“With the banner of Nationalism in our hearts to build up
a Mighty India, let us march forward on the path of Duty. This
is no time for rest; this is no occasion for faltering. Let us
go onwards and onwards, till we reach the Goal.” (Atal Bihari
Shri. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the 10th Prime Minister of India,
is a multi faceted political personality. A brilliant parliamentarian,
orator, poet and journalist, Freedom fighter and social worker,
Refers as one of the most popular and charismatic political leaders
of India, Vajpayee also holds the tiltle of being the only prime
minister outside Indian national Congress party to serve a full
five year term.
He was born on 25th December 1924, at Gwalior,
Madhya Pradesh to parents Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, a school teacher
and Krishna Devi. He was educated at Victoria alias Laxmibai College,
Gwalior and D.A.V. College, Kanpur and holds a Postgraduate degree
in Political Science.
Shri Vajpayee's first brush with nationalist
politics was in his student days, when he joined the Quit India
Movement of 1942 which hastened the end of British colonial rule.
A student of political science and law, it was in college that
he developed a keen interest in foreign affairs, an interest he
has nourished over the years and put to skilful use while representing
India at various multilateral and bilateral foray. For a while
he studied law, but midstream he chose to become a journalist.
This choice was largely influenced by the fact that as a student
he had been an activist in India's struggle for freedom. Shri
Vajpayee had embarked upon a journalist's career, which was cut
short in 1951 when he joined Bharatiya Jana Sangh.
As a founder-member of the Jana Sangh, 1951-1977
(now known as Bharatiya Janatha Party) he served as the party's
president and took it to new heights. He served as the BJP's president
for the first five years of its existence, laying the foundation
for the party's awesome growth in the last one decade. As a parliamentarian,
he has been elected to the Lok Sabha nine times and to the Rajya
Sabha twice. He is the only parliamentarian elected from four
different States at different times namely UP, Gujarat, MP and
Delhi. He served as External Affairs Minister in the Morarji Desai
Government from 1977 to 1979. He was elected to various positions
including Prime Minister and Leader of Opposition (1993), Lok
Sabha; Chairperson of a number of parliamentary committees. He
served as Prime Minister for a short stint in 1996. Later on March
19, 1998, he took charge as Prime Minister of India and again
on October 13, 1999 for the second consecutive term as the head
of a new coalition government, the National Democratic Alliance.
He is the only Prime Minister since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to
have become Prime Minister of India through three successive mandates.
Apart from politics, Shri Vajpayee has participated
in various social and cultural activities. The Krishna Bihari
Vajpayee Trust set up by him in the name of his late father promotes
a number of constructive activities for the uplift of the deprived
and poor as well as children. He has been a Member of the National
Integration Council since 1961. Some of his other associations
include being President of All India Station Masters and Assistant
Station Masters Association (1965-70); Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay
Smarak Samiti (1968-84); Deen Dayal Dham, Farah, Mathura, U.P;
and Janmabhomi Smarak Samiti, 1969 onwards.
Vajpayee has many literary and artistic accomplishments
to his credit. Well known and respected for his love for poetry
and as an eloquent speaker, Shri Vajpayee is known to be a voracious
reader. He edited Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya
(a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun. His published
works include 'Meri Ikkyavan Kavitayen' and 'Amar Aag Hai' (collection
of poems), 'Sankalp Kaal', 'Shakti-se-Shanti', 'Meri Sansadiya
Yatra' (in four volumes), 'Four Decades in Parliament' (speeches
(1957-95) in three volumes), 'Lok Sabha mein Atalji' (a collection
of speeches); 'Mrityu Ya Hatya', 'Amar Balidan', 'Kaidi Kaviraj
Ki Kundalian' (a collection of poems written in jail during Emergency),
'New Dimensions of India's Foreign Policy' (a collection of speeches
delivered as External Affairs Minister during 1977-79); 'Jan Sangh
Aur Mussalman' etc .'Baapji' as affectionately called by his close
friends and relatives is a family man. He finds time to spend
with his adopted daughters Namita and Neharika in between his
hectic schedules. He is fond of Indian music and dance. He loves
nature and one of his favorite retreats is Manali in Himachal
India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma
Vibhushan, was conferred upon him in 1992 in recognition of his
selfless dedication to his first and only love, India, and his
more than half-a-century of service to society and the nation.
In 1994, he was named India's 'Best Parliamentarian'. Over the
decades, he has emerged as a national leader who has mass appeal
and commands respect for his liberal worldview and commitment
to democratic ideals.