A mother’s penance creates a good human being

A mother’s penance creates a good human being

Mother – is not just any other word in the dictionary. It encompasses a whole range of emotions – love, patience, trust, and a lot more. Across the world, irrespective of country or region, children have a special affection for their mothers. A mother not only gives birth to her children, but also shapes their mind, their personality, and their self-confidence. And while doing so, mothers selflessly sacrifice their own personal needs and aspirations.

Today, I feel extremely happy and fortunate to share that my mother Smt Heeraba is entering her hundredth year. This is going to be her birth centenary year. If my father had been alive, he too would have celebrated his 100th birthday last week. 2022 is a special year as my mother’s centenary year is starting, and my father would have completed his.

Just last week, my nephew shared a few videos of Mother from Gandhinagar. A few youngsters from the society had come home, my father’s photograph was kept on a chair, there was a kirtan, and Mother was immersed in singing bhajans while playing the manjeera. She is still the same - age may have taken a toll physically, but she is as mentally alert as ever. Earlier, there was no custom of celebrating birthdays in our family. However, children from the younger generations planted 100 trees to remember my father on his birthday.

I have no doubt that everything good in my life, and all that is good in my character, can be attributed to my parents. Today, as I sit in Delhi, I am filled with memories from the past. My mother is as simple as she is extraordinary. Just like all mothers! As I write about my mother, I am sure that many of you would relate to my description of her. While reading, you may even see your own mother’s image.

A mother’s penance creates a good human being. Her affection fills a child with human values and empathy. A mother is not an individual or a personality, motherhood is a quality. It is often said that the Gods are made according to the nature of their devotees. Similarly, we experience our mothers and their motherhood according to our own nature and mindset.

My father made a machaan from bamboo sticks and wooden planks to make it easier for mother to cook food. This structure was our kitchen. Mother used to climb on the machaan to cook, and the entire family would sit on it and eat together.

Usually, scarcity leads to stress. However, my parents never let the anxiety from the daily struggles overwhelm the family atmosphere. Both my parents carefully divided their responsibilities and fulfilled them.
Like clockwork, my father used to leave for work at four in the morning. His footsteps would tell the neighbours that it is 4 AM and Damodar Kaka is leaving for work. Another daily ritual was to pray at the local temple before opening his little tea shop.

Mother was equally punctual. She would also wake up with my father, and finish many chores in the morning itself. From grinding grains to sifting rice and daal, Mother had no help. While working she would hum her favourite bhajans and hymns. She loved a popular bhajan by Narsi Mehta Ji - ‘Jalkamal chhadi jane bala, swami amaro jagse’. She also liked the lullaby, ‘Shivaji nu halardu’. Mother never expected us, children, to leave our studies and assist her with the household chores.

Her focus on cleanliness is evident even today. Whenever I go to Gandhinagar to visit her, she offers me sweets with her own hands. And just like a young child’s doting mother, she takes out a napkin and wipes my face once I finish eating. She always has a napkin or small towel tucked into her saree.

Today, whenever I meet mother, she always tells me “I don’t want to be served by anyone, I want to go with all my limbs working.” In my Mother’s life story, I see the penance, sacrifice, and contribution of India’s matrushakti. Whenever I look at Mother and crores of women like her, I find there is nothing that is unachievable for Indian women.

Ma, a very happy birthday to you. Best wishes as you start your birth centenary year.

- Prime Minister Narendra Modi

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