On the contrary I think she is a woman with a mind of her own. The reports that have come out in the media might say things like: “the wife of Narendra Modi washes her own clothes”, “she lives alone and survives on a salary of Rs 10,000”, “she is waiting for that one call from Modi”, but if I have read right between the lines, she is a strong-willed woman, who has carved her own niche in her village in Gujarat.
What I gather is Jashodaben Modi did not sit in one corner of her home and cry over her fate when she was sent back to her maternal home by her husband at the age of 19. Instead she found her own calling. She studied and became a teacher. Her compassion and kindness is the talking point among her students, (many of whom belong to the Muslim community) and their parents.
For me Jashodaben Modi is a woman, who has had the guts to turn the circumstances in her favour and live her life on her own terms. Here are five reasons why I find her inspiring.
- She was not afraid to live her life alone: Her brothers said that they proposed remarriage to her but she rejected it. It is clear that she is woman who doesn’t think that the presence of a man is a must in her life to make her feel more secure. Only after retirement she has moved into a house which is located four houses away from her brother’s home, otherwise she lived in a different village.
- She is financially independent: All her life she lived in her own small rented accommodation and has taken care of her own expenses.
- She has made a difference in other people’s lives in her own small way: She has been a passionate and loving teacher. She regularly visited her students at their home if they failed to attend school because of illness. The whole village of Rajosana, where she taught, came to attend her retirement function.
- She hasn’t used her husband’s power position to get favours: If she had wanted she could have gone to the press long before Open Magazine went knocking on her door in 2009. True Modi is a powerful man, but Modi is also someone who is surrounded by adversaries. Jashodaben could have used her status to her advantage, something she never did.
- Modi needs her now, but she doesn’t need him: Modi acknowledged Jashodaben in an affidavit filed before the Election Commission last week. To fulfill his political ambitions Modi had to do this but ironically if Jashodaben never acknowledges Modi as her husband it would not make a difference in her life. And come on, if the phone call from him hasn’t come in 40 years it would probably never come. A woman, who has fought the battle of life on her own, definitely knows that. But she is dignified enough to speak well about him in public and pray for his well being.