On 16th August 2018, former Indian Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, passed away following a long term illness, at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), in Delhi.
Early Life and Family:
- He was 93 years old. He was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. His father Shri Krishna Bihari Vajpayee was a school teacher and a poet.
- He did his schooling from Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gorkhi in Gwalior. He graduated in Hindi, Sanskrit and English from Victoria College in Gwalior.
- He did his Master of Arts (MA) in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur.
- He was a bachelor. He is survived by his adopted daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya.
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee entered politics during the Quit India movement in 1942. He was jailed for 23 days for opposing the British rule.
- He was initially inclined towards Communism. Later, he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In 1950s, he quit law school and started running an RSS magazine.
- He was one of the founding members of Jan Sangh, the parent organization of BJP, in 1951. In 1957, he won his first election to Parliament from Balrampur.
- He became the president of Jan Sangh in 1968 following the death of Deendayal Upadhyaya.
- He was elected 10 times to the Lok Sabha from 4 different States from 1957 to 2009. He was the Member of the Rajya Sabha twice.
- From 1966 to 1967 he was the Chairman of Committee on Government Assurances. From 1967 to 1970 he was Chairman of Public Accounts Committee.
- In 1975, he was arrested during the Emergency period declared by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
- In 1977, Jan Sangh merged with other opposition parties to form Janata Party. In the 1977, Janata Party won the general elections and Morarji Desai became India’s first non-Congress prime minister.
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the External Affairs Minister on his cabinet. He became the first external affairs minister to deliver a speech in the UN Assembly in Hindi.
- In 1977, Janata Party was dissolved after Morarji Desai’s resignation as prime minister.
- In 1980, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and other RSS, Jan Sangh members formed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Atal Bihari Vajpayee became BJP’s first president.
- In 1996, Atal Bihari Vajpayee became Prime Minister of India. However, he held the position for only 13 days due to lack of majority.
- In 1998, he was again elected as Prime Minister. But his term ended in 13 months, due to lack of stable majority.
- In 1999, he was re-elected as Prime Minister and served a full five-year term. He was the first non-Congress Prime Minister to serve a full five-year term.
- He was also the first BJP leader to become Prime Minister of India. He also served three terms as Prime Minister of India (first term: 1996, second term: 1998–1999, third term: 1999–2004).
- In 2005, he retired from politics.
Some of Atal Bihari Vajpyee’s Accomplishments as Prime Minister:
- On 11th May 1998, India made its first official nuclear tests in Pokhran, Rajasthan, under the Prime Ministership of Atal Bihari Vajpyee.
- In 1998, he launched the Sada-e-Sarhad, a bus service between New Delhi (India) and Lahore (Pakistan). Later, the service was, stopped after the 2001 terror attack on the Indian parliament.
- In 1999, after his government’s compensation to families of Kargil martyrs and public funerals for soldiers, then US President Bill Clinton ordered Pakistan to withdraw their troops.
- In 2004, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf met in Islamabad, Pakistan. This led to Musharraf’s commitment of not allowing terrorists to use territory under Pakistan’s control to act against India.
Awards and Honours:
- Padma Vibhushan – 1992
- Doctorate in Literature (D-Lit) from Kanpur University – 1993
- Lokmanya Tilak Award – 1994
- Outstanding Parliamentarian Award – 1994
- Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant Award – 1994
- Bharat Ratna – 2015
- Bangladesh Muktijuddho Sanmanona (Bangladesh Liberation War honour) – 2015
- Screen Award for Best Non-Film Lyrics (for his album Nayi Disha) – 2000
His birthday (December 25) is observed as the Good Governance Day in India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched this day in 2014.
Some of the books written by Atal Bihari Vajpyee:
- Meri Sansadiya Yatra
- Meri Ekyavan Kavitayen (poetry)
- Sankalp Kaal
- Four Decades in Parliament
- Lok Sabha Mein Atalji
- Mrityu Ya Hatya
- Amar Balidan
- Kaidi Kaviraj Ki Kundalian
- New Dimensions of India’s Foreign Policy
- Jan Sangh Aur Mussalman
- Sansad Mein Teen Dashak
- Amar Aag Hai
- Kya Khoya Kya Paya: Atal Bihari Vajapeyi, Vyaktitva Aur Kavitaem
- Kuchh Lekh Kuchh Bhaashan
- Bindu-Bindu Vichar
- Gathbandhan Ki Rajneeti
- Nayi Chunouti : Naya Avasar
- Na Dainyam Na Palaynam
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a leader with great oratory and poetic skills, apart from his accomplishments in politics.