Nowadays, I am reading various posts related to our Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his estranged wife Jashodaben. I’m wondering when this is going to end and how. Mr. Modi is well known for many things: he is a devout Hindu, an avid nationalist, a vegetarian, the leader of the right-wing political party Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). His development in Gujarat under his 13-year stewardship as a chief minister is the talk of the world. These are many things that are quite known in public domain. However, there are many questions and ambiguities surrounding this man. He connects to whole world through technology. He gives everyone a sense of belonging, but conveniently accepted and refused his marital status time and again. Earlier, on a talk show with Rajat Sharma’s Aap Ki Adalat, he accepted that he is an eligible bachelor. He was asked, have you ever regretted for not getting married? Actually Rajat should have asked him, have you ever regretted deserting your wife? Then the right reply from Modi would have been expected. There were chances when he blatantly refused to accept that he had ever married. (Ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfSb0Fo1Xig )
There were many publications which reported late last year that Modi is indeed married, but has not spoken to his wife in more than 45 years and that he essentially abandoned her decades ago. However Jashodaben Modi, who married her husband when both were teenagers in an arranged marriage, said she remains devoted to him. The 63-year-old retired schoolteacher attends her husband’s rallies and prays for his electoral triumphs. She goes to Modi’s speeches to see him, but she never tells anyone. She doesn’t tell anyone who she is. They have not spoken since he left. She is a very religious woman. She likes simplicity and modesty. According to Jashodaben’s relatives, Modi left her when they were both 18 years old in the late 1960s so that he could pursue his political career. Reportedly, Modi refused to accomplish his marriage and furiously left his native village of Vadnagar after an argument with his in-laws. He soon joined Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
A noted magazine, GlobalPost wrote that the RSS forbade its top members from marrying, lest the duties and responsibilities of matrimony interfere with their political goals (although, this assertion has been vociferously denied by RSS/BJP supporters). Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, who wrote a biography of Narendra Modi, also explained that as a young political activist, Modi was a propagandist “who lived and worked for the RSS full time. If he had admitted the marriage, he would have lost his position.” Consequently, after their ‘separation,’ Jashodaben devoted herself to teaching in a small village, Rajosana in Banaskantha district, and retired in 2010, having never re-married. But Modi has long denied that he even had a wife; and his supporters assert that since he never consummated the marriage, then technically he is “unmarried” and “single.” For her part, Jashodaben has largely shunned publicity and given more importance to her privacy. She reportedly receives a monthly government teacher’s pension of Rs. 14,000 ($229) and lives with her brother and spends her days in prayer.
In 2002, following the Gujarat riots, an Indian journalist named Darshan Desai went to meet Jashodaben in her village, prompting Modi to threaten him. Agence France Presse reported that Jashodaben refused to give an interview to a magazine, The Open that had tracked her down in 2009, only citing that she feared her “powerful” husband. Modi has long promoted the idea that he is a “single man” and that his lack of family ties makes him a more effective politician. Another biography of Modi, written by Kingshuk Nag and entitled “The NaMo Story” quoted his subject as bragging: “I am an honest man, vote for me. I cannot be dishonest. I don’t have [a] family to look after.” Nag stated that people in India believe politicians become corrupt because “they are under pressure from their wife or their mother or their brother or sister,” something that Modi often alludes to in his public speeches.
However, unlike in the west, Nag added, a prominent Hindu male politician without a wife and/or family does not raise suspicions among the Indian public. Indeed, among his supporters, Modi is hugely popular and even treated as something like a demigod. “He is trying to create this image as a sort of superman,” Nag wrote in his book. “He wants people to think of him as the Kalki [an incarnation of Hindu god Vishnu] avatar, and he will deliver the country from the Italian lady,” referring to Sonia Gandhi, the leader of Congress Party. In addition, Modi’s “single” status apparently makes him extremely attractive to many Indian women, who are among his most fanatical supporters. Bollywood film actress Mallika Sherawat has even praised Modi as “the perfect bachelor.”
To read Part 2 click here… Jashodaben: PM Narendra Modi’s estranged wife – Part 2