On 16th August 2018, one of the most beloved Prime Ministers of India, Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away. He was a great leader who led India through the 1999 Kargil stand off and was the first Prime Minister not from the Indian National Congress who served a full term in office (1999-2004). I’m sure you guys already know what I feel about congress being in power.
The reason his death is so moving to me is the attachment I had with him while growing up. He was the first Prime Minister whose name I had to learn when I was a young school kid. Along with erstwhile President APJ Abdul Kalam, his name was taken in the same breath as the great freedom fighters like Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose.
No one ever uttered any bad words about him, such is the respect commanded by the man. Rightfully so, as he had a personality so dominant yet at the same time so magnanimous that any person would let out an awe in admiration of him.
Politics is a very controversial topic when it comes to morality. It is almost universally accepted that politicians are nothing but power hungry manics who would go to any lengths to avoid responsibility for failures and would be the first ones to embezzle public money.
However, Atal Ji was never one of them. In the limited time he was at the helm of affairs, he always put the well being of the nation at the foremost. An astute fellow, he anticipated the empty threats of the US and China when India’s initial nuclear tests were being done back in 1998.
Never succumbing to the international pressure, he went ahead with the program and today, it is because of his leadership that no nation in the world can threaten India with nuclear attacks without anticipating any repercussions.
His leadership was further solidified when he again led India in a fierce fightback against the military aggressions of Pakistan in the Kargil War of 1999. This swayed the public opinion firmly in his favour and his leadership which was being dictated by the whims of scavenging allied parties up until that point gained a simple majority, ensuring that he gets to serve one full term at the office.
A confirmed bachelor, he was a devoted son of Mother India. However, his life didn’t revolve just around politics. He was a noted poet and author and has had many of his works published. Bachelorhood didn’t deter him from being a loving father, as he adopted and raised a daughter.
Bestowed with awards such as the Bharat Ratna in 2015 and Padma Vibhushan in 1992, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee was one of the most decorated and accomplished Prime Ministers India ever had the honour of having.
As we mourn his death, I would like to say that it is humbling to see such an overwhelming response of the common public. As long as we keep getting people like him in the world, things are going to be all right.
At the end, I would just like to link a very well written poem in the great man’s honour.