For someone who is remembered by many titles, choosing one is ought to be difficult. An enigma who has a book titled to himself, ‘A Man for All Seasons’, the beloved Former Prime Minister of India, Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on this date leaving a legacy behind for the social wokes and those with political aspirations.
Childhood & Early Life
Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, in the family of a humble school teacher Krishna Bihari Vajpayee and Krishna Devi. He did his schooling at the Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Gwalior before pursuing a BA in Hindi, English and Sanskrit from the city’s Victoria College and post-graduation in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur.
How did Vajpayee who once was a journalist went on to become a politician?
Vajpayee’s first step into national politics started with his participation in the Quit India Movement (1942) as a Freedom Fighter. He became a student of political science and law. In college, he developed a keen interest in foreign affairs that went on to shape and nourish him over the years while representing India at various multilateral and bilateral fora in future.
During the Year of India’s Independence, Vajpayee started working as a journalist for newspapers of Deendayal Upadhyaya, namely, Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.
He joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the fore-runner of today’s Bharatiya Janata Party, in 1951 which later became a leading component of the National Democratic Alliance. As a man with impeccable oratory skills he brilliantly presented Sangh’s policies and views.
Initially, Vajpayee was appointed as the national secretary of the party and was made in charge of the northern region, based in Delhi. After the demise of Deendayal Upadhyaya, he was made the leader of the Bharatiya Janata Sangh and became its president in the year 1968.
Into the Core of Politics, towards Becoming the Prime Minister of India
Along with Lal Krishna Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat, he founded the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980 and was also appointed its first president. The party saw many setbacks during the time of Emergency and fought hard till it was able to win 88 seats in 1989.
Vajpayee is known to be a veteran Parliamentarian whose career stretches over four decades. A gold stamp in his record book is his election to the Lok Sabha – nine times and to the Rajya Sabha – twice.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee has served three terms as the Prime Minister of India;
– His first term was in 1996 which lasted for about only 13 days.
– From 1998 to 1999 Vajpayee was the Prime Minister for 13 months.
– Finally, from 1999 to 2004, Vajpayee successfully served for a full term of five years. And with this, he then became the first non-Congress Indian prime minister to serve a full five-year term in office.
Vajpayee has many feathers to his cap; Following are key highlights of attributions to this Leader of Masses
– Atal Bihari Vajpayee has been accorded with India’s second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan, as a recognition of his selfless dedication to the progress of India.
– In 2015, he was conferred India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, by the former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee.
– In 1994, he was named India’s ‘Best Parliamentarian’
More than a politician Vajpayee was a selfless social worker, forceful orator, poet and litterateur. He was a champion of women’s empowerment and social equality who ardently believed in a forward-moving India.