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Simple yet extraordinary life of his mother who emphasised on ‘garib kalyan’

Modi says, A life lesson his mother taught him was that it was possible to be learned without being formally educated

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New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI): PM Narendra Modi has often highlighted his mother Hiraben’s deep influence in shaping his life as he rose from a humble family background to become India’s PM.

As Hiraben, who passed away on Friday, entered the 100th year of her life on June 18 this year, Modi had penned an emotional and deeply-felt tribute in what is probably his most detailed impression of his mother in the public realm.

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With the poor’s welfare at the centre of many of his government schemes, he had recalled that his mother always inspired him to have a strong resolve and focus on “garib kalyan”, a catchphrase associated with him.

When the BJP picked him to be the Gujarat CM in 2001, he said his mother was ecstatic and told him, “I don’t understand your work in the government but I just want you to never take a bribe.”

In the blog, he had highlighted her sacrifices and various aspects of her life which “shaped” his mind, personality and self-confidence.

Modi said a life lesson his mother taught him was that it was possible to be learned without being formally educated.

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“My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary. Just like all mothers,” he had said in his blog.

Modi said once he wanted to publicly honour all his teachers, including his biggest teacher his mother.

However, his mother declined, saying she was an ordinary person. “I may have given birth to you but you have been taught and brought up by the almighty,” Modi recalled her as saying.

He said though his mother did not attend the event, she made sure that he invited someone from the family of Jethabhai Joshi, his local teacher who taught him the alphabet.

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“Her thought process and far-sighted thinking have always surprised me,” Modi said.

In 2014, when Modi sought his mother’s blessings on his 64th birthday, she surprised him by giving him Rs 5,001, something which she had never done before. This sum, she said, was meant for Jammu & Kashmir flood relief fund, according to a Twitter handle which gives out snippets about Modi’s past.

The PM had recalled in his blog that his family stayed in a small mud house in Vadnagar with clay tiles for a roof. He also mentioned the innumerable every day adversities that his mother encountered and successfully overcame.

“During the rains, the roof of the house would leak and the house would flood. Mother would place buckets and utensils below the leaks to collect the rainwater. Even in this adverse situation, mother would be a symbol of resilience,” he said.

He said his mother not only did all the household chores by herself but also worked to supplement the meagre household income. She used to wash utensils at a few houses and take out the time to spin the ‘charkha’ to help meet the household expenses, Modi added

The PM said his mother also had deep respect for those engaged in cleaning and sanitation work. Cleanliness was something that she was always extremely particular about, he said

Whenever someone would come to clean the drain adjacent to their house in Vadnagar, he said, his mother would not let them go without having tea.

Modi said his mother found happiness in other people’s joys and was extremely large-hearted.

He recalled that his father brought home his close friend’s son, Abbas, after his untimely death. “He stayed with us and completed his studies. Mother was as affectionate and caring towards Abbas just like she did for all of us siblings,” Modi said.

“In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice, and contribution of India’s matrushakti. Whenever I look at mother and crores of women like her, I find there is nothing that is unachievable for Indian women,” Modi had said.

The prime minister noted there were only two instances when his mother accompanied him publicly.

Once, it was at a public function in Ahmedabad when she applied tilak on his forehead after he had returned from Srinagar where he had hoisted the national flag at the Lal Chowk after completing the Ekta Yatra, he said.

The second instance was when he first took oath as Gujarat’s chief minister in 2001.

He also described his mother as a dutiful citizen who has voted in every election, from panchayat to Parliament.

Noting that she leads an extremely simple lifestyle, he had said there are no assets in her name.

“I have never seen her wear any gold ornaments and she has no interest either. Like earlier, she continues to lead an extremely simple lifestyle in her small room,” he said.

Modi said his mother remains abreast with current developments and continues to have a sharp memory.

“Recently, I asked her how long she watches TV every day. She replied that most people on TV are busy fighting with each other, and she only watches those who calmly read out the news and explain everything. I was pleasantly surprised that mother keeps track of so much,” he said.

Describing his mother as a ‘Kabirpanthi’, he said she has immense faith in the divine but at the same time has remained afar from superstitions and inculcated the same qualities in her family members.

On his decision to leave home at an early age, the prime minister said while his father, who is no more, was extremely disheartened, his mother understood him and blessed him. Modi said his father later came to terms with his decision and blessed him.

He said since childhood, his mother could feel that he had a different mindset.

Modi said when he looks back at his parents’ lives, their honesty and self-respect have been their biggest qualities. “Despite struggling with poverty and the accompanying challenges, they never left the path of honesty or compromised their self-respect”.

He said they had only one mantra to overcome any challenge: hard work, constant hard work.

“In his life, my father never became a burden on anyone. Mother too tries to ensure that she does her own chores as much as possible… I have no doubt that everything good in my life, and all that is good in my character, can be attributed to my parents,” Modi wrote.

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The Hills Times, a largely circulated English daily published from Diphu and printed in Guwahati, having vast readership in hills districts of Assam, and neighbouring Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur
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