Wednesday, May 12, 2021
Home Opinions Atal Bihari Vajpayee - A leader like no other

Atal Bihari Vajpayee – A leader like no other

Today is the day, Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, will be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. Although it is an NDA Government giving an award to an NDA leader, almost nobody can call this a partisan decision with any sort of conviction, because this is the legacy of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as a leader who took the streets against the 1975 Emergency, as India’s first tallest opposition leader, and as a fine statesman during his tenure as Prime Minister of India.

@Bihar_ke_lala, in this post on campusghanta.com, reminisces fondly about Atal Bihari Vajpayee:

I was 12 when it happened. I was in Sitamarhi, Bihar when I saw Dadajee talking excitedly to his friends. He was obviously happy. And soon I got to know why. India had become a Nuclear power. Later Dadajee told me how it meant that we were only the 6th country to have a nuclear bomb and now anybody will have to think twice before attacking us. There was a visible excitement in the air. After 5 decades of being the third world spokesperson, India had finally graduated and started to think big.

Those times were not easy. Conducting a Nuclear bomb test had put India on the radars of other countries, and so also opposition parties in India. News of widespread sanctions had already started flowing in. The nexus of USA-Pak and Pak-China was worried and created as much noise as it could on the international forum. There was a tremendous pressure on India to sign CTBT (Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty).

But, India got through the tough times. Vajpayee personally wrote to 177 world leaders, assigned 10 MEA joint secretaries to ensure these letters were delivered within 24 hours of the tests. In addition, he was personally in touch with several key world leaders to explain to them India’s stand. Vajpayee’s speech in the parliament on the Pokhran tests made his thought process absolutely clear to everybody:

Vajpayee had always been a fighter, one to never give up. At the age of 18, he was jailed for 23 days during the Quit India Movement. He was jailed again in 1975-77 by Indira Gandhi during the emergency. An anecdote from Tavleen Singh’s book “Durbar”, from the time when Vajpayee was just released from jail after the Emergency, shows how popular he was among the people even back then:

“It was past 9 p.m. and the night had got colder although the rain had stopped. ‘Don’t worry,’ he replied with a smile, ‘ nobody will leave until Atalji speaks. Everyone here has come just to hear him.’ He pointed to a small man with steel-grey hair, the last speaker that evening. ‘Why?’ ‘Because he is the best orator in India.

It was well past 9.30 p.m. when Atalji’s turn finally came and as he rose to speak the huge crowd stood up and started to clap. Softly, hesitantly at first, then more excitedly, they shouted, ‘Indira Gandhi murdabad! Atal Behari zindabad!’ He acknowledged the slogans with hands joined in a namaste and a faint smile. Then, raising both arms to silence the crowd and closing his eyes in the manner of a practiced actor, he said, ‘Baad muddat ke mile hain deewane.’ (It has been an age since we whom they call mad have had the courage to meet) He paused. The crowd went wild. When the applause died he closed his eyes again and allowed himself another long pause before saying, ‘Kehne sunne ko bahut hain afsane.’ (There are tales to tell and tales to hear). The cheering was more prolonged, the last line of a verse that he told me later he had composed on the spur of the moment. ‘Khuli hawa mein zara saans to le lein, kab tak rahegi aazadi kaun jaane.’ (But first let us breathe deeply of the free air for we know not how long our freedom will last). The crowd was now hysterical.

Despite the night being so chilly, and a thin drizzle starting again, nobody left. They listened to Atalji in complete silence.”

As a Prime Minsiter, Vajpayee took India to new heights in almost every field. Vajpayee’s ambitious project of National Highway Development, commonly known as Golden Quadrilateral Project, connecting Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata  & Chennai, was completed to an extent of almost 80% under NDA. During his tenure, the Government pushed aggressively for economic reforms and the country’s GDP growth accelerated at record levels, exceeding 6-7% Increasing foreign investment, modernization of public and industrial infrastructure, the creation of jobs, a rising high-tech and IT industry and urban modernization and expansion improved the nation’s national image. Good crop harvests and strong industrial expansion also helped the economy. The Government reformed the tax system, increased the pace of reforms and pro-business initiatives, major irrigation and housing schemes and so on.

And for those, who arent impressed by cold numbers and facts, Vajpayee had another facet. He was a poet. His poem on Pakistan is still vivid in our memories, just like his unmatchable contributions to India.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

Related Articles

Trending now

Tikri gang rape: ‘Farmer leader’ Yogendra Yadav interrogated for two hours by Police

Along with Yogendra Yadav, Yogita Suhag, another 'activist' named in the FIR was also interrogated for three hours.

Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin gets a nod for phase 2 and 3 trials on 2-18 years-olds

SEC allows Phase 2 and Phase human clinical trials for Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for children between 2 to 18 years

Turkey Pres Erdogan fans conflict, dials up Muslim leaders to take strong stance against Israel

Recep Tayyip Erdogan invokes the 'ummah', calls upon Muslim leaders to take stand against Israel

Watch: Israel’s Iron Dome intercepts hundreds of rockets launched by the Palestinian terror group Hamas

The high-tech 'Iron Dome' is a short-range air-defence system designed to intercept rockets, artillery, and mortars. The surface-to-air missile system has been deployed by Israel Defence Forces since 2011 and has helped reduce casualties from rocket attacks against Israeli cities.

Pakistani actress Veena Malik’s justifies genocide of Jews as Israel-Palestine conflict escalates

Veena Malik's Twitter account has been withheld in India owing to a legal demand.

‘UP going the last mile to stop COVID-19,’ WHO lauds Yogi Govt’s efforts to tackle spread: Here is what the UP Govt is doing...

Efforts of Yogi Govt to tackle the Coronavirus surge gets acclamation from the World health organisation (WHO).

Recently Popular

Israel spy agency Mossad’s parody account pokes fun at Bollywood entertainer Swara Bhasker over her ‘#FreePalestine’ campaign

Swara Bhasker had posted a tweet calling Israel apartheid and terrorist state following the clashes at the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem

As Netizens trend #ArrestMunmunDutta, the actor apologises, says she was misinformed and did not intend to use casteist slur: Details

Actor Munmun Dutta, most famously known for playing the character of 'Babita Ji in 'Taarak Mehta ka Ooltah Chasmah', today posted a statement on Twitter, apologising

NCP supremo Sharad Pawar believes he committed a big mistake by making Uddhav Thackeray the CM of Maharashtra: Report

A report published in Marathi daily Tarun Bharat said that Sharad Pawar conveyed to Sanjay Raut that he made a big mistake by making Uddhav Thackeray the chief minister of Maharashtra.

BMC chief explains why it is not the Modi govt but the states that need to be blamed for the oxygen crisis

BMC chief said that mismanagement of states is responsible for the oxygen crisis and increased number of SOS calls

Cartoonist gets Twitter notice for a caricature of Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray: Details

The cartoonist took to Twitter to share the copy of the notice he received from the legal department of the microblogging website.

Iran: 20 year old youth Alireza Fazeli Monfared beheaded by half brother, cousins for being gay

Alireza Fazeli Monfared, a 20 year old Iranian youth, was murdered by his brother and cousins due to his sexual orientation.
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

254,924FansLike
541,882FollowersFollow
24,300SubscribersSubscribe