Every Year During Diwali, I would Go Away to the Jungle: PM Narendra Modi to ‘Humans of Bombay’

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi isn’t just leader of the world’s largest democracy, but he is also on top of the social media game– boasting the largest following for a world leader on Instagram, the second largest on Twitter and over 40 million likes on Facebook.

Although you may have heard of Modi’s childhood story, Humans of Bombay, a Facebook page that is essentially a photographic and biographical catalogue (a biopic if you will) of individuals, modelled after the original Humans of New York, is retelling us those stories yet again. And, a little more.

With a total of five posts entailing ‘The Modi Story’, the first two of which were shared on January 5 and January 9, and the third having been published yesterday, the Prime Minister shares his life experiences, from his childhood as the son of a tea seller to his two year meditation in the Himalayas under the aegis of the Ramakrishna Mission to returning from the mountains to become a full time ‘Pracharak’ for the RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh).

“After coming back from the Himalayas, I knew that I wanted my life to be one that is lived in the service of others. Within a short span of returning, I left for Ahmedabad. It was my first brush with living in a big city – the pace of life was very different. I began my time there by occasionally helping my uncle at his canteen,” the Prime Minister is quoted in the Facebook page.

Eventually, he says that he became a “full time Pracharak” of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Once he became an RSS worker, PM Modi said that he learned a lot of things. “We all took turns to clean the RSS office, prepare tea and food for colleagues and clean utensils,” he said.

However, the PM said that even amidst the busy life he was determined to go to the Himalayas. “To ensure that this new phase of life didn’t take over the sense of peace that I achieved there, I decided to take out some time every year and introspect. It was my way of maintaining a balanced life.”

The Prime Minister then let out a secret. “Not many people know this, but I would go away for the 5 days of Diwali. Somewhere in a jungle – a place with only clean water and no people. I would pack enough food to last for those 5 days. There would be no radio’s or newspapers, and during that time, there was no TV or internet anyway. I would reflect – and the strength that this alone time gave me still helps me to handle life and its various experiences.