It is well known that Narendra Modi before he became Chief Minister and Prime Minister was an innovative Field Organizer. He has been involved in organisation work from Panchayat elections to Parliamentary elections.

 His innovative organising skills are best understood from how he, as a key member of the Gujarat BJP organisation helped the BJP win the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections in the 1980s.

His innovation in Organizational Methods was focused on two things. First was division of labor by making sure every Karyakarta had a goal driven task and every task driven goal had a Karyakarta assigned to it. The second aspect was ensuring there was an emotional connect with the campaign. He was able to inspire that emotional connect by advocating a sense of ownership towards the City and its Governance. 

The highlight of his community organizing during that campaign was micro-engagement with Karyakartas and engaged citizens through 1000 Community level Group Meetings in Ahmedabad. As a preparation for these 1000 Community level Meetings he had conducted a Training Course for 100 Karyakarta volunteers. The focus of the training was on what the Karyakarta was expected to do at a Community level Group Meeting - what issues to highlight what arguments to make ?

This was a novel and radical move as far as election strategy was concerned.

The Community level group meetings would comprise of citizen groups of 25 to 30 where articulate speakers would be encouraged to speak up on the issues concerning the city. To get women engaged in the process he had started all Women’s Group Meetings in the afternoons after 2pm. He even managed to persuade Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji to come for a Municipal Campaign.

There is something to be said of the uniqueness of Narendra Modi’s approach to Field Organizing. This blending of a structured process of volunteer training, volunteer mobilization with an emotional local connect created the ground conditions for the BJP victory in the Ahmedabad Municipal Election to provide Narendra Modi with a template for statewide Organizing of the Sanghatan with a micro-focus at the Local Level. 

Such precision was repeated election after election, be it in Gujarat, Lok Sabha Elections as a General Secretary and when Shri Modi finally joined electoral politics in 2001. His ability to connect with people and understand their needs and aspirations has been truly beneficial.

Pariksha Pe Charcha with PM Modi
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Why the PM commands an audience
April 09, 2021

His core remains rooted in ground realities. His practical knowledge emanates from the earthy wisdom that forms the bedrock of Indian civilisation.

One wonders how one of the most powerful men in the world, dealing with numerous important decisions at any given point of time, still finds time to share a piece of his life’s collected wisdom with children. He has, in the truest sense, been a guide and a mentor, giving booster shots of confidence, year after year, to students preparing for exams.

Pariksha Pe Charcha has become a breath of fresh air for students. With everyone around them in a deep frenzy about exams, results, and a career, Prime Minister Narendra Modi comes across as a man with a sense of balance and farsightedness. The life lessons he distils for children come from his lived experiences.

Be it the PM’s memory hack of involving, internalising, associating and visualising a lesson than just trying to memorise it, or his formula for parents to not only stay young but also reduce the generation gap — these are things he has observed in his vast experience of living all across India. It seems simple but is actually the result of a lifetime spent observing human behaviour. The way Modi is able to observe routine interactions and bring out such insightful lessons from them is extraordinary.

During Pariksha Pe Charcha 2021, in order to allay the fear of a student regarding difficult subjects or questions during exams, PM Modi took a leaf out of his own book. He said instead of running away from tough topics, why not take them head-on first thing in the morning? As chief minister of Gujarat and now as prime minister, he applies the same principle to his daily routine, he said. Anything that requires extra effort or seems complicated, he picks up first thing in the morning with a fresh mind. What he finds easy and has a marginal scope of error, he leaves for later. This goes against our usual instinct of picking up what is easy first and then moving on to difficult parts. But it could be because we are instinctively scared to deal with hard tasks and are more likely to procrastinate or sit on them indefinitely.

The examples he quotes give an insight into a man who has risen to the top, but only after going through his fair share of struggles and disappointments and eventually finding a way through. This is the reason there is an instant connect people feel with him as he dissects human behaviour and motivations at a deeper level.

Take, for instance, his answer when a seemingly distressed parent from Punjab asked PM Modi how to ensure that kids do what is expected of them without having to run behind him. This is, in fact, a common refrain among parents, often leading to children withdrawing into their shell or acting out in a way that bewilders parents. But the PM’s reply to the question gave enough food for thought to parents regarding where the problem emanates from.

Instead of realising a child’s unique potential, parents try to box them into pre-existing societal norms and structures. He rightly pointed out that we tend to neglect an extremely important step — training the mind towards self-motivated action. Training cannot take place in isolation. It is part of a child’s daily experience at home. By introducing children to the benefits of inculcating a habit in creative ways instead of constant nagging, parents can lay the ground for moulding their mind in a certain way. This opens up the possibility of a child feeling motivated enough to make it a part of his routine. This would not only save parents’ energy but also create a positive, more open environment for children to engage with parents without feeling stressed or threatened.

Often, to have such insights into a child’s mind, one has to be a child psychologist or someone who has children of his or her own. But PM Modi does not belong to either of these two categories. Yet, his knowledge is not derived from books, but is earned through a lifetime of lived experience, especially from his pre-CM days, when he travelled extensively all across his state and the country. His discernment of human behaviour is reflective of having spent a considerable amount of time studying families closely.

Despite holding the highest office in the country and enjoying wide-scale popularity that is achieved once in a century, PM Modi does not indulge in impractical grandstanding or complicated jargon. Even after being at the centre of the most powerful circle of people, he has a rare ability to think like a person who’s a part of every family in India.

His core remains rooted in ground realities. His voice is the voice of a common man. His values are reflective of the best values of any average Indian family. His practical knowledge emanates from the earthy wisdom that forms the bedrock of Indian civilisation.