In the dynamic arena of global politics, certain leaders emerge as true phenomena, leaving an indelible mark on the course of history. One such leader is Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India. His tenure at the helm of the world’s largest democracy has been marked by exceptional character qualities, visionary foresight, and the courage to undertake high-stake decisions that have not only transformed India but also garnered international acclaim. In a country where the individual popularity of the leaders at the helm dips within five years of their governance style, Modi’s charisma has been only rising despite his two full tenures at the helm in India. An ever-growing public curiosity demands an analysis of this phenomenon called Narendra Modi.
How the Sapling of Greatness grew up
Unlike the Indian politicians who are born with silver spoons in their mouths in the affluent cradle of India’s branded politics, Narendra Modi was born in a small house in the bye lanes of Vadnagar in Gujarat on 17 September 1950. He grew up imbibing the virtues of great character from his mother and inspiring stories of great men and women from his teachers and saints. His formative years taught him tough lessons as he had to balance out his schooling and playtime to spare time to work at the family-owned Tea Stall as the family struggled to make ends meet. Contemplative and observant that he was, Narendra grew up imbibing the virtues of self-discipline, hard work and honesty. Bowing in deference to the parental diktats married early at the age of 18 to 16-year-old Jashodaben in 1968.
Family’s meagre means never deterred his thirst for knowledge and his dreams of a brighter future – not so much for self and family, but for society and the Nation. He had travelled widely through the length and breadth of India even before he was 20. He was greatly influenced by the socio-cultural teachings of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) which triggered a patriotic fervor in him. He expressed his desire to relinquish his family life and dedicate his life to the nation to his wife. Understanding his pious mission, Young Jashodaben instantly agreed and vowed to dedicate her own life to learning and teaching as well. Narendra may not have fully understood how he would lead India to his cherished greatness, yet the young man barely out of his teens embarked on his great mission to build the ‘Bharat’ of his dreams! That sets him apart as a man of resolute determination!
The Rising of a Charisma
At the core of PM Modi’s leadership lies a set of extraordinary character qualities that have set him apart on the global stage. Foremost among these is his unimpeachable honesty, which has resonated with people across India and beyond. His integrity, evident in his selfless dedication to public service, has restored the deteriorating faith of the Indian masses in political leadership. Repeated allegations cast by his opponents accusing him of favoring India’s business tycoon, Adani have not stuck on Modi’s immaculate personal character. The Supreme Court found no substance in Rahul Gandhi’s blatant accusations about the Rafale deal with France either.
Patriotism is a cornerstone of Modi’s character, a sentiment that permeates his every decision. His love for the nation is palpable, inspiring and invigorating for the youth all over the country. They see him working tirelessly day and night towards its progress and prosperity. Not only he has never taken leave throughout his two full tenures as Prime Minister, but seems to have some divine protection for keeping himself in good health and infinite stamina. His passion for accomplishment has not only made him a role model for the citizens of India but also garnered admiration worldwide.
Frugality is another remarkable trait of Modi’s personal life. His modest lifestyle, marked by simplicity and austerity, serves as a stark contrast to the opulence often associated with political leadership. This frugality has endeared him to the masses and reinforced his image as a leader truly committed to the welfare of his country.
His handling of the 2002 Gujarat riots and subsequent efforts to rebuild the State showcased his ability to lead in the face of adversity. His resolve to pursue justice while fostering reconciliation reflected a balanced approach to governance that aimed to heal wounds and rebuild trust. This approach endeared him to the people of Gujarat cutting across castes and communities.
Simplicity and humility are the other virtues that can be perceived in his interaction with people – high and low. While he bent and put his forehead on the footsteps of Parliament House in reverence, he would not hesitate to bend and pick up India’s national flag tag placed on the ground at a function like the BRICS summit. In appreciation of their services in the Kumbh Mela in 2019 and the ‘Swachch Bharat’ campaign, PM Modi touched millions of hearts when he washed the feet of the sanitary staff and called it an honour to himself. This rare sense of humility has endeared him to the rich and poor across India and the world. Even before Narendra Modi was sworn in as PM, his awesome charisma had spread far and wide not only in India but the world as well.
Vision and Foresight
One of the hallmarks of PM Narendra Modi’s leadership is his visionary foresight. He possesses an uncanny ability to anticipate and address the evolving needs of his nation. This farsightedness is particularly evident in his ambitious yet achievable initiatives, such as the ‘Make in India’ initiative, which seeks to bolster domestic manufacturing and promote economic self-sufficiency. Likewise, he has not hesitated to undertake many high stake decisions fraught with high stakes like the scrapping of Article 370 that set Jammu and Kashmir in a special category over the rest of the States in the Union of India. Cross-border surgical strikes and Balakot air strikes against terrorist camps inside Pakistan were unprecedented bold actions ever taken by India during a no-war scenario. Freeing Muslim women from ‘Triple Talaq’, Enactment of GST, Demonetisation, Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan, Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) to facilitate the grant of citizenship to those migrant Sikhs, Hindus, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians who were persecuted and forced out of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh were some of the very bold initiatives taken by the Modi Government.
With a GDP of $1.86 trillion, India’s global rating was 9 during 2013-14. Spurred largely by PM Modi’s visionary initiatives, India has already attained 5th rank and is likely to be the world’s 3rd largest economy at $5 trillion by 2027-28 as per IMF estimates.
The resounding success of Chandrayaan-3 and the subsequent launch of Aditya L1 – both designed and developed by Indian scientists in recent years owing to the PM’s interest and encouragement given to the ISRO scientists. It has showcased India’s technological prowess and capacity to match the very best on the global stage. This achievement not only bolstered India’s standing in the realm of space exploration but also inspired a new generation of scientists and innovators.
Modi’s grasp of geopolitics and his capacity to share and discuss matters of strategic importance with leaders across the world have won him great respect and acclaim across the world. He has shown great skills to navigate complex web of international relations with acumen and poise earning him respect and admiration from leaders around the world. His strategic alliances and partnerships have elevated India’s global standing, reinforcing its role as a key player in international affairs.
Hosting the G20 summit in Bharat Mandapam from 9 to 10 September 2023, the Prime Minister gave a call for ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future’ (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam) which was well received by all member countries. He also created history by welcoming the African Group as a permanent member of the forum. Thanks to Modi’s sagacity, the meticulous conduct of the high-profile summit and achieving a consensus on the joint declaration of the summit was hailed as a great success.
Not only has India’s image risen high in the modern world, but more and more countries are queuing up to sign treaties and agreements with India even though there shall always remain some aberrations in international relations. Canadian PM Justin Trudeau’s recent anti-India statement will no doubt hurt mutual relations between the two countries. However, Canadian investment into India has been minuscule – only 0.5 per cent of the total FDI inflows into India in the past two decades leading up to 2023.
Explaining India’s position on the Russia-Ukraine war while on his way to the US on a State visit, Prime Minister Modi said ‘Some people say that we are neutral. But we are not neutral. We are on the side of Peace. All countries should respect international law and the sovereignty of countries. Disputes should be resolved with ‘diplomacy and dialogue, not war.” India is thus emerging in the geopolitical arena of the world as a Power of Peace under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Modi.
Courage of Conviction
Perhaps one of Modi’s most defining characteristics is his unyielding courage of conviction. He has repeatedly demonstrated an unparalleled willingness to make bold and high-risk decisions, often in the face of vehement opposition. Although not so much in the open, such opposition to his radical decisions has been often sounded within the BJP too, but it soon settles down when positive outcomes of such policies and decisions become evident. Demonitisation, scrapping of Art 370, Teen Talaq and the cross-border raids on terrorist camps in Pakistan are some of such radical decisions that finally justified his resolve and conviction. Distracting noise over Jammu and Kashmir in some quarters notwithstanding, the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir stands as an eloquent testament to his tenacity to uphold the unity and integrity of India.
The surgical strikes across the border and the Balakot air strike inside Pakistan serve as stark examples of Modi’s resolute commitment to safeguarding India’s security interests. These actions underscore his willingness to take decisive steps in the face of adversity, sending a clear message that India will not hesitate to defend itself when necessary.
Prime Minister Modi’s unplanned surprise stopover at Lahore while on his way to New Delhi from Kabul in December 2015 to wish “Happy Birthday to Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif” was another diplomatic masterstroke in conveying India’s sincerity to turn enmity into amity. But as always in the past, Pakistan again proved unworthy of India’s sincerity and desire for mutual harmony, peace and prosperity. Within months of this bonhomie, a gang of ISI-patronised Jaishe-e-Mohammad struck at Uri camp in Kashmir killing 19 Indian soldiers! But this time India would deliver a befitting retribution. The Indian Army launched swift and severe surgical strikes killing many terrorists and destroying launch pads across the LoC.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charismatic leadership raises him to the level of phenomenon in every respect. His character qualities of honesty, integrity, patriotism, humility, simplicity and frugality serve as a bedrock for his visionary policies and bold decisive actions. His life journey is a testimony to the transformative power of perseverance, integrity, and an unwavering commitment to one’s ideals. From his humble beginnings in Vadnagar to his successful tenure as India’s Prime Minister Modi’s trajectory is marked by a rare blend of personal sacrifice, an indomitable spirit, and passion for his country. These qualities, coupled with his visionary leadership and resolute decision-making, have catapulted him into the global limelight, earning him a place as a remarkable phenomenon in the realm of global leadership. As India continues its ascent on the world stage, the legacy of Narendra Modi is destined to leave an indelible mark on the nation’s history and the world’s perception of India’s potential.