentor.[30] While Modi was training with the RSS, he also met Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda, Bharatiya Jana Sangh leaders who were founding members of the BJP's Gujarat unit in 1980.[31] Engaged while still a child to Jashodaben, a girl from a family who lived close by, Modi rejected the arranged marriage at the same time he graduated from high school.[32] The resulting familial tensions contributed to his decision to leave home in 1967.[33]

Modi spent the ensuing two years travelling across Northern and North-eastern India, though few details of where he went have emerged.[34] 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.[35][36][37] Vivekananda has been described as a large influence in Modi's life.[38]

In the early summer of 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.[39] Modi then went to the Ramakrishna Ashram in Almora, where he was again rejected, before travelling back to Gujarat via Delhi and Rajasthan in 1968–69.[40] Sometime in late 1969 or early 1970, Modi returned to Vadnagar for a brief visit before leaving again for Ahmedabad.[41] There, Modi lived with his uncle, working in the latter's canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.[42][43]

In Ahmedabad, Modi renewed his acquaintance with Inamdar, who was based at the Hedgewar Bhavan (RSS headquarters) in the city.[44][45][46] After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, he stopped working for his uncle and became a full-time pracharak (campaigner) for the RSS,[43] working under Inamdar.[47] 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.[47] Many years later Modi would co-author a biography of Inamdar, published in 2001.[48]

In 1978 Modi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from School of Open Learning[49] at University of Delhi,[50][51] graduating with a third class.[52] Five years later, in 1983, he received a Master of Arts degree in political science from Gujarat University,[53][54] as an external distance learning student.[55]

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