A couple of days ago, BJP’s PM candidate Narendra Modi disclosed his marriage for the first time. In a declaration in election papers filed last week, Modi revealed for the first time that his wife’s name is Jashodaben. On previous occasions, including in the last Gujarat state election in 2012, he used to keep the spouse column blank.
What is worrying about Narendra Modi’s marriage with Jashodaben Disclosure ?
Narendra Modi has become a popular figure at present. If not in entire India, then surely among the Facebook and Twitter using Indians. Although it’s also true that one can’t dispute Modi’s popularity in Indian politics today. Under this scenario, it’s difficult to put Narendra Modi in dock on any question or issue. The moment someone criticises Modi, support starts rushing in from all corners. If questioned about his marriage, some defend Modi , calling his marriage to Jashodaben his personal issue. Some defend Modi, calling the question as yet another tactic of the rivals.
Thus if I critic Narendra Modi’s marriage disclosure on the ground of it exposing Narendra Modi’s poor attitude towards women; OR him avoiding questions about his personal life, even when him being a public figure; then these arguments will be opposed vehemently, with one reasoning or the other. Some can even defend Modi with a ridiculous defence such as “that marriage with jashoda was Only a formal ritual” **. That’s why Let I critic Modi on one point which I think is worrying for us.
Narendra Modi stated the name of his Spouse in his Election affidavit. But he kept another important column blank. The one which asked about the personal Property of Jashodaben. Modi wrote “not known” in the affidavit as to further information on his wife, such as the details of her income and assets.
When asked later, why he kept that field blank, he said he doesn’t know what property she owns.
Modi supporters are claiming that Narendra Modi had an arranged marriage at the age of 17 to Jashodaben whom he soon left; to live the life of a celibate , a trait much prized by RSS.
I’m not criticising why Modi deserted the young Jashodaben , never officially divorcing her. I’m not questioning Modi as to why he followed the path of celibacy. I’m questioning Narendra Modi, why he left jashodaben without providing for her. That’s why he didn’t ensure her maintenance. Even when there’s no legal compulsion; there’s surely a moral one. That apart, why he didn’t provide for her for more than 40 years that ensued. I’m asking this question as : You can’t marry a girl and then simply leave her.
Good people don’t act that way. Marriage is not a small institution. When a man marries, he commits to take responsibility of the woman he marries. Since humans are emotional beings, people do part ways even after marriage. But when they do so, they show a keen sense of responsibility. Providing for the Girl one marries is one simple way to show that responsibility.
Unfortunately, all those organisations or Cultural Organisations who price celibacy forget to teach this moral code to their cadre. For them celibacy serves more purpose than Women and marriage. That’s why they’re alright with such Irresponsible Act.
PS: Jashoda Chiman Modi, now a retired schoolteacher, lives on a monthly pension of Rs.14,000, according to an interview she gave to The Indian Express newspaper in February. She said Modi left her after three years, during which they spent some three months together, and they parted amicably. It’s heartening to know that she didn’t require a man to support her.
** “Only a formal ritual”
“Narendra was married to Jashodaben Chiman Modi at a very young age by our parents, but it was only a formal ritual as Narendra left the house in those days itself,” Modi’s older brother Som said in a statement issued by the party’s Gujarat wing Last Thursday.