12 May, 2016
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a good example of someone who uses his tea seller origins story to his political advantage and the people lap it up, even though no official records exist to show that he was indeed one. In fact, it is believed he was the son of a canteen contractor, making his origins better than what national and even international media wants one to believe. Nikita Sud writes in Tehelka, ‘Of dynasties and Parivars’, “The image of a hardworking young Modi, selling tea on Indian Railways, is an endearing one. But let’s get our economic facts straight here. The son of anyone who managed to get a catering spot at a government facility in licence-permit raj India is no poor hawker” and points to the basic difference between capital, even petty capital, and labour. Modi has done much to encourage this humble beginning narrative, repeating it often in rallies and even meeting his mother under the glare of cameras. Recently he brought up his tea seller origins during his campaign in Assam. And while his campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha election was one of the most expensive campaigns ever with 3D holograms and sophisticated PR exercises, BJP’s social media continues to peddle photo shopped images of Modi on a man holding a broom to keep up this myth.