Poverty is multidimensional. It extends beyond money incomes to education, health care, political participation and advancement of one’s own culture and social organisation.
–Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Former Prime Ministers and the “Bhishma Pitamah” of Indian Politics, Atal Bihari Vajpayee may no longer be involved in active politics but the countrymen remember the legacy one of India’s most admired political leader. A poet by heart and an orator par excellence, Vajpayee’s fiery speeches and witty replies often left the listeners in awe and the opposition in jitters.
Atal Behari Vajpayee was born on 25th December, 1924 (according to his certificate it is 1926) at Shinde Cantt in Madhya Pradesh. Shri Vajpayee is the beloved son of Shri Krishan Behari Bajpayee and Smt. Krishna Devi. His father, Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, was a poet and a schoolmaster in his hometown.
His activism started with the Arya Kumar Sabha of Gwalior, the youth wing of the Arya Samaj, of which he became the General Secretary in 1944. He also joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) as a swayamsevak in 1939. Influenced by Babasaheb Apte, he attended the Officers Training Camp of the RSS during 1940-44 and became a “full-time worker” in 1947, technically a pracharak. He gave up studying law due to the partition riots. He was sent as a vistarak (probationary pracharak) to Uttar Pradesh and quickly began working for the newspapers of Deendayal Upadhyaya, Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun. Vajpayee never married and has remained a bachelor his entire life.
He is the first Prime Minister of India who is regard as non-controversial heart-throb of the country. He is held in high esteem not only by his party men but also by other members of the Indian polity. Even the ex-Prime Ministers of India- Shri Shivraj Patil (the ex-Lok Sabha Speaker) and Shri Ram Vilas Paswan (Dalit Leader) have felt charmed by his speeches. From the political standpoint, even the stalwarts of other rivals factions have been full of commendations for him.
Undoubtedly, Shri Vajpayee is a great orator. He stands out to be a distinguished man in respect of his choice of words, effective pauses in between, sweet touch of sarcasm and humour, the style of speaking and above all, the quality of judging the moods of his listeners.
Though Shri Vajpayee is a staunch and devout Hinduan epitome of Hindu tradition- yet the people of minority communities repose their unassailable confidence in him. He belongs to all and all belong to him.
He is a lover of Hindi languages but it doesn’t mean that he is averse to other languages. He is a versatile and dynamic personality. He is a writer, a journalist and an instant composer, in verses. He has been a seasoned Parliamentarian for the past forty years.
Shri Vajpayee is the first figure, who addresses the U.N.O. in Hindi on 4th October, 1977. He was adorned with “Padma Vibhushan” by the Indian Govt. on 25th January, 1992. This was followed by another honour bestowed upon him by the U.P. Hindi Sansthan on 28th September, 1992. And then on 16th August, 1994 “Govinnd Vallabh Pant Award” was conferred upon him for his being the Best Parliamentarian. Once he said on his birthday, “Every year, on 25th December, I scale a new round of life. On this turning point of my life, I wrestle with myself more than with others.” The following words of his go to prove that he is a true humanitarian and a very sensitive soul:
“O Lord! Never lift me up to such a mighty height as to make me forget to embrace my fellow-beings”.
Vajpayee has said about his poetry, “My poetry is a declaration of war, not an exordium to defeat. It is not the defeated soldier’s drumbeat of despair, but the fighting warrior’s will to win. It is not the dispirited voice of dejection but the stirring shout of victory.”
On 25 December 2014 the office of President of India announced the Bharat Ratna award, India’s highest civilian honour, to Vajpayee. In a special gesture, President of India conferred Bharat Ratna to Atal Bihari Vajpayee in his residence on 27 March 2015. His birthday, 25 December, was declared “Good Governance Day“.