There will be an odd asymmetry in the perfect setting when President Joe Biden and Jill Biden welcome India's Prime Minister Narendra modi on the White House red carpet on Thursday.
Modi is going stag.
In the United States, a family-centric approach is a popular selling point for politicians. However, in India many of the top leaders, including the Prime Minister, are proudly single, as a way to show that they have no other obligations.
Politicians in the largest democracy in the world are too busy to sleep. They attend to the needs and wants of 1.4 billion citizens, while competing with each other in their claims of sleep deprivation. Modi's aides claim that he sleeps for only four hours a night.
After winning reelection in 2019, the Prime Minister said, "Every minute of my life, every pore on my body is for my countrymen."
India is a strange country for expressing solitary political dedication. Families are grouped together by arranged marriages and the importance of family. According to a study, dynastic families are still important in politics. Nearly a third of the new members of parliament have a relative who is in an elective office or holds a prominent position in a party.
Many voters in a nation tired of corruption have begun to believe that politicians who are single are less likely than those who work together to steal.
Ajoy BOSE, journalist and author said, "The very strong impression is that they don't have any personal interests." They belong to the people.
Many Indians are under pressure to marry. Bose stated that in the spiritual and political spheres 'a person who is single is not seen as selfish but rather someone who has sacrificed and is looked upon like a goddess or god'.
Rahul Gandhi is the leader of Indian National Congress and Mamata banerjee is the most powerful politician in West Bengal, who has been a fierce opponent of Modi. She is reported to sleep even less, only three hours per night.
Naveen Patnaik is the powerful chief Minister of Odisha.
Mayawati is the leader of a major political organization for Indians of lower castes. Bose wrote a biography on Mayawati and said that she held important meetings in her room, greeting bureaucrats while wearing her nightgown.
Mohandas K Gandhi was the man who came before them. After being forced into an arranged wedding at age 13, and having four kids, he swore off sexual relations in his 30s, and devoted himself to gaining India’s independence from Britain.
Modi is the only one in this current group who has managed to leverage singlehood better than anyone else, according to Neerja Chowdhury. She is a political editor and commentator.
His team has carefully crafted this image. Chowdhury stated that Mr. Modi was always in the picture, whether it was on the steps of an airplane, at the opening of an underpass or on a train. The political message is 'I'm there for you.' I will handle everything.
Modi, 72 today, lives alone in the expansive prime minister's home, and his work seems to be the sum total of his existence. His life is not as simple as it seems.
He abandoned his arranged marriage as a teenager and wandered through the Himalayas in search of spiritual meaning. He became a leader in a right-wing Hindu group and a preacher.
When he was running for a state office in the early 2000s he left a blank space on a questionnaire that asked about his marital situation. In 2014, he revealed that he was married after always portraying himself as single.
It is believed that he never lived with her. In an interview in 2019, he said that he 'detached himself' from his family and learned to 'leave all the pleasures in life'.
Modi's carefully crafted picture of an uncorruptible leader, who is also a spiritual guru detached from family and marriage demands has influenced many voters.
Parneet ghuman, owner of a taxi fleet in New Delhi said, "For Modi-ji the country is his family."
Modi has emphasized this idea.
He said, 'I have no family ties' at an election rally held in 2014. "Whom would I seek to gain by corruption?"
Modi has inspired some Indians to remain single-minded. Sandhya Leima is one of them. She works for an organization that promotes the government programs of India's prime minister door-to-door in India's Northeast.
She said, "I will stay single as I am approaching 40." "Like Mr. Modi I also want to devote my life to the country."
Author: Suhasini RAJ (c.2021 The New York Times Company).