Marriage of Narendra Modi and Jashodaben Chimanlal
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The marriage of Narendra Modi and Jashodaben Chimanlal was revealed in the Indian general election, 2014 when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi completed offical documents to contest in the election. Previously for almost 50 years Modi had said that he was single, but shortly after completing these forms, Modi's brother explained that it was a child marriage. Jashodaben has said that she still has feelings for Modi and appreciated him publicly recognizing her as his wife. They have not had contact for some years.
Critics of Modi complained of problems associated with Modi keeping his marriage a secret. Other commentators with various perspectives have discussed aspects of the marriage.
Modi reveals the marriage
In the Indian general election, 2014, Modi contested the Vadodara seat of the Parliament of India. Under the Representation of the People Act, Modi was asked to declare any previous marriage, and during this statement for the first time in public and media Modi acknowledged that he had a wife. This was confusing to some because previously, Modi had often said that it was not possible for him to participate in corruption in India because he had no family.
Sombhai Modi, Modi's brother, issued a statement saying that marriage was forced on Modi. He said that the marriage was never consummated and that Modi left it soon after it was solemnized. Furthermore, Modi left inspired by the teachings of Vivekananda to work for society.
Modi's political opponents criticized the way he completed official documents to contest the election. An Aam Aadmi Party member sought criminal charges against Modi or failing to reveal his wife previously. In summer 2014 Congress party politician Ajay Rai filed a lawsuit to be heard by the Allahabad High Court complaining, among other things, that Modi did not give the permanent account number of Jashodaben.
Narendra Modi and Jashodaben had an arranged marriage in the custom of the Ghanchi caste of Vadnagar. Around age three or four they were engaged. Around age thirteen they had shaadi, which is the wedding of marriages in India. When Modi was eighteen and his wife was fifteen, it was time for gauna, a consummation practice. Shortly after this time, Modi separated from his wife and began wandering in the Himalayas practicing Sannyasa for two years out of contact with anyone who knew him.
When he returned to contact with his family, he made plans to go to Ahmedabad to work at his uncle's canteen without Jashodaben. Before he left, his mother arranged for Jashodaben's parents to send her to meet Modi to sustain the gauna. The day that she arrived in the house of Modi's family, Modi had an argument with them and left their home to meet his uncle as planned. Over the three year period around the marriage Jashodaben estimates that she spent about three months with her husband. After Modi left, he continued with his professional life.
After her marriage Jashodaben resumed school. Two years later her father died. She continued her studies and received her Secondary School Certificate in 1972. She studied further to become a teacher at primary school, and from 1978-1990 taught in Banaskantha district. In 1991 she moved to the village Rajosana village and remains there. She is retired and her pension is Template:INRConvert per month.
In talking about her relationship with Modi, in one interview Jashodaben said "We have never been in touch... There has been no communication from his end to this day." In a later interview Jashodaben said that until 1987 she and Modi spoke "normally".
After Modi was elected to be Prime Minister of India Jashodaben said that she was not invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi, but had she been invited, she would have gone. She said that she still had emotions for Modi and was pleased that he acknowledged her as wife on his legal documents in contesting the election. She said that she plans to meet him again at the right time. Because India law requires that the Spouse of the Prime Minister of India receive police protection, from May 2014 police from the Mehsana district began providing continual police protection for Jashodaben.
Commentary on the marriage
The marriage between Jashodaben and Modi has started discussions and awareness about the relationships between men and women in India. Narendra Modi's sister has called Jashodaban a "true Indian woman". In rural India, Jashodaben is seen as the ideal Indian woman because she denies herself and remains devoted to her husband even after almost 50 years of separation.
The separation of Jashoben and Modi has been discussed in the context of a broader trend in India that politicians can get more respect if they do not have ties to a spouse. The RSS, which gives Modi political support, values celibacy in its senior leadership. Likewise, the powerful women leaders Mayawati, Jayalalitha, and Mamata Banerjee all are respected more in India for not having a spouse. Sonia Gandhi gained respect for not remarrying after the death of her husband, and would have lost respect in politics had she remarried. These cases give context to the motivation for the separation of Jashoben and Modi.
Tarun Gogoi, Chief Minister of Assam and a member of the Indian National Congress in opposition to Modi's BJP, nominated Jasoben for the Bharat Ratna award saying that "she is a symbol of great Indian womanhood and sacrifice". This nomination was a political attack on Modi as well as his attempt to describe the separation as a human rights issue.
One media source suggested that it was best to not discuss Jashodaben for her own well being.
- (interviewer's name not in English) (23 May 2014). "Exclusive : Narendra Modi's wife Jashodaben in conversation with Tv9". TV9 (Gujarati). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0sFj0G2GgG0. Retrieved 27 September 2014. "Tv9 Gujarati"
- Taylor, Adam (10 April 2014). "Why did Narendra Modi keep his wife secret for almost 50 years?". The Washington Post (Washington DC: WPC). ISSN 0190-8286. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/04/10/why-did-narendra-modi-keep-his-wife-secret-for-almost-50-years/. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Mahurkar, Uday (10 April 2014). "Revealed: Why Narendra Modi walked out of his marriage with Jashodaben". India Today. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/narendra-modi-marriage-jashodaben/1/354912.html. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Khan, Saeed (10 October 2014). "Defective affidavit: Ahmedabad court refuses to issue notice to Modi". indiatimes.com. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Defective-affidavit-Ahmedabad-court-refuses-to-issue-notice-to-Modi/articleshow/44775140.cms. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Khan, Saeed (15 October 2014). "Modi's defective affidavit issue reaches high court - The Times of India". indiatimes.com. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Modis-defective-affidavit-issue-reaches-high-court/articleshow/44828755.cms. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- staff writer (31 October 2014). "Allahabad HC gives 6 weeks' time to PM Narendra Modi to file statement on election petition". indiatimes.com. http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-10-31/news/55631299_1_prime-minister-narendra-modi-jashodaben-six-weeks. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Jose, Vinod K (1 March 2012). "The Emperor Uncrowned". The Caravan. http://www.caravanmagazine.in/reportage/emperor-uncrowned. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Ajay, Lakshmi (1 February 2014). "‘I like to read about him (Modi)… I know he will become PM’". The Indian Express. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/i-like-to-read-about-him-modi-i-know-he-will-become-pm/. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Deshpande, Haima (11 April 2009). "I am Narendra Modi’s Wife". OPEN. http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/i-am-narendra-modi-s-wife. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Press Trust of India (30 May 2014). "PM Narendra Modi’s wife Jashodaben given police protection". indianexpress.com. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/pm-narendra-modis-wife-jashodaben-given-police-protection/. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Ajay, Lakshmi (11 June 2014). "Modi’s wife Jashodaben attends condolence meeting for Gopinath Munde". indianexpress.com. http://indianexpress.com/article/cities/ahmedabad/modis-wife-jashodaben-attends-condolence-meeting-for-gopinath-munde/. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
- Dhillon, Amrit (22 April 2014). "Mr. Modi’s abandoned wife joins an alarming trend in Indian politics". The Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/mr-modis-abandoned-wife-joins-an-alarming-trend-in-indian-politics/article18091206/. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Guwahati (13 April 2014). "Jashodaben should get Bharat Ratna for her sacrifice: Gogoi - The Hindu". thehindu.com. http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jashodaben-should-get-bharat-ratna-for-her-sacrifice-gogoi/article5908134.ece. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Press Trust of India (13 April 2014). "Tarun Gogoi attacks Narendra Modi over ‘married’ status | The Indian Express". indianexpress.com. http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/tarun-gogoi-attacks-narendra-modi-over-married-status/. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Lakshmi Chaudhry (Apr 11, 2014). "Fantasies of Jashodaben: Leave Narendra Modi's wife alone". CNN IBN7 firstpost. http://www.firstpost.com/politics/fantasies-of-jashodaben-leave-narendra-modis-wife-alone-1475961.html. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
- Narendra Modi's wife Jashodaben in conversation with Tv9 Gujarati, a video interview in Gujarati with English transcript by TV9 (Gujarati)
- I am Narendra Modi’s Wife, the interview in OPEN
- I like to read about him (Modi)… I know he will become PM, the interview in The Indian Express