Asian of the Year 2014: 10 things about Indian PM Narendra Modi

1. Mr Modi hails from a middle-class Gujarati family who ran a tea stall. In his younger days, he and his brother sold tea at the State Transport Office in Ahmedabad and that was the time when he learnt what hardship really meant. It made him more determined and resolute in his approach towards life.

2. He has been a patriot since young. During the India-Pakistan War in 1965, at the age of 15, he volunteered to serve the soldiers in transit at the railway stations. In 1967, at age 17, he served the people in Gujarat who were affected by floods.

3. He has a close relationship with his mother and always seeks her blessings whenever he undertakes any new initiative - political or otherwise.

4, He doesn’t drink or smoke and is a vegetarian.

5. For the last four decades, Mr Modi has followed a nine-day fast during the Navratri festival, when India's majority Hindus worship goddess Durga. He restricts himself to just a liquid diet, drinking lemonade with some honey and a cup of tea every day. He persisted with this ritual even during his maiden trip to the United States in September

6. He is always seen with his beard neatly trimmed and clothes that are stylishly cut, even if they are traditional. He has attracted not just national but also international attention for his colourful wardrobe, which consists of kurtas, vests and Indian-style high-neck suits called bandhgala. The perfect fit over his shoulders, some say, suggests that considerable amount of time was spent on fittings.

7. Known for being media savvy, he once attended a three-month course in the United States on public relations and image management.

8. Be it Facebook, Twitter or Google+, Mr Modi does not miss an opportunity to make his presence felt on social media. After winning over fans on Twitter and Facebook, he is now on Instagram sharing photographs.

9. He sleeps only 3-1/2 hours a day and admits to being a workaholic. He has no time for any hobbies except early-morning yoga.

10. He is a prolific writer and poet. He likes to give recitations of his poems and frequently quotes from them in his speeches.

SOURCE: HINDUSTAN TIMES, TIMES OF INDIA, REUTERS, WASHINGTON POST, THE STRAITS TIMES ARCHIVES