Advertisement
Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
excerpt

From Hermitude To Holography

This excerpt from a forthcoming ‘authorised-turned-unauthorised’ biography of the BJP’s man of the season, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi

From Hermitude To Holography
Apoorva Salkade
From Hermitude To Holography
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

If there is any phase of Narendra Modi’s life about which there are no definitive accounts, it is from teenage to adulthood.  Existing literature on Modi’s life that has been endorsed or authorised by him is full of glaring contradictions; personal accounts of childhood friends, teachers, immediate kin and acquaintances contain different stories. The years from 1967 to 1971 in  Modi’s life are somewhat “mysterious”, and despite my pointed questions, he chose not to shed any light on it—save one, a confirmation that the out point in his life had been 1967 and the return point was in 1971. Modi told me: “A lot of people ask me, but I do not want to say anything about that period because at some point in my life I would like to write about this period—what I did, where all did I go.... But it started in 1967 and there were variations about the periods when I was away (from home)—at times I was away for about 15 months, then I stayed away for six months and then even lesser—and I came back. I kept coming and going....”

Modi told me that he continued with an annual ritual that he termed “meet myself programme”. When I asked him what he meant by this, he said that he spent time only with himself and went away to remote places without informing anyone about his whereabouts. “I used to go away during Diwali. When people celebrated, I would be somewhere away in a remote place, far away from any person—all by myself. I went alone, and only went to places where I would not find another human being—places like a jungle or some barren or abandoned place. I carried only a little to eat—some snacks to last for three to five days—I just chose a place where I could get water to drink. I carried only a little food—only the bare necessities—so that I did not feel that I had not eaten anything.” I asked Modi about the kind of places he used for his getaways: “Any kind—completely unknown places that I did not know. I never decided my address and did not tell anyone where I was going.” Naturally, I was curious because this was a potential headline-making story: ‘Modi disappears, aides clueless, but assure supporters of his safety’.  I asked him when was the last time he went to meet himself and where was the venue? “That was in 1995-96, I was still in Gujarat (meaning that he had not yet been shunted out from the state unit of the BJP.) I went to the Gir forest and stayed where there were no humans. I went around and found an old temple where I could sleep, where no one could disturb me. No one came.” Perplexing though, it was getting interesting and I could not resist myself. What did he do? “I did nothing. That is what I did—nothing. Just think.” And then came my final question—what about now? “Now it is not in my destiny (naseeb nahi raha.) I do not know why people debate loneliness so much­—I actually enjoy loneliness. People debate outside a lot—that Modi is a loner—I am not a loner in any way. But yes, I do not enjoy too much of a crowd.”

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Meet Parag Agrawal: The New Indian Origin CEO Of Twitter

Meet Parag Agrawal: The New Indian Origin CEO Of Twitter

The incoming CEO is an IIT Bombay graduate who joined Twitter a decade back after having worked at Microsoft, Yahoo and AT&T in research positions.

Omicron: WHO Warns World Should Be Wide Awake

Omicron: WHO Warns World Should Be Wide Awake

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the emergence of the highly mutated omicron variant underlines just how perilous and precarious our situation is.

Omicron Scare Looms Over IND Tour Of SA, BCCI Awaits Govt Nod

Omicron Scare Looms Over IND Tour Of SA, BCCI Awaits Govt Nod

Several sporting events have been cancelled due to the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron. India are scheduled to tour South Africa for a full series.

How New Covid-19 Variant Is Impacting Travel Across States In India

How New Covid-19 Variant Is Impacting Travel Across States In India

India has issued fresh travel restrictions for international travellers coming from 'at risk' nations in the wake of the Omicron outbreak across several countries in the world.

Advertisement