News / Asia

India's Likely PM Modi Has Modest Roots

Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (C), the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), gestures as he arrives to seek blessings from his mother Heeraben at her residence in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of
Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi (C), the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), gestures as he arrives to seek blessings from his mother Heeraben at her residence in Gandhinagar in the western Indian state of
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Narendra Modi, who is set to become India's next prime minister, had a modest upbringing that stands in contrast to that of his chief political rivals in the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.
Modi grew up in a lower-middle class home in the western state of Gujarat, where his father worked as a railway station tea vendor and his mother served as a domestic helper.
Narendra Modi, the man set to become India's next prime minister:
  • Member of main Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
  • As a child, helped his father sell tea at a railway station
  • Served as chief minister of Gujarat state since 2001
  • Criticized for handling of deadly Hindu-Muslim riots in 2002
  • 63 years old; unmarried; has no children
At a young age, Modi joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a right-wing Hindu nationalist organization that he says educated and instilled a sense of discipline in him.
Since 2001, he has served as the chief minister of Gujarat, where he has overseen a period of rapid growth that has given him a reputation as an economic reformer.
His political career was once in jeopardy following criticism of his handling of religious riots in 2002 in Gujarat that left more than 1,000 people dead, mostly Muslims.
Modi denies wrongdoing in the anti-Muslim riots, which are believed to have been sparked when Muslims set fire to a train carrying Hindu pilgrims.
Late last year, an Indian court ruled there was not enough evidence to prosecute him.

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Comment Sorting
by: Not Again from: Canada
May 16, 2014 2:32 PM
A new hope purveyour is raising in India; let us hope he does not disappoint the people. India's potential capabilities and economic development potential are enourmous, but so are India's stumbling blocks, that need to be addressed in a very directive and determined way; every one of his predecessors ignored these stumbling blocks, with very negative consequences= economic, social, cultural and political stagnation; everything was done as during the colonial period.

A man of humble beginings may be the answer to rapidly advancing the country into a better future for all, for he has credibility, because he was not born with a golden spoon and dozens of servants to cater to his every wish; but sometimes people have convenient short memories of hard times.

So far, Narendra Modi has demonstrated to be a dilligent technocrat, that gets the needed jobs started, moving, and correctly done. His crucial problem, and test, will be as to how he handles the security and justice files. Will he be able to put the terrorists out of business? and will he be able to ensure social justice prevails for all, not just the few self appointed elites?

On the international stage, I do hope he can step out of the shadows of colonialism, and firmly aligne India with the Western democracies as an equal partner, and not just sit on the non-aligned, no influence precarious position, that has served India so poorly in the past; seating on the fence, was a attribute engendered by colonialism, that looked badly on native asertiveness. The other big issue, will see, if the days of past rampant privilages to the few unmotivated fence seaters, will come to an end, and not just a change in the names of the new beneficiaries will be observed!

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