New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Heeraba Modi passed away on Friday at the age of 100. While people have seen numerous visuals of PM Modi with his mother, not a lot is known about her. The Prime Minister, however, has on several instances spoken about his mother’s struggles.

Heeraba was born on June 18, 1922 in Mehsana, Gujarat. She was married at a young age to Damodardas Moolchand Modi, a tea seller in Vadnagar. They had five sons and one daughter — Amrit Modi, Pankaj Modi, Narendra Modi, Prahlad Modi, Soma Modi, and daughter Vasanti Ben Hansmukhlal Modi.

Heeraba remained very active even at the age of 100 as she was seen going to vote, she stood in queues, and also cooked her own food. She lived at Raysan village near Gandhinagar city with PM Modi’s younger brother Pankaj Modi. 

In 2015, PM Narendra Modi got emotional while talking about his mother in an interview with Facebook (now Meta) CEO Mark Zuckerberg. PM Modi said, “She does all her work even now. She isn’t literate but follows developments through the news. When we were young, she cleaned utensils at our neighbours’ homes and did labour-intensive work. You can imagine what a mother had to do to raise her children.” 

“That’s not just the case with Narendra Modi, there are several such mothers who have sacrificed their lives for their children’s dreams,” he emphasised.

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Her “Childhood Was Extremely Difficult”: PM Modi

Heeraba Modi turned 100 this year. On this occasion, PM Modi wrote in a blog, “Today, I feel extremely happy and fortunate to share that my mother Smt. Heeraba is entering her hundredth year. This is going to be her birth centenary year. If my father had been alive, he too would have celebrated his 100th birthday last week. 2022 is a special year as my mother’s centenary year is starting, and my father would have completed his.”

“Just last week, my nephew shared a few videos of Mother from Gandhinagar. A few youngsters from the society had come home, my father’s photograph was kept on a chair, there was a kirtan, and Mother was immersed in singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. She is still the same – age may have taken a toll physically, but she is as mentally alert as ever.”

Her “childhood was extremely difficult”, PM Modi wrote in the blog informing that Heeraba Modi had lost her mother to the Spanish Flu pandemic. ” She spent her entire childhood without her mother. She could not throw tantrums at her mother, as we all do. She could not rest in her mother’s lap like we all do. She could not even go to school and learn to read and write. Her childhood was one of poverty and deprivation.”

Heeraba has always inspired me to have a strong resolve and focus on “garib kalyan” (welfare of poor), he wrote. “Mother has always had immense confidence in me and the sanskars (values) she imparted,” he stated.

“In my Mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice, and contribution of India’s matrushakti. Whenever I look at Mother and crores of women like her, I find there is nothing that is unachievable for Indian women,” he wrote in the blog post on the occasion of his mother’s 100th birthday.

In 2016, Heeraba was seen standing in an ATM queue following the Modi government’s demonetisation move. Last year, she got vaccinated for Covid-19, inspiring other elderly persons to get vaccinated amid anti-vaccine fearmongering.

In this year’s Gujarat Election, Heeraba cast her vote in Raisan village near Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat. She reached the polling station in a wheelchair along with Pankaj Modi and other family members. 

Prime Minister Modi arrived in Gandhinagar on Friday to pay his tributes ahead of the last rites. He also carried the mortal remains of his deceased mother on his shoulder.

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