India, a nuclear power, is the world's largest and democracy and developing at an extraordinary rate. Yet the country's Prime Minister since 2014, Narendra Modi, works 18 hours per day and lives as simply as his station will allow. His family, meanwhile, are even greater examples of simple living.
In a country where politicians and senior bureaucrats are reputed to pass large benefits to their family members in terms of jobs, contracts and wealth, here is the Prime Minister whose brothers and cousins live a life of struggle, barely making ends meet. Here's what the brothers and cousins of Narendra Modi do for a living:
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1. Amrutbhai Modi : Elder brother of Narendra Modi, he worked as a fitter in a private company. After retirement, he draws a pension of Rs 10,000 per month. Though his family has a small car, he still travels on a scooter. No one from his family, including his sons, have ever personally seen inside of an aeroplane !
2. Prahladbhai Modi : Younger brother of Narendra Modi, who runs a fair price shop and lives a life of obscurity. He could not afford costly treatment of his daughter Nikunjben, who passed away a few months ago after prolonged illness. It is an irony that in a country where relatives of politicians have crores worth of properties, the Prime Minister’s niece used to give private tuition to meet her ends.
3. Pankajbhai Modi : Among all the brothers of Narendra Modi, he is the only ‘better’ placed brother who has a permanent job. He works as a clerk in the Information Department of the Gujarat Government and has a 3 bedroom house. Narendra Modi’s mother also lives with Pankajbhai Patel.
4. Ashokbhai Modi : He is the first cousin of Narendra Modi, the son of Narendra Modi’s paternal uncle. Ashokbhai used to sell kites, crackers and snacks from a stall. However, with some meagre savings, he has rented a very small 8ft x 4ft shop now. From the shop, he earns just Rs 7000 a month and struggles to meet his daily expenses. His wife washes utensils in a food outlet which helps the family earn another Rs 3000 a month.
5. Bharatbhai Modi : First cousin of Narendra Modi (brother of Ashokbhai), he works as a petrol pump attendant and gets a salary of Rs 6000. His wife sells snacks, which helps the family earn an extra Rs 4000.
6. Chandrakantbhai Modi : Also the first cousin of Narendra Modi, he works as a helper in a local village Gaushala which is not enough to sustain his family. Due to his low income, he does not have a proper house to live in.
7. Arvindbhai Modi : He is a scrap collector – Collects scraps, tins, old metals going door to door… Leads an extremely tough life. There is hardly any month when he is able to earn more than Rs 10,000 !
8. Narendra Modi’s cousin sister (daughter of Modi’s uncle Jayantilal) is married to a bus conductor in Gujarat, which means Modi’s jijaji (brother-in-law) is a bus conductor.