Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi[4] (née Chimanlal Modi;[5] born January 1952) is a retired Indian teacher and the wife of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Their traditional marriage was arranged in Vadnagar by their families. The couple married in 1968.[6] He did not officially acknowledge this marriage until 2014 during his campaign. Jashodaben continues to identify herself as the wife of Narendra Modi. She completed her education and had a career as a teacher.[7]

Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi
Painted portrait of Jashodaben.
Personal details
Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi[1]

January 1952 (age 68)
Brahmanwada, Bombay State, India (present-day Gujarat)
Spouse(s)Narendra Modi (m. 1968; estranged)[2][3]
OccupationTeacher (retired)

Retired from teaching, Jashodaben lives a simple life of prayer.[8] As the spouse of the prime minister, she is protected by a security detail, but has been unable to learn what their orders are or what rights she has in this position, despite filing suits with the government.[9]

Early life, marriage, and careerEdit

Jashodaben was born in 1952.[10] Her mother died when she was two years old.[10]

Narendra Modi and Jashodaben had an arranged marriage in the custom of the Ghanchi caste of Vadnagar. When Modi was thirteen, the couple underwent the religious ceremony of marriage. Per their family custom, they began living together (gauna) when Modi was 18 (jasodaben was 16) in 1968 but that period was brief.[6]

After three years of being out of contact with all who knew him, Modi returned home and contacted his family.[6] He made plans to go to Ahmedabad to work at his uncle's canteen without Jashodaben.[6] Before he left, his mother arranged for Jashodaben's parents to send her to meet Modi to sustain the gauna.[6] After Jashodaben arrived at the house of Modi's family, Modi had an argument with his parents and left their home to meet his uncle as planned.[6] Over the three-year period around the marriage, Jashodaben estimates that she spent about three months with her husband.[10] After Modi left, she continued with her professional life.

Jashodaben studied further to become a teacher at primary school, and from 1978–1990 taught in Banaskantha district.[11] In 1991 she moved to Rajosana village and remains there.[11] She is retired and her pension is 14,000 (US$200) per month.[10] One commentator said that her low salary would have made much of life a hardship for her.[3] In talking about her relationship with Modi, in one interview Jashodaben said "We have never been in touch... There has been no communication from his end to this day."[10] In a later interview Jashodaben said that until 1987 she and Modi spoke "normally".[12] Jashodaben lives with her brother Ashok and his wife in Unjha.[3]

Marriage enters public viewEdit

In the 2014 Indian general election, Modi contested the Vadodara seat of the Parliament of India.[13] Under the Representation of the People Act, Modi was asked to declare any previous marriage. In his response, for the first time in public and media, Modi acknowledged that he had a wife.[13] Previously Modi had not responded to official documents asking about a spouse.[14]

Somabhai Modi, Modi's brother, issued a statement saying that the arranged child marriage had been forced on Modi by his family.[15] He said that the marriage was never consummated, and that Modi left it soon after it was solemnized.[15] Inspired by the teachings of Swami Vivekananda, Modi later worked for society.[15]

Before Modi officially acknowledged his marriage, a group of activists and security professionals visited Jashodaben at her home.[3] They offered to escort her on the Char Dham pilgrimage, which was a trip which she had long wanted to take.[3] During the trip they took her to the Rishikesh, Uttarakhand ashram of Swami Ramdev, a yoga guru, where she stayed around the middle of April.[3] Journalists sought Jashodaben for comment at the news of the marriage, but her family told them that she would return home in May.[3]

To contest the election, Modi's political opponents criticized his evasions of facts about his marriage on official documents. Nishant Varma a Citizen of Ahmedabad sought criminal charges against Modi for having failed to acknowledge his legal wife and forge previous Election Documents as against prescribed rules of Representation of the People Act, the case is subjected to Revision in Supreme Court of India. The lower court refused to pronounce Modi guilty of Criminal offense under this Act.[16]

In summer 2014, Congress party politician Ajay Rai filed a lawsuit to be heard by the Allahabad High Court complaining, among other things, that Modi did not give the permanent account number of Jashodaben.[17]

Political actions and present lifeEdit

In 1992, Jashodaben refused to be interviewed by the newspaper Abhiyan when that publication presented a story on the marriage of her and Modi.[15] In 2009, a reporter for Open found Jashodaben in her village and asked her some questions.[11] In 2014, a reporter for The Indian Express interviewed her.[10] In May 2014, TV9 Gujarat video interviewed her.[12] In December 2014, a writer for Pakistani news agency Dawn News said that not many newspapers have had the courage to report the troubles which Jashodaben has experienced.[18]

Jashodaben said that she was not invited to the swearing-in ceremony of Narendra Modi, but had she been invited, she would have gone.[12]

In June 2014, at what has been described as "her first public event", Jashodaben attended the public funeral of politician Gopinath Munde.[19] In November 2014, she made her first trip to Mumbai where she prayed for her husband at the Mahalakshmi Temple and the Siddhivinayak Temple.[20]

In February 2015, Jashodaben hosted some Christian missionaries who invited her to join their missionary to help lots of destitute and helpless Hindus by teaching Gita and Ramayana to them.[21] In June 2015, Jashodaben was scheduled to speak at a conference on politics organized by supporters of Modi.[22] Event organizers reported that the conference was shut down on day 2 of the week-long program on the direction of the BJP leader Amit Shah and others.[22] No reason was given for cancelling the conference, but people in attendance claimed Jashodaben's presence as the cause.[22]

In November 2015, Jashodaben applied for a passport in order to visit relatives and friends overseas. As she was unable to produce a marriage certificate or a joint affidavit from her husband, the application was rejected by the regional passport office as "incomplete." Her brother Ashok stated that a legal option was being considered.[23]

Request for information on security detailEdit

I am surrounded by five security guards all the time. Often my relatives or I have to cook for them, my sister-in-law has to make their beds. This is a bit annoying... You see, it gets really chaotic when I have to travel, because I use public transport and the guards are following me in an air-conditioned car.

Jashodaben, to Reuters, November 2014[24]

From May 2014, police from the Mehsana district began providing continual police protection for Jashodaben.[25] The security agent team following her was assigned as a response to the Special Protection Group Act, which says that the spouse of the Prime Minister of India should receive police protection.[26] The Salaries and Allowances of Ministers' Act describes other benefits which are typically given to spouses of prime ministers.[26]

In November 2014, Jashodaben filed a Right to Information Act (RTI) request seeking details about her security and rights as the spouse of the prime minister.[27][28] Various media organizations in India reported the RTI in different ways, including emphasizing Jashodaben's fear, the financial implications of her complaint, the guards' demands to be treated as guests, or the case as an example of female independence.[24] Jashodaben has said that her security details suggest she refrain from talking with the media.[29] The Gulf News reported that her security guards are primarily with her to conduct surveillance on her.[29] Jashodaben's family has complained that her guards do not keep any identity cards, refuse to identify themselves, and refuse to name the person or office supervising them.[4]

In December, the Intelligence Bureau denied her request for information about orders, saying that the law has an exemption which applies in this case.[28] Jashodaben uses the name "Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi", which is her married name.[4] The letter was addressed to "Jashodaben, daughter of Chimanlal Modi" (her father's name).[30] At the end of December 2014, Jashodaben filed an appeal to the refusal.[31] In addition to the appeal, Jashodaben complained that the government officers changed her name from "Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi" to her maiden name "Jashodaben Chimanlal Modi".[31] Doordarshan, India's public television broadcaster, presented Jashodaben on television 1 January 2015 to hear her comments on the issue.[32][33] As a result of this broadcast, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting chastised staff at Doordashan and transferred the director of the broadcast from Ahmedabad to Port Blair 2,500 km away.[32][33] On 6 February Jashodaben's request was again denied, and again addressed to "Jashodaben, Chimanlal Modi's daughter".[34]

In May 2015, Jashodaben filed a third request for the information about the security detail and their orders.[9] She also complained that she had completed the forms using her legal name, "Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi", but the government office replied to her using her maiden name.[4] In response to the filing, a government representative said, "If they are still not satisfied by the information given by the first appellate authority, they can file the second appeal at the Gujarat Information Commission."[4] In response to the RTI request, commentator on women's issues Shobhaa De called Jashodaben a "superhero" and "plucky", and said that her actions were "bold, blunt, and to the point".[35]

As a representative of Indian womenEdit

The separation of Jashodaben and Modi has been discussed in the context of a broader trend in India that politicians may have more success if they are known for not having ties to a spouse.[36] The RSS, which gives Modi political support, values celibacy in its senior leadership[36] but contrarian tones have been noted.[37]

Many Congress party politicians have criticised Modi's treatment of the estrangement of his wife.[38][39][40]


  1. ^ https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2014/04/10/why-did-narendra-modi-keep-his-wife-secret-for-almost-50-years
  2. ^ Gowen, Annie (25 January 2015). "Abandoned as a child bride, wife of India's Modi waits for husband's call". Retrieved 3 November 2017 – via www.WashingtonPost.com.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Oza, Nandini; Bhattacherjee, Kallol (22 April 2014), "THE FORGOTTEN HALF", week.manoramaonline.com, Malayala Manorama, archived from the original on 23 June 2015
  4. ^ a b c d e Express News Service (3 May 2015). "Jashodaben moves State Information Commission with fresh RTI". The Indian Express. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  5. ^ "PM Modi's wife Jashodaben hopes to get 3rd time lucky with RTI". India Today. 23 May 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f Jose, Vinod K (1 March 2012). "The Emperor Uncrowned". The Caravan. Archived from the original on 26 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  7. ^ Lakshmi Chaudhry (11 April 2014). "Fantasies of Jashodaben: Leave Narendra Modi's wife alone". CNN IBN7 firstpost. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  8. ^ Gowen, Annie (25 January 2015). "Abandoned as a child bride, wife of Narendra Modi hopes he calls". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: WPC. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  9. ^ a b Desai, Darshan (3 May 2015). "PM Modi's wife Jashodaben hopes to get 3rd time lucky with RTI". India Today. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b c d e f Ajay, Lakshmi (1 February 2014). "I like to read about him (Modi)... I know he will become PM". The Indian Express. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  11. ^ a b c Deshpande, Haima (11 April 2009). "I am Narendra Modi's Wife". OPEN. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  12. ^ a b c (interviewer's name not in English) (23 May 2014). "Exclusive : Narendra Modi's wife Jashodaben in conversation with Tv9". TV9 (Gujarati). Retrieved 27 September 2014. Tv9 Gujarati
  13. ^ a b Taylor, Adam (10 April 2014). "Why did Narendra Modi keep his wife secret for almost 50 years?". The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: WPC. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  14. ^ staff (10 April 2014). "India election: BJP 'bachelor' Modi admits marriage". bbc.com. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  15. ^ a b c d Mahurkar, Uday (10 April 2014). "Revealed: Why Narendra Modi walked out of his marriage with Jashodaben". India Today. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  16. ^ Khan, Saeed (15 October 2014). "Modi's defective affidavit issue reaches high court – The Times of India". IndiaTimes.com. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  17. ^ staff writer (31 October 2014). "Allahabad HC gives 6 weeks' time to PM Narendra Modi to file statement on election petition". IndiaTimes.com. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  18. ^ Naqvi, Jawed (30 December 2014). "New Year resolve for Jashodaben". Dawn News. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  19. ^ Ajay, Lakshmi (11 June 2014). "Modi's wife Jashodaben attends condolence meeting for Gopinath Munde". IndianExpress.com. Retrieved 7 November 2014.
  20. ^ staff (21 November 2014). "Jashodaben prays at Mumbai temples for PM Modi". The Times of India. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  21. ^ staff (6 February 2015). "s peter paul meet with jasodaben. किसने कहा, 'जशोदाबेन की प्रार्थनाओं से पीएम बने मोदी'". Amar Ujala. Retrieved 23 April 2015.[failed verification]
  22. ^ a b c Rawat, Basant (12 June 2015). "She who BJP can't stomach". telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 17 June 2015.
  23. ^ "No passport for PM's spouse, as she has no marriage certificate". The Hindu. 7 November 2015.
  24. ^ a b Burke, Jason (26 November 2014). "Jashodaben Modi: why is the Indian prime minister's wife trying to shake off her security detail?". theguardian.com. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  25. ^ Press Trust of India (30 May 2014). "PM Narendra Modi's wife Jashodaben given police protection". indianexpress.com. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  26. ^ a b Mookerji, Nivedita (26 November 2014). "Jashodaben's security cover to stay; the jury is out on rules for privileges". Business Standard. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  27. ^ staff (24 November 2014). "PM Modi's wife Jashodaben 'unhappy' over security cover, files RTI to seek details from government". The Times of India. Retrieved 5 May 2015.
  28. ^ a b Express News Service (11 February 2015). "Jashodaben denied info under RTI again". The Indian Express. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  29. ^ a b Abdi, S.N.M. (19 December 2014). "Let Modi change his mindset towards women". gulfnews.com. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  30. ^ Trivedi, Mahesh (29 December 2014). "Modi's estranged wife fails to get details on security provided to her". Khaleej Times. Retrieved 12 May 2015.
  31. ^ a b staff (3 January 2015). "Denied information under RTI, Jashodaben files appeal". The Times of India. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  32. ^ a b Raman, Anuradha (2 February 2015). "Interruption Regretted". Outlook. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  33. ^ a b Venugopal, Vasudha (31 January 2015). "DD Gujarat official sent to Andamans for airing Jashodaben news – timesofindia-economictimes". indiatimes.com. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  34. ^ staff (11 February 2015). "Jashodaben denied info under RTI again". The Indian Express. Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  35. ^ De, Shobhaa (29 November 2014). "Jashodaben – The superhero". Ahmedabad Mirror. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  36. ^ a b Dhillon, Amrit (22 April 2014). "Mr. Modi's abandoned wife joins an alarming trend in Indian politics". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  37. ^ Akram, Maria (9 December 2014). "Sakshi Maharaj's ode to Modi's wife surprises crowd". indiatimes.com. Retrieved 11 May 2015.
  38. ^ Guwahati (13 April 2014). "Jashodaben should get Bharat Ratna for her sacrifice: Gogoi – The Hindu". thehindu.com. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  39. ^ Press Trust of India (13 April 2014). "Tarun Gogoi attacks Narendra Modi over 'married' status". indianexpress.com. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  40. ^ Tare, Kiran (28 January 2015). "Kamat Rakes up Row by Comparing Irani to Jashodaben". m.newindianexpress.com. Archived from the original on 18 June 2015. Retrieved 20 May 2015.

External linksEdit