Considered the platinum standard of leadership, Vajpayee became the first politician to truly challenge the legacy of the Congress
The Hush Post: One born on the Christmas of 1924 and the other slightly elder and both while flirting with Communism went to jail in 1942 as part of Quit India movement. And these men were Prem and Atal, the latter of the two became India’s 10th Prime Minister, Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
About eight years later, he dropped out of Law College and joined Rashtriya Swayam Sevak RSS. Atal Bihari came close to Shyama Prasad Mukherjee during that period.
In 1957, when he debuted in the parliament, then prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru predicted while introducing this young politician to a foreign dignitary, “This young man will one day become prime minister.”
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s oratorial skills at the United Nations General Assembly was much acclaimed during the prime ministership of Morarji Desai.
Later, he served as PM for 13 days in 1996, then for 13 months in 1998 and for five years from 1999.
Considered the platinum standard of leadership in the ruling BJP, Vajpayee became the first politician to truly challenge the legacy of the Congress and last the entire term of five years.
In his 47 years in parliament, the former prime minister captivated the nation with his strange wit and oratory peppered with poetry. Once he was asked as to how will he run such a khichdi coalition and he answered, “Hum Khichdi nahi kheer banayenge.”
While on his way out after being made the PM for 13 days, he said, “Satta ka khel chalega (the game of power will continue). But this country should survive, its democracy should survive,” Vajpayee said in a speech before his government faced a trust vote in May 1996.
Another fiery speech of his from the same time fired at the opposition was, “This parliament has many single man parties. The moment they reach Delhi, these several single members become one. We bow to such a majority but we don’t know how such a government will run. Mister Speaker, this is my resignation and I am going to submit it to the President right away,” Vajpayee said in the memorable speech way back in the 1990s.
In 1999, his government lost a no-confidence motion by one vote. During his speech, he did not once attack Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who had declared to the media, only to regret it for years to come –“We have 272.”
During his prime ministerial days, he often spent time at a small Himachal village called Prini in Manali and devoured his favourite prawns and Chinese food.
Poetry was his most preferred expression and telegraphed his message in a few well-chosen words more effectively than a one-hour speech. Not many would know that his poem Kya Khoya kya Paya was used by Bollywood film Producer Yash Chopra and sung by Jagjit Singh in a ghazal music video featuring Shahrukh Khan.
In 2009, he suffered a stroke after which dementia set in and then started multiple issues with his body, including diabetes, lung problem which culminated in his passing away today at 5.05 pm.
Here is a poem he wrote in the US while undergoing a renal treatment in 1999. A poem challenging death.
Maut se than gyi!
Jujhne ka mera irada na tha, mod par milenge iska vaada na tha,
Raasta rok kar khadi ho gyi, yun lga zindagi se badi ho gyi.
Maut ki umar kya hai? Do pal bhi nhi, Zindagi silsila, aaj kal ki nhi.
Mai ji bhar jiya, Mai man se maru, lautkar aunga, kooch se kyu daru?
Tu dabe paun, chori chipe se na aa, Saamne se waar kar phir mujhe aazma,
Maut se bekhabar, Zindagi ka safar, sham har surmai, raat bansi ka swar.
Baat aise nhi ki koi gam hi nhi, dard apne-paraye kuch kam bhi nhi.
Pyaar itna paraiyon se mujhko mila, Na apon se se baki hai koi gila.
Har chunauti se do haath maine kiye, Aandhiyon mai jalye hain bujhte diye.
Aaj jhakjhorta tez toofan hai, Naav bhanwaron ki bahoon mai mehmaan hai.
Paar pane ka kaayam magar hausla, dekh dekh tewar toofan ka, tauriyaan tan gayi.
Maut se than gyi!