“I can never forget how Narendra Modi, as organisational in charge of the BJP Haryana, went all out in 1999 to mobilise my election donation. The first donation I received was from Modiji himself. He donated to my campaign fund Rs 11 his mother had once given saying they would come to good use one day,” recalls Yadav, a Kargil war widow, who contested the 1999 Lok Sabha election as a BJP candidate.
Yadav’s memories of Modi and similar testimonies by several others who have interacted with the prime minister over all these years are now in public domain in the form of a web portal – modistory.in – a volunteer initiative to piece together the life of a leader many describe in their narrations as “enigmatic and exceptional”.
Sharing Yadav’s story on the portal, former union minister and sitting Lok Sabha MP Ratan Lal Kataria speaks of how the BJP, on Modi’s suggestion in 1999, decided to field Kargil war widows in the Lok Sabha election.
“After a great deal of search, we found Sudha Yadav in Gurugram. Modiji spread a sheet in the party office to invite campaign donations for her. He began by making a donation himself and within half an hour, Rs 7.5 lakh was collected,” remembers Kataria.
Yadav, in a separate testimonial on the portal, confirms the development and speaks of how overwhelmed she felt when Modi donated Rs 11 to her campaign.
Modistory.in reveals the lesser-known aspects of Modi’s life through recollections of people he met during his journey from an RSS worker to Gujarat CM to the Prime Minister.
The portal records testimonies of Modi’s friends who recall the time when the former RSS worker masqueraded as a Sikh during the Emergency in 1975.
“Modi adapted the manners and attire of a Sikh so well that even RSS workers could not spot him,” said one of his friends.
In his testimony, former Punjab minister Manoranjan Kalia speaks of election tips Modi gave to him once.
“Modiji asked me to carry toffees during election campaigns and offer them to kids. That way we can win over not just children but also parents,” Kalia says, narrating another instance where he forgot to pick up Modi from Amritsar railway station but Modi was calm about the lapse and did not make a fuss.
In another video, Modi’s former Rohtak-based assistant Deepak Kumar speaks of the prime minister’s commitment to zero wastage. “Modiji once came in late and asked for food. Since there was none left, he spotted a bottle of pickle with some leftover mixture. He cut some onions, prepared a dough with the pickle leftovers and relished parathas made out of the mix,” said Kumar also recalling another of Modi’s ‘khichdi paratha; recipe which even Manohar Lal Khattar used to enjoy at the time Modi was national BJP secretary in charge of Haryana.
In another testimonial, former Union finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia remembers how Modi once praised a peon’s handwriting to him. “I felt ashamed when Modiji told me whether I knew that his office peon Pratap had a wonderful handwriting. I thought to myself that I could not even properly recall the names of my peons,” Adhia said.
In her narration, paralympian Deepa Malik speaks of how the PM shielded her back when people were patting it as a sign of praise for her paralympic feat. “PM Modi shielded my back. I could not believe that a prime minister could be so sensitive as to know that my back could get hurt as I have a spinal cord injury,” Malik says.
The portal, replete with incidents that offer an insight into Modi’s life, also shows how Modi wanted to get admitted to Sainik School as a child with his schoolteacher making the revelation.
In yet another testimonial, Kedar Tambe, a Gujarat RSS leader, sheds further light on Modi’s personality.
“I once asked Modiji whether he will ever find the time to rest. His reply was – may be in another lifetime. He said he had his task cut out for this life,” Tambe says.