Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who enjoys the largest public support in the world, the son of the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, has championed equality and inclusive development. He turns 70 on Thursday. Born on September 17, 1950 to Damodardas Modi and Hiraba, Modi’s early life began in Vadnagar in Gujarat’s Mehsana district, a vibrant centre of spirituality. At 17, when youngsters enjoy the last years of their childhood and contemplate the future, he decided to leave home and travel around the country. Like Swami Vivekananda, he traveled vast tracts of India and experienced different cultures in different parts of the country. It was a time of spiritual awakening for him and also an education into the problems faced by the country’s people. As a swayamsevak of the RSS, he began to be acquainted with the importance of organisation skills and service to the people and nation.
Modi was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Gujarat on October 7, 2001. His unprecedented record in the state’s development led not only the Bharatiya Janata Party, but the entire country, then reeling from corruption and policy paralysis of the UPA government, to accept his leadership. In May 2014, he led the BJP to victory and became the 15th Prime Minister of the country. The all-round development of the country founded on the credo of “Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas” and “Ek Bharat Shrestha Bharat” earned him a place in the heart of the people, who returned him to office again in 2019.
In the last six years, the country has followed a development trajectory that is aimed at giving every citizen the opportunity to fulfil his/her hopes and aspirations. The BJP celebrates Modi’s birthday as “Seva Divas” and September 14 to September 21 as “Seva Saptah”. As he himself has said, “I am not the Prime Minister of the country but the ‘Pradhan Sevak’ of the country”.
PM Modi’s insight, compassion, hard work, national and social concerns are among the qualities that make him such a popular and loved leader. He symbolises austerity, sacrifice, service and courage. On April 14, while addressing the nation about the coronavirus, he referred to a verse from the Yajurveda, “Vayam Rashtre Jagritya” — “we will all keep our nation eternal and awake”. This has now come to typify the resolve of the nation.
The only mission of the PM is the welfare of every citizen of the country and to make the nation powerful globally. Today, the entire nation stands behind him. But this road has not been without challenges. Be it his personal or political life, Modi has faced more difficulties than all previous prime ministers. But the founder of “New India” has excelled in every test. Today, under his leadership, India is fighting the COVID-19 pandemic better than any country in the world despite having relatively few medical facilities and infrastructure.
When the PM CARES Fund was set up to combat the epidemic, Modi donated Rs 2.25 lakh towards its initial corpus. The fund is used for building medical infrastructure and facilities in order to deal with serious medical challenges urgently.
On the occasion of the Bhumi Pujan of Lord Shri Ram’s temple in Ayodhya, Modi said that “the message of Lord Shri Ram is the message of thousands of years of tradition”. He said it is the responsibility of present and future generations to familiarise the rest of the world with this vision. He exuded confidence that the grand Ram temple in Ayodhya would embody the rich heritage of Indian culture and inspire humanity for eternity.
The prime minister has helmed the greatest transformation in the country — the rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party is based on new political mindset and style, making the Congress’s six decades of hegemony irrelevant. A modern, digital, corruption-free, accountable and credible government has emerged under him, in which every citizen has unprecedented participation. Archaic systems and rules have been abolished and a new India is being built.
Modi is also a man of letters. He has found time from his busy routine to write a dozen books. As the chief minister of Gujarat, he composed 67 pieces of poetry that offer insight into his philosophy and vision. His poetry collection in Hindi, “Sakshi Bhava” — expressed in the form a dialogue with his motherland — offer a window into the mind of the compassionate, action-oriented nationalist. Pushpanjali Jyotipunj, one of his best works, is a call to charity and social service. It’s about social responsibilities, in the tradition of ascetics who have inspired him. Social Harmony offers an insight into Modi’s empathy for society. In Exam Warriors, PM Modi offers examples from his childhood to wean children away from the stress of exams. In Convenient Action, he exhorts the international community to deal with the challenges of climate change.
At the heart of his every decision are the underprivileged, the poor, workers and farmers. Every decision of his is informed by the desire to make the administration corruption-free, transparent and policy-based. A house for every Indian, 24-hours electricity in every village and household, drinking water for all, village-to-village roads, broadband connectivity to every village, nutrition for all, health for all, education for all, and jobs for all are his abiding concerns. There is now a “one nation, one tax” and a “one nation, one ration card”. “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India”, “Fit India”, “Swachh India”, and “Self-Reliant India” will all go into making a “New India”.
During the pandemic, his commitment has been evident to not only India, but the entire world. He has received global support and appreciation. He has laid the foundation for an India of the future. Under him, India will not only regain its past glory but will also lead the world to peace, prosperity and humanity. I wish a healthy and long life for Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the service of the nation.
The writer is national vice president, BJP and former member of parliament
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