By Shilpa Raina, New Delhi, March 14 IANS | 8 months ago

BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi's controversial political journey and secretive personal life has provided literary fodder to many authors to write on his "charismatic" personality and "controversial" past and books on him have been hot sellers in the past year.


This is largely because the meteoric rise of the 63-year-old up the political ladder is an incredible story after humble beginnings as a six-year-old tea vendor and his questionable role in the 2002 Gujarat riots.

This wider spectrum of information has whetted the appetite for stories on Modi, leaving behind his competitors for the country's top post, especially Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, whose political ideologies are still seen with scepticism.

While there is no dearth of books on the Gujarat chief minister - online store Flipkart throws up 42 book results - the scion of Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has just a handful of books written on him.

"Modi has had a controversial political career, and not much has been written about him. With elections around the corner and he being billed as a prime ministerial candidate, you can't ignore him," Kingshuk Nag, the author of "The NaMO Story: A Political Life", told IANS.

"There is a lot of interest in Modi amongst the people and hence there is a demand to know more about the man who has a controversial past," added the journalist, who was posted in Gujarat and has reported on the riots. During this stint, he had met and interacted with Modi on several occasions.

Another meticulous account on Modi comes from veteran journalist Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay in his book "Narendra Modi: The Man. The Times". The Delhi-based writer has covered the Sangh Parivar for a quarter of a century, and interviewed Modi on several occasions for this book and got a chance to meet him up-close and in person.

"He is an extremely charismatic person and is warm and effusive. I still remember when I had met him for the first time, he had got up from his chair and shook hands with me. His connection with the people is tremendous and he is seen as a role model," Mukhopadhyay told IANS.

"One can't deny the fact that he is a great communicator. When he was a child, he had done theatre and he uses the theatre to sell politics. Even the way he carries himself makes him stand out from the crowd," he added, saying Modi has borrowed his half-sleeved knee-length kurta style from yesteryears Bollywood superstar Rajesh Khanna.

The NaMo wave has engulfed the country since September 2011 with the beginning of his Sadbhavana Mission, says Mukhopadhyay, adding it was the first step towards a much bigger dream of being a prime ministerial candidate.

Since then, writers in various languages - English, Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, and Gujarati - have tried to decode the man and his political sojourn. There are books like "Narendra Modi: A Political Biography", "The Man of the Moment: Narendra Modi", "Narendra Modi: Yes He Can", "Narendra Modi: The Game Changer", "ModiNomics", "Narendra Modi: Ek Rajneetik Katha"(Hindi), "Samajik Samrasta"(Hindi), "Modinama"(Marathi) and "Narendra Modi" (Tamil), among many others.

Not just this, if one goes to Modi's website, many e-books like "Convenient Action" have been written by him and a few like "Narkesri-Narendra Modi", a Gujarati translation of a Kannada book penned by a young writer.

According to Westland publications managing editor Sudha Sadanand, Mukhopadhyay's book had done extremely well even when Modi was not declared a prime ministerial candidate. The book was released in 2013.

"The book had evoked great curiosity as we were the first amongst several others to have a book on him. It has now gone into a reprint and with elections around the corner, the demand is bound to increase manifold," she added.

Nag's book too has been well received, said Kapil Kapoor, director of Roli Books, adding they are expecting a spike in sales if the BJP wins and comes to power.

This isn't the end. A few publication houses are in the process of releasing books on Modi in May and more will soon follow.

The Modi clout will just grow bigger.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at shilpa.r@ians.in)

(Posted on 14-03-2014)

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