PM Modi\'s mother Heeraben passes away at 99, kin join to do last rites

Modi\'s family requested people to continue with their scheduled work

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s mother Hiraben passed away at a hospital in Ahmedabad early on Friday. She was 99. Her last rites were performed at a crematorium in Gandhinagar at around 9.30 am in the presence of Prime Minister Modi, his brothers and other family members.

According to a health bulletin issued by the U.N. Mehta Heart Hospital where she was admitted on Wednesday after her health deteriorated, Hiraben Modi passed away at 3.30 am on December 30 while undergoing treatment. She would have been 100 on June 18 next.

Hiraben is survived by her six children — Narendra Modi, his four brothers Somabhai, Amrutbhai, Prahladbhai and Pankajbhai, and Vasantiben.

Leaders across the political spectrum in India, the President and the Vice-President, as well as world leaders such as the Prime Ministers of Japan, Israel and Pakistan, mourned Hiraben’s death and offered their condolences.

Immediately after reaching Ahmedabad in the morning, the Prime Minister went to the residence of his younger brother Pankaj at Raysan on the outskirts of Gandhinagar, where the mortal remains of their mother were kept. He offered floral tributes to his mother there and bowed down at her feet.

Later, Modi and his brothers shouldered her mortal remains for some distance before placing them in a hearse. Her last rites were performed at Sector 30 crematorium in Gandhinagar. Her mortal remains were consigned to the flames by the Prime Minister and his brothers. The Prime Minister later returned to New Delhi.

Earlier, Modi said on Twitter: “A great journey of 100 years has come to an end. I have witnessed three qualities in mother, a journey like that of a tapasvi (saint), a selfless worker and a life dedicated to values. When I met her on her 100th birthday she told one thing which I always remember. ‘Kam karo buddhi thi, jivan jivo suddhi thi’ (work using your brain and live life with purity).”

Gujarat CM Bhupendra Patel, former chief ministers Vijay Rupani and Shankersinh Vaghela, businessman Gautam Adani, writer and religious leader Swami Sachchidanand, Gujarat Assembly Speaker Shankar Chaudhari, Rajya Sabha member Jugalji Thakor, former Speaker Ramanlal Vora and state BJP chief C.R. Paatil were among those present for the cremation ceremony.

Modi did not let his mother’s death overshadow his official engagements. Within a couple of hours after performing the last rites, he flagged off the Vande Bharat Express linking Howrah and New Jalpaiguri, and other development projects in Kolkata via video link from Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar.

Modi was scheduled to visit West Bengal to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for projects worth more than Rs. 7,800 crores on Friday, but had to rush to Ahmedabad.

The Prime Minister arrived in Ahmedabad, performed the last rites of his mother around 9.30 am and virtually flagged off the Vande Bharat Express, inaugurated the Joka-Tatatala stretch of the Kolkata Metro and railway projects at Howrah railway station and chaired the second meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kolkata at 12 noon. On Wednesday, Modi had visited the hospital to enquire about his mother after learning about her health condition. After spending over an hour at the hospital on Wednesday, the PM had left for the national capital after doctors told him that her health was stable. He had also spoken to doctors at the hospital. The Prime Minister regularly visited Raysan and spent time with his mother Hiraben, also called Hiraba, during most of his Gujarat visits.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle with agency inputs )
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