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Of bandhgalas and kurtas

Photographs from the book Being Modi

Photographs from the book Being Modi   | Photo Credit: 10dmcModiPhotos

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A new book about the lesser known details of the Prime Minister’s life makes for interesting reading

After the famed Nehru jackets it is now time for Modi kurtas. It seems Narendra Modi has shown that he is not just about administration and is becoming a fashion icon for the youth. “Being Modi”, a coffee table book by Paavani Sinha and Nikita Parmar, tries to present through pictures the not-so-well-known shades of Modi. Clearly, a lot has been written about his political alignments, his associations and his model of development. Some eulogise, some others criticise it, but almost all seem interested in knowing more and more about what is lesser known. That is about the man himself.

The 143-page book published by Vitasta offers you just that, with the help of some rare anecdotes and pictures from the life of the Prime Minister.

Nikita, a 25-year-old Delhi-based advocate, says, “It took us over a year to complete the research work for this book. We met a lot of people who have been close to Modi until we finally managed to sit down with the Prime Minister himself.” For those who wonder about Modi’s childhood dream, whether he wanted to become a doctor or an engineer, the book puts this one straight. “Do not think of becoming something, think of doing something,” is Modi’s reply.

So, with no set dream he at one point of time left his home to live in Belur Math in West Bengal to seek salvation. At that time Modi was a 16-year-old. He met a saint and was told he should grow a beard and that he is up for some other life and not for the life of an ascetic.

“Since then, Modi has always kept a beard,” says Nikita. From there he went on to work in his uncle’s canteen. He was the cashier-cum-cleaner and it was there that he met Ambalal Koshti, general secretary of the Jan Sangh. Later he offered Modi the position he himself held in the Sangh. That was the start of his political career. And then, there was no looking back.

The book then touches upon his eating habits, his hobbies and his love for animals. “Although not a foodie, Modi is adept at cooking various Gujarati dishes. His childhood meals were not lavish and he loved bajari no rotlo with cha. For the everyday meals he prefers to take khichdi with kadhi or milk. In fact he even taught his sister-in-law how to cook sabudana khichdi.”

His love for swimming is dwelt upon too. As a kid Modi used to swim across the Sharmishtha Lake daily.

The much circulated story of his carrying home a baby crocodile which seemed to him unwell is included.

Even today he has dogs, peacocks and ducks, etc. at his residence, the book tells us.

The book does well to stay largely apolitical and more focussed on the daily life of the Prime Minister.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 1:31:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/of-bandhgalas-and-kurtas/article6578508.ece

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