The journey of a tea-seller from Vadnagar, a small village in Gujarat, to the most prized address in New Delhi – 7 Race Course Road – is the stuff of which contemporary myths and folklore is woven. Not surprisingly, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s life story has launched a thousand tales about the man who evokes diverse emotions among Indians and the world at large. The publishing industry in India is on a roll, with over 180 books published on Modi within the first 100 days of his taking office.
Written mostly in Hindi and Gujarati, the books provide a melange of perspectives and insights into Modi the leader as well as Modi the person.
The authors who penned these stories include former journalists, lawyers, RSS workers and even his body guard. Presented in multifarious ways, these works range from political biographies to comics. Bookstores across the country display these books; some have even been translated in Mandarin and French.
Some of the more popular titles include: Durdrashta Narendra Modi, Ghar Ghar Modi, Bhavishya Ki Asha–Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi Ka Rajnitik Safar, Narendra Modi –Sangarsh Se Shikar Tak, Swarnim Gujarat Na Modi, Mahanayak Narendra Modi and Prernamurthy Narendra Modi. The titles in English are varied: Narendra Modi, Yes he Can, Modi — Man of Developing India, Modi Demystified, Modi: Change We Can Believe In, This is Narendra Modi, and Modimantra.
But too much of a good thing can be bad and writers and publisher worry about market saturation. Most of these books haven’t fared too well in the market.
And yet publishers seem to demand more as they look for new stories to illuminate Modi’s fascinating journey.
“Not many people know his love for Bengali music. He is so fluent in Marathi that he translates his Gujarati books into the language himself,” said author Kishore Makwana, who first met Modi in 1983 at an RSS shakha near Ahmedabad.
The interest in Modi has even crossed border, says author Vivek Garg, who has written two books on Modi, and whose works are in great demand in Pakistan, the neighbouring countries which is conflicted in his views of Modi.
If 180 books in 100 days are anything to go by, Modi will have a whole library of books about him in the next few years. Clearly, there will be more stories to tell about the man who is trying to script the India Story anew.
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