Prime Minister Narendra Modi often highlighted his mother Hiraba’s influence in shaping his life as he rose from a humble tea seller to become India’s prime minister. When Hiraba entered the 100th year of her life on June 18 this year, Modi had penned an emotional and deeply-felt tribute in what is probably his most detailed impression of his mother in the public realm.
In the blog, he had highlighted her sacrifices and various aspects of her life which ‘shaped’ his mind, personality and self-confidence.
Modi said a life lesson his mother taught him was that it was possible to be learned without being formally educated.
‘My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary. Just like all mothers,’ he had said in his blog.
He said his mother always inspired him to have a strong resolve and focus on ‘garib kalyan‘ (welfare of the poor), a theme of his government’s numerous welfare schemes.
When he went to take her blessings, he was set to take oath as Gujarat chief minister in 2001, she told him, ‘I don’t know why you work in government but I just want you to never take a bribe.’
Modi said once he wanted to publicly honour all his teachers, including his biggest teacher his mother.
However, his mother declined, saying she was an ordinary person. ‘I may have given birth to you but you have been taught and brought up by the almighty,’ Modi recalled her as saying.
He said though his mother did not attend the event, she made sure that he invited someone from the family of Jethabhai Joshi, his local teacher who taught him the alphabet.
‘Her thought process and far-sighted thinking have always surprised me,’ Modi said.
Describing his mother as ‘a symbol of resilience’, he recalled the hardships she faced during her childhood after losing her mother at a very young age.
She does not even remember her mother’s face or the comfort of her lap as she spent her entire childhood without her, Modi added.
The prime minister recalled that his family stayed in a small mud house in Vadnagar with clay tiles for a roof.
He also mentioned the innumerable every day adversities that his mother encountered and successfully overcame.
During the rains, the roof of the house would leak and the house would flood. Mother would place buckets and utensils below the leaks to collect the rainwater. Even in this adverse situation, mother would be a symbol of resilience, he said.
He said his mother not only did all the household chores by herself but also worked to supplement the meagre household income.
She used to wash utensils at a few houses and take out the time to spin the ‘charkha’ to help meet the household expenses, Modi added
The prime minister said his mother also had deep respect for those engaged in cleaning and sanitation work. Cleanliness was something that she was always extremely particular about, he said
Whenever someone would come to clean the drain adjacent to their house in Vadnagar, he said, his mother would not let them go without having tea.
Modi said his mother found happiness in other people’s joys and was extremely large-hearted.
He recalled that his father brought home his close friend’s son, Abbas, after his untimely death. ‘He stayed with us and completed his studies. Mother was as affectionate and caring towards Abbas just like she did for all of us siblings,’ Modi said.
‘In my mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice, and contribution of 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,’ Modi had said.