Not all Journalists have the same luck like the former South Asia bureau chief of The Economist, Adam Roberts, who has had the luck to interview India’s PM Narendra Modi for multiple times.
Adam Roberts in his recently released book Superfast Primetime Ultimate Nation talks about the multiple interviews he had with the Indian PM in his five years stay in India.
Some of these interviews recorded were during the PM’s former role as Gujarat’s CM but also includes many interviews after he became the PM.
The book reveals the never seen or heard facts and opinions of the PM.
Roberts revealed that Modi was very fond of playing games as a child, played Kho-kho as a kid with childhood friends along with swimming in the lake. He also revealed that PM enjoyed cooking and won several prizes for his acting skills in his childhood.
One his friends, Dasharathbhai Patel adds: “Modi would always be the Captain. We were his underlings.”
A neighbor of Modi, Kamuben Modi revealed the Modi family “had no attic, no proper roof, just a tin roof.” Recalling Modi’s childhood she said: “I remember he would never get beaten by other children, he would beat the others” adding that “He did not work, not regularly on the tea stall. The mother wanted him to help, but he didn’t.”
Talking about Modi’s fascination with America and his visits to the country as a young man, Roberts says on one occasion “he joined a ‘young diplomat’ course for a month”.
Adding that “You could buy a ticket for $500 that lasted a month and allowed you to take as many trips as you like”.
Modi explained it as “I used to book long journeys to travel at night, so I could sleep on the plane and avoid the cost of hotels. I travelled and travelled, I explored America. I visited 29 states.”
Roberts also said that Modi and Obama “exchanged anecdotes about standing outside the White House, neither dreaming that each would find his way inside.”
Speaking about Modi’s visit to China, Roberts said Modi “spoke of his affection for China.”
The PM himself speaking about his first visit to China said, “That was a spiritual journey which will leave an indelible mark on not only this life but also on my next.”
Back in 2015, speaking of Pakistan, Modi told Roberts, “I keep trying to find new pathways, new avenues, to reach out to Pakistan.”
Proud of his achievements so far as Indian’s PM, Modi said, “Look at any aspect of economic growth, we have taken so many steps, all vigorously implemented. We have reclaimed the position of “‘I’ in the BRICS, in terms of being an engine of economic growth.”
However, Roberts adds all this “must be taken with a deep slurp of salty lime juice”.
When asked about his silence on various issues, PM answered “I do speak quite a lot on these issues. Maybe not in the exact words that people want to hear it in, but I am absolutely committed to the integrity of the country, to the harmonious relations in society”.
Roberts to that replied saying “it is extremely rare to hear the Prime Minister speak up for freedom of expression or support diversity of opinion.”