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Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India

Narendra Modi, the 14th Prime Minister of India, has become a figure synonymous with transformative leadership and vigorous governance. Rising from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of Indian politics, Modi’s journey is a testament to the power of resilience and vision. His tenure has been marked by a series of ambitious policies aimed at fostering economic growth, technological advancement, and global standing.

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Table of Contents

Early Life and Political Ascent of Narendra Modi

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Narendra Damodardas Modi was born on September 17, 1950, into a Gujarati Hindu family involved in the grocery trade, in the small town of Vadnagar, Mehsana district, then part of Bombay State (now in Gujarat). He was the third child among six siblings in the family of Damodardas Mulchand Modi and Hiraben Modi.

Childhood Controversies and Education

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Modi’s childhood was spent assisting his father at their tea stall on Vadnagar’s railway platform, although this aspect of his life has been met with skepticism and varying accounts from locals and family members. Despite the familial assertion of their livelihood being tied to the tea business, Narendra Modi’s portrayal as a ‘chai wala’ has been contested. Completing his higher secondary education in 1967 in Vadnagar, Modi was remembered as an average student but an enthusiastic debater and actor, often portraying significant characters in school plays, which influenced his later public persona.

Early Political Inclinations and RSS Involvement

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

From a young age, Modi was introduced to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), where he formed connections that would influence his political trajectory. Notably, his association with the RSS from the age of eight under the mentorship of Lakshmanrao Inamdar marked the beginning of his political career. Modi’s involvement with the National Cadet Corps during his teenage years further cemented his commitment to nationalist activities. While growing up he has huge impact from the learnings of Veer Savarkar.

Marriage and Personal Journey

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Following customary traditions, Modi’s marriage to Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi was arranged, culminating when they were teenagers. However, shortly after the marriage, Modi departed from familial life, pursuing a journey that he seldom discussed publicly until the revelations made before the 2014 national elections. His departure marked the start of an ascetic period, significantly influencing his personal and political life.

Ascetic Wanderings and Educational Pursuits

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Modi’s years of travel across northern and northeastern India were significant, bringing him into contact with Hindu monastic traditions inspired by Swami Vivekananda. Despite facing rejections from several ashrams due to his lack of formal education, these experiences deeply impacted his philosophical outlook. Modi’s eventual return to Gujarat led to a renewed connection with RSS mentor Inamdar and a deeper dive into political life. His educational journey culminated with obtaining a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in political science, although the authenticity of these qualifications has been disputed.

Political Awakening and RSS Commitment

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In the early stages of his adult life, Modi became actively involved in political activism, participating in the Jana Sangh’s movements and facing arrest during a protest in New Delhi. These events, particularly surrounding the Bangladesh Liberation War, solidified his role within the RSS and marked the beginning of his full-time commitment to the organization, setting the stage for his eventual rise in Indian politics.

Foray into Politics

The Emergency and Modi’s Role

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In June 1975, India saw a dramatic shift when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi instituted a national emergency that persisted until 1977, a period now referred to as “the Emergency.” This era was marked by the suppression of political dissent, with the incarceration of numerous opposition figures and the prohibition of opposition parties.

Narendra Modi, during this tumultuous time, was designated as the general secretary of the “Gujarat Lok Sangharsh Samiti,” a body established by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) to counteract the Emergency in Gujarat.

However, the political climate intensified as the RSS faced a ban, prompting Modi to adopt a clandestine lifestyle to eschew capture. He donned various disguises, including those of a monk and a Sikh, to remain incognito while he actively disseminated anti-government pamphlets, spearheaded protests, and established a clandestine support network for political fugitives and activists.

Amidst these endeavors, Modi penned a book in Gujarati titled ‘Sangharsh Ma Gujarat’ detailing the Emergency’s adversities in Gujarat. His underground activism also led him to encounters with prominent figures like trade unionist George Fernandes.

Transition to RSS and BJP Leadership

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Following the Emergency, in 1978, Modi transitioned into a significant role within the RSS as a ‘sambhag pracharak’ (regional organiser), tasked with supervising activities in regions like Surat and Vadodara. By 1979, he advanced his career in Delhi, engaging in research and documenting the RSS’s experiences during the Emergency.

After a tenure in Delhi, Modi returned to Gujarat, and in 1985, the RSS appointed him to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), marking the onset of his political ascent within mainstream politics.

In 1987, Modi was instrumental in the BJP’s success in the Ahmedabad municipal elections, showcasing his strategic acumen. This victory, coupled with his effective organizational skills, led to his inclusion in the BJP’s leadership circle, initially as the organising secretary for Gujarat.

His influence within the party continued to grow, evidenced by his contributions to the National Election Committee and key roles in significant political campaigns like Advani’s Ram Rath Yatra and Joshi’s Ekta Yatra.

Political Strategies and Ascendancy

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The early 1990s were a period of transition for Modi, who momentarily stepped away from the political frontlines to found a school in Ahmedabad. However, internal party dynamics and the insistence of senior leaders like Advani saw his return to active politics.

His strategic insights were pivotal in the BJP’s triumph in the 1995 Gujarat state assembly elections, leading to his appointment as BJP national secretary and his subsequent move to New Delhi.

Modi’s strategic prowess was once again on display during the 1998 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections. Amidst internal factionalism, his support for candidates aligned with Keshubhai Patel played a decisive role in consolidating the party’s position and securing a majority.

This success not only quelled internal divisions but also cemented Modi’s status within the party, culminating in his promotion to BJP general secretary (organization) in May 1998.

Early Political Maneuvering

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Modi’s early involvement in politics was marked by his association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a right-wing, Hindu-nationalist organization. His dedication and organizational skills quickly set him apart.

As a young ‘sambhag pracharak’, Modi honed his political acumen, managing activities in regions like Surat and Vadodara. This early exposure to grassroots mobilization laid the foundation for his political journey.

The BJP Tenure: Rising Through the Ranks

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

In the mid-1980s, Modi’s transition to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) marked a significant shift from an organizer to a political strategist. His role in the BJP’s electoral victory in the Ahmedabad municipal elections in 1987 demonstrated his strategic planning and execution capabilities.

His ability to synergize ground-level activities with overarching political objectives quickly made him an indispensable asset to the party.

Crafting a Winning Strategy

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

The true testament to Modi’s strategic acumen came with the BJP’s triumph in the 1995 Gujarat state assembly elections. As a party secretary, Modi’s innovative electoral strategies were central to the campaign’s success.

His approach was not just about securing votes but about creating a narrative that resonated with the electorate, emphasizing development and governance.

National Ambitions and Leadership Roles

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Modi’s national political journey gained momentum with his significant involvement in high-profile campaigns, such as L.K. Advani’s Ram Rath Yatra and Murli Manohar Joshi’s Ekta Yatra.

These campaigns not only bolstered his stature within the BJP but also widened his appeal among the party’s base and beyond.

The BJP’s decision to entrust Modi with key organizational roles, culminating in his appointment as the national secretary, was a clear nod to his growing influence and strategic importance.

His tenure in New Delhi, overseeing party activities in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, further broadened his political horizons and understanding of national politics.

Overcoming Internal Challenges and Consolidation of Power

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

One of Modi’s most notable political challenges came from within the BJP, marked by factionalism and dissent. However, his strategic foresight during the selection process for the 1998 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections showcased his ability to navigate internal party dynamics effectively.

By aligning with the factions supportive of Keshubhai Patel, Modi not only mitigated division within the party but also ensured a cohesive and focused election campaign, leading to a decisive victory.

Narendra Modi’s Tenure as Gujarat Chief Minister

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Narendra Modi’s reign as the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014 stands as one of the most notable periods in the state’s history. His tenure, marked by significant development initiatives, has been a subject of intense discussion and analysis due to its blend of high economic growth rates and controversial episodes.

Economic Growth and Industrial Development

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Under Narendra Modi’s leadership, Gujarat witnessed substantial economic growth and industrial development. Initiatives like the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors’ Summit became a hallmark of Modi’s tenure, attracting investments from around the globe and positioning Gujarat as an industrial hub.

The state saw significant advancements in sectors such as energy, agriculture, and manufacturing, contributing to its reputation as one of India’s most economically prosperous regions.

Infrastructure Expansion and Urbanization

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Modi’s tenure saw a focus on enhancing Gujarat’s infrastructure. Projects like the development of the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT) and the expansion of road networks improved connectivity and supported urbanization efforts.

His government’s push for the modernization of ports and the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) further bolstered Gujarat’s infrastructure and economic landscape.

Social Sector Initiatives

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

The Gujarat government under Modi initiated several social sector reforms aimed at improving health, education, and women’s empowerment. Campaigns such as the Beti Bachao (Save the Daughter) program and the Kanya Kelavani (Girl Education) initiative were launched to improve gender ratios and literacy rates.

Despite these efforts, the state faced criticism for lagging in human development indicators compared to its economic achievements.

Environmental and Agricultural Policies

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Modi’s tenure also highlighted a focus on environmental and agricultural policies. The Jyotirgram Yojana aimed at providing uninterrupted power supply to rural areas, thereby supporting agricultural activities.

However, environmentalists have raised concerns over the ecological impact of some industrial and infrastructural projects initiated during his tenure.

Administrative Reforms and Governance

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Narendra Modi’s approach to governance was characterized by efforts to introduce e-governance initiatives and reduce bureaucratic red tape. His administration was noted for its attempts to create a more business-friendly environment and streamline governmental processes through digitalization and administrative reforms.

Controversies and Criticisms

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Despite the achievements, Modi’s tenure as Chief Minister was marred by significant controversies, the most notable being the 2002 Gujarat riots. The communal violence that ensued has been a subject of intense scrutiny and debate, with Modi facing criticism over his government’s handling of the situation.

Though he was later cleared by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), the episode remains a contentious part of his political legacy.

Challenges and Problems Faced

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Throughout his tenure, Modi encountered various challenges, including managing communal harmony and addressing the state’s water scarcity issues.

The balancing act between industrial growth and environmental sustainability also posed significant challenges, as did addressing the social sector gaps in a rapidly developing state.

Legacy and Transition to National Politics

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Modi’s tenure as Gujarat’s Chief Minister set the stage for his rise to national prominence. His governance model, often referred to as the ‘Gujarat Model’, was a key component of his campaign during the 2014 national elections.

While his supporters hail the model for its focus on development and efficiency, critics argue that it overlooks important social and environmental considerations.

Prime Ministerial Tenure and Achievements 

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Assuming office in 2014, Narendra Modi introduced a plethora of policies aimed at revitalizing the Indian economy and enhancing its global stature. Initiatives like ‘Make in India,’ ‘Digital India,’ and ‘Swachh Bharat’ have been pivotal in driving economic reforms, promoting digitalization, and improving sanitation standards, respectively.

His government has also emphasized foreign diplomacy, strengthening India’s relationships with countries across the globe.

Under Modi’s leadership, India has witnessed significant improvements in infrastructure, healthcare, and education. His approach to governance, characterized by decisiveness and a focus on development, has garnered both national and international recognition.

Narendra Modi’s tenure as the Prime Minister of India from 2014 to 2024 has been marked by significant achievements, notable challenges, and various controversies.

His leadership has seen a blend of transformative policies and contentious decisions that have shaped the country’s domestic and international landscape. This article delves into the key facets of Modi’s decade-long prime ministership.

Economic Reforms and Development

Demonetization and GST

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Modi’s tenure saw bold economic initiatives, notably the demonetization of high-value currency notes in 2016 aimed at curbing black money and promoting digital transactions. Despite mixed reactions, it marked a significant shift in India’s economic policy.

The implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) streamlined the tax system, enhancing ease of doing business but also facing initial teething problems.

Make in India and Digital India

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

The ‘Make in India’ campaign, launched to boost manufacturing and attract foreign investment, alongside ‘Digital India’, aimed at enhancing digital infrastructure, have been pivotal in Modi’s economic strategy, contributing to growth and technological advancement.

Social Reforms and Initiatives

Swachh Bharat and Ayushman Bharat

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

The Swachh Bharat Mission, aimed at promoting cleanliness and sanitation, significantly impacted public health and hygiene. Ayushman Bharat, the national health protection scheme, aimed to provide accessible healthcare, marking a substantial step towards universal health coverage.

Education and Women’s Empowerment

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Reforms in education through initiatives like the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, and efforts towards women’s empowerment, such as Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao, have been central to Modi’s social agenda.

Foreign Policy and Defense

Neighbourhood First and Global Diplomacy

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Modi’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy aimed at strengthening ties with South Asian countries, while his active global diplomacy enhanced India’s stature on the world stage. Notable defense initiatives, including the Rafael deal and the push for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ in defense production, have aimed at bolstering national security.

Handling of Cross-Border Terrorism

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

The surgical strikes in 2016 and the Balakot airstrike in 2019 were significant responses to cross-border terrorism, showcasing a firm stance against external threats and altering the narrative around India’s defense strategy.

Environmental Policies

Renewable Energy and Sustainability

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Modi’s government has emphasized renewable energy, setting ambitious targets for solar and wind energy. Initiatives like the International Solar Alliance highlight India’s commitment to sustainable development and climate change mitigation.

Challenges and Problems Faced

Economic Slowdown and Unemployment

Modi’s tenure witnessed periods of economic slowdown and rising unemployment, issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, posing significant challenges to his economic reforms and development goals.

COVID-19 Pandemic Response

The management of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the nationwide lockdown and vaccination drive, has been a critical challenge, receiving both praise for effective measures and criticism for certain aspects of the response.

Controversies and Criticisms

Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and National Register of Citizens (NRC)

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

The introduction of the CAA and discussions around the NRC sparked widespread protests and concerns regarding secularism and human rights, becoming one of the most contentious issues of Modi’s tenure.

Article 370 and Jammu & Kashmir

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

The abrogation of Article 370, revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, was a historic decision that led to significant political and social upheaval, highlighting the divisive nature of Modi’s policy decisions.

Centralization of Power and Media Freedom

Critics have accused Modi’s government of centralizing power and undermining democratic institutions and media freedom, raising concerns about the health of India’s democratic fabric.

Policies and Impact of Narendra Modi

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Narendra Modi’s policies have been geared towards inclusive growth and sustainable development. The introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) marked a major tax reform, aiming to unify the country’s fragmented tax system and boost economic efficiency. Additionally, his emphasis on renewable energy sources has underscored India’s commitment to combating climate change.

Challenges and Controversies involving Narendra Modi

Know Narendra Modi: Pioneering Change of Leadership in India - The Hard News Daily

Despite his achievements, Modi’s tenure has not been without controversy. His administration has faced criticism over issues such as the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, economic disparities, and social unrest. These challenges underscore the complexities of governing a diverse and populous nation like India.

Conclusion 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership has indelibly shaped the trajectory of India’s development and international relations. As he navigates through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, his policies and decisions will continue to influence the nation’s path towards progress and prosperity.

References :
  1. https://edition.cnn.com/2015/01/19/world/narendra-modi-fast-facts/index.html
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi
  3. https://www.narendramodi.in/
  4. https://www.pmindia.gov.in/en/pms-profile/
  5. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Narendra-Modi
  6. https://web.archive.org/web/20200808041721/https://www.ndtv.com/elections-news/narendra-modis-political-journey-from-rss-worker-to-bjps-pm-candidate-534530
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20210115073300/https://www.deccanherald.com/national/pm-modi-turns-69-a-timeline-of-his-political-career-761937.html
  8. https://www.indiatoday.in/magazine/cover-story/story/20141208-rss-sangh-nda-bjp-l-k-advani-narendra-modi-cover-story-806098-2014-11-27
  9. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/270671263
  10. https://books.google.com/books?id=N7USEAAAQBAJ

 

Books to read :
  1. MODI@20: Dreams Meet Delivery Hardcover
  2. Modi’S India: Hindu Nationalism And The Rise Of Ethnic Democracy
  3. Modi, Muslims and Media: Voices from Narendra Modi’s Gujarat
  4. Narendra Modi: A political Biography
  5. Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times
  6. Modi – A Great Leader
  7. Modi: Shaping a Global Order in Flux, Foreword by Dr S Jaishankar
  8. Modi Magic: The Nudge Theory, India, Pakistan, China and More
  9. NARENDRA MODI: CREATIVE DISRUPTOR -: The Maker of New India
  10. Messiah Modi: A Tale of Great Expectations
  11. From Chanakya To Modi

 

 

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