Vijay Karia is the Chairman and Managing Director of the Ravin Group of companies, spread across India and UAE. He is also the Chairman of Elecrama. Vijay lives in Mumbai.
Shri Narendrabhai Modi is perhaps the strongest person I have had the privilege to meet and interact with. Unwavering in his commitment and focus, despite the unjustified criticism that is heaped upon him, from the time he has entered public life. He is physically and mentally fit and strong. The punitive schedule that he keeps upto, and always looks fresh, is the hallmark of an extraordinary person. I have never ever seen him with droopy eyes, or lost in his thoughts. He is always present in the moment, despite the pressures of the world on him.
When he started his relationship building exercise across the world, there was much criticism from people who wanted to pull him down. But he did not lose focus. And today the country is seeing the fruits of the personal rapport he has built with world leaders. A temple in UAE could not have been imagined before 2014. He fructified it. Ayodhya Ram Mandir issue which lingered from centuries was settled in a short time, and most importantly with consensus across all lines.
My first meeting with Shri Modiji was in 2002-03, when he was the CM of Gujarat- which had suffered a massive earthquake, and had to be rebuilt. A group of us, of which my father was a part of, were looking to rebuild a village- Balambha- which lies between Rajkot and Jamnagar.
Modiji was very clear in his concept and idealogy. And understandably also very cautious and forthright about what people wanted in their meeting with him. “Are you here for business or social service?”, he asked. When he came to know that we did not require anything from the Government, but only sought his blessings, he was very warm and courteous, as he always is, when meeting people. He has a great people connect, sharp memory and takes pride in remembering their names and background. His connect with the Sarpanches of the various villages, with whom he used to do video conferences as CM, is something that amazes even his ardent followers as well as critics!!
I have had the honour to meet him a number of times in the past few years, and on a few occasions, he called me by name. His warmth and sense of wit and humour are unparalleled.
In 2018, when I had the honour of receiving him for a function, I told him that I had a photograph of him in 2002- with my father, and another photograph with me in 2018, and in 2018 he looked much younger than 2002. He laughingly told me “In 2002, I used to work”. Implying that 2018, he was working less. (We all know the hectic life he lives as PM. Literally all over the place!!!! This shows the humility and wit that he possesses.)
Modiji was nice enough to autograph both the photos.
A fortnight later, when I met him at another function, and had the privilege to be seated next to him, he saw that Shri Vinit Jain was standing, and so Modiji called him to be seated. There was no empty chair, so I got up to give my place to Vinitji. As I was getting up, Modiji caught my hand and said “Why are you getting up? We three can sit on 2 chairs. This is true ‘mahagathbandan’ and seat sharing”. This quick witted statement had us all laughing.
Later when I looked to take a selfie with him, he said “Karia, how many pictures you will take with me? Just a few days ago, you took my autograph on the picture of 3 generations with me”. His memory is phenomenal.
Modiji- you are an amazing person, a true leader in all senses, a great statesman, a selfless worker and a true “Sanyasi” who has sacrificed his life for the service of the not only the nation, but all of mankind.
India is blessed to have a Prime Minister, who is not only concerned about welfare of his fellow Indians, but has true international stature. An iron fist in a velvet glove. Tough- when it comes to decision making. Tender- when it comes to dealing with the common man.
A “chaiwala” who has billions of “chahanewalas”- people who love and respect him.
An astute person, who does not show emotion on his face, but is very emotional at the core.
On your 70th birthday, we wish you a long and healthy life, which you have selflessly dedicated to the service of Bharat Mata. May God protect you at all times, is what we pray for you.
Long live Narendrabhai.