Mother of baby Narendra Modi wants a new name for her son — Aftab

Mother of baby Narendra Modi wants a new name for her son — Aftab

In the days following May 23, when the BJP returned to power riding on another Narendra Modi wave, came breezy news from a village in Gonda, Uttar Pradesh: of a Muslim woman who had named her child — “born on the day of the election results” — ‘Narendra Damodardas Modi’.

Less than a month later, sitting in her unplastered, two-storey house in Parsapur Mahraur village, Mehnaz Begum, 25, says she regrets naming her child that, and blames her journalist cousin for allegedly convincing her to pull off the ‘fraud’. The child, it now turns out, was born on May 12, not 23, as Mehnaz declared in an affidavit addressed to the district magistrate and submitted to Assistant Development Officer (Panchayat) Ghanshyam Pandey.

Pandey confirms that he received Mehnaz’s affidavit with the child’s name as ‘Narendra Damodardas Modi’ and that he forwarded it to the DM’s office.

“Humein kya pata tha ki itni aafat aa jayegi. Hum toh apne khala ke ladke ke behkawe mein aa gaye ( I had no idea it would become such a big issue. I fell for what my aunt’s son told me),” Mehnaz says.

She alleges her first cousin, Mushtaq Ahmed, a journalist with Hindi daily Hindustan in Gonda, not just convinced her to name the child after Modi but also spread the word that the child was born on May 23. On May 25, Hindustan’s Lucknow edition carried a story on Mehnaz and baby ‘Modi’ on page 12, with Ahmed sharing the byline with Bureau Chief Qamar Abbas.

“Mushtaq made me mug up a short speech and tell mediapersons that my son was born on May 23 and that I have decided to name him after the Prime Minister. I am illiterate and don’t even know much about Narendra Modi,” says Mehnaz as neighbours gather at her house.

Denying the allegations and accusing Mehnaz of lying about the child’s birthday, Mushtaq says on the phone: “It was not my suggestion. She told me she would name her child Narendra Damodardas Modi and I agreed to write about it in the newspaper I work for. But I didn’t know she had lied about the child’s date of birth.”

Dr Ashutosh Shukla, Superintendent of the Community Health Centre at Wazirganj, 15 km from the village where Mehnaz delivered her child, confirmed that the boy was born on May 12. “It was a normal delivery and Mehnaz was discharged from hospital on May 13,” Shukla told The Sunday Express.