Narendra Modi washes the feet of his mother during a visit on the occasion of her 100th birthday in Gandhinagar on Saturday. AFP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday met his mother as she turned 100, in Gujarat’s Gandhinagar before leaving for Pavagadh.
He washed her mother’s feet and took her blessings as well as shared some sweets with her. Modi penned an emotional blog as his mother who turned 100-year-old and recollected some special moments from his childhood that he spent with her.
He said, “In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice and contribution to 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.”
He recalled several sacrifices made by his mother as he grew up and mentioned various qualities of her that have shaped his mind, personality and self-confidence.
Narendra Modi talks with his mother during a visit on the occasion of her 100th birthday in Gandhinagar. AFP
“Today, I feel extremely happy and fortunate to share that my mother Heeraben Modi is entering her 100th year. This is going to be her birth centenary year,” the prime minister added.
Recalling hardships his mother faced during his childhood, Modi said, “My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary. Just like all mothers. She does not even remember my grandmother’s face or the comfort of her lap. She spent her entire childhood without her mother.”
The prime minister recalled the tiny house in Vadnagar with mud walls and clay tiles for a roof where he stayed with his parents and siblings. He mentioned innumerable adversities that his mother encountered everyday and successfully overcame.
Modi added that cleanliness was something that his mother had always been extremely particular about. He shared several instances, which gave a glimpse of his mother being very particular about maintaining cleanliness.
The prime minister added that his mother had a deep respect for those involved in cleaning and sanitation. Whenever someone would come to clean the drain adjacent to their house in Vadnagar, his mother wouldn’t let them go without offering them tea.
Modi wrote that his mother made him realise that it was possible to be learned without being formally educated. He shared an incident when he wanted to publicly honour all his teachers, including his biggest teacher — his mother. However, his mother declined, saying, “I am an ordinary person. I may have given birth to you, but you have been taught and brought up by the Almighty.”
Hiraba Modi (C on a wheelchair) performs a ritual during an event on her 100th birthday. AFP
The prime minister said that though his mother did not attend the event, she made sure that he called someone from Jethabhai Joshi ji’s family — his local teacher, who taught him alphabets. “Her thought process and farsighted thinking have always surprised me,” he added.
Reflecting on his mother’s extremely simple lifestyle, Modi wrote that even today, 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,” the Prime Minister said.
Modi added that his mother has always inspired him to have a strong resolve and focus on ‘garib kalyan’ (the upliftment of poor). He shared an instance from 2001 when he had been declared as the Gujarat Chief Minister.
After reaching Gujarat, Modi went straight to meet his mother. She was extremely ecstatic and told him, “I don’t understand your work in the government, but I just want you to never take a bribe.”
His mother keeps assuring him that he should not worry about her and remain focused on the larger responsibilities. Whenever Modi speaks to her mother on the phone, the latter says, “Never do anything wrong or anything bad with anyone and keep working for the poor.”
The prime minister said that his parents’ honesty and self-respect have been their biggest qualities.
Despite struggling with poverty and its accompanying challenges, Modi added, “His parents never left the path of honesty or compromised on their self-respect. Constant hardwork was their foremost mantra to overcome any challenge!”
Modi encapsulated his mother’s inspiring life story in a few words. “Far beyond every tale of deprivation is the glorious story of a mother, far above every struggle is the strong resolve of a mother.”
Indo-Asian News Service