For sometime he studied, but in the midstream he chose to become a journalist, he worked for Rashtra Dharma, a monthly and Panchjanya, a weekly, and Swadesh and Veer Arjuan, both dailies.
The 75 year old Prime Minister Mr. Vajpayee, whom Jawaharlal Nehru had once introduced to Winston Churchill as the future Prime Minister of this country 40 years ago has really travelled a long way to emerge as India’s towering politician, a leader who commands respect and admiration not only of his party men but even of his rivals, not to speak of million of his admirers across the world.
The man is loved for his qualities of head and heart, his poetry, his integrity boldness, patriotism, qualities of forget and forgive, and the principle of consensus. He is one of the few who can brave the worst travails in life and political career, and came out unscathed.
Mr. Vajpayee’s political career started when he was elected to Lok Sabha from Balrampur (UP) in 1957. He won from Gwalior in 1971 from New Delhi in 1977 and 1980 and from Lucknow 1989, 1991, 1998 and 1999.
Mr. Vajpayee was the leader of Jansangh Parliamentary party from 1957 to 1977, president of Jansangh from 1968 to 1973 and founder president of Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) which was born after the split of Janta Party that stormed to the power on the crest, of anti-emergency wave in 1977.
During the dark days of emergency, Vajpayee was in detention from 1957 to 1977 and when Janta government headed by Morarji Desai came to power Vajpayee became the external affairs minister.
He was one of the first to voice India’s opposition to the unequal Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and he made it clear that his country would sign NPT only when the nuclear power gave convincing evidence of their desire to ban and destroy nuclear weapons.
As a parliamentarian Mr. Vajpayee has been a member of Lok Sabha nine times and of Rajya Sabha twice. As the leader of the opposition in the tenth and eleventh Lok Sabha he served on various parliamentary committees.
Twice he led Indian delegation to the United Nations and he was the member of Indian delegation to the UN at least seven times. The nation has honoured him with Padam Vibhushan and Best Parliamentarian Award.
The elevation of Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister of India on March 19, 1998, nearly 22 month after he had to resign as prime minister for lack of adequate number of votes for his newly formed government, was the reward of his sterling qualities of patience, perseverance, liberalism and lack of bitterness even for his worst critics.
After coming into power Vajpayee had to face problems but he faced all the problems with courage and sincerity.
May 11, 1998 was truly a golden day when Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced to the nation and rest of the world the successful underground nuclear test in Pokhran.
At the same time he also made it clear India’s stand on nuclear weapons that she wanted peace, harmony and has no intention of becoming a nuclear power.
Perhaps Mr. Vajpayee innate love for arts, literature and culture has made him totally different breed of politician, a true gentleman with deep compassion and integrity he has shown that to gain popularity, it is not necessary to stoop to cheap popular gimmicks.
He has taken ups and downs of his political life with great equanimity and bears malice towards none. He is among the very few politicians who know how to respect the viewpoint of their opponents and at the same time, expose his rivals to the full view of the public without leaving any trail of bitterness. He is truly a parliamentarian par excellence.
Besides being a politician he is an excellent poet and writer. His poems are patriotic carrying message of love, peace harmony and goodwill.
True to his name, Atalji is an eminent national leader, an erudite politician, a selfless social worker, forceful orator, poet, journalist and indeed a multifaceted personality. He is ideal for the masses.
Mr. Vajpayee is basically a man of peace. His ‘Bus Diplomacy’ whereby he travelled to Pakistan in a bus to seek lasting peace with Pakistan, India’s erstwhile part (though he was betrayed by Kargil) and his declaration of no-first use of nuclear option, as also destruction of nuclear arsenal provided there is full disarmament of nuclear weapons, are some of illustrations of his peaceful intentions.
No wonder NDA won a majority support in 1999 elections and Mr. Vajpayee became 13th Prime Minister of the country and occupied the office till May 2004. It was his third stint as Prime Minister since 1996.
The clear message that clearly springs from his deeds is that even under the most trying circumstances we must never lose our values that have so long been our guiding star.
“When you get into a light and everything goes against you, and it seems as though you could not hold in a minute longer, never give up then for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.” This is the light imparted by and emanates from Atalji’s personality.
In 2004 Lok Sabha Election NDA of which leader was Atal Bihari Vajpayee got a stunning defeat in the hands of Congress and its allies and thus the opportunity of Vajpayee becoming prime minister of India fourth time was lost.
NDA BJP alliance which had more than 300 seats in the 13th Lok Sabha managed only to secure 185 seats far behind the magic number of majority. On the counting day of votes as the reports of NDA defeat paired in Vajpayee and his entire Cabinet decided to step down.
Undoubtedly during his premiership Atalji did some excellent works foremost of them was the improvement of relationship with India’s archrival Pakistan. On International for he did every possible things which might project India in a good light before the world.
He is not now the prime minister but his deeds are indelibly imprinted on the minds of assesses and his name will be written in golden letters in the history of India.