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Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Atal Bihari Vajpayee




Atal Bihari Vajpayee, born on 25 December 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, was a prominent Indian politician and poet. He came from a Kanyakubja Brahmin family, with his parents Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee playing significant roles in his early life. Vajpayee's educational journey began at Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Gwalior and continued at Anglo-Vernacular Middle School in Barnagar, Ujjain district. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Hindi, English, and Sanskrit from Victoria College, Gwalior, and completed a Master of Arts in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur.

Vajpayee's political activism started in Gwalior with Arya Kumar Sabha, the youth wing of Arya Samaj, where he served as general secretary in 1944. He joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in 1939, becoming a swayamsevak (volunteer) and later a pracharak (full-time worker) by 1947. His early political career included working for Deendayal Upadhyaya's publications, such as Rashtradharma, Panchjanya, and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun.

Although the RSS did not participate in the Quit India Movement, Vajpayee and his brother Prem were briefly arrested in 1942. His political journey deepened with his arrest during Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's Emergency in 1975. After the Emergency, Vajpayee's Bharatiya Jana Sangh merged with other parties to form the Janata Party, which won the 1977 elections. Vajpayee served as the Minister of External Affairs and delivered a landmark speech at the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.

Following the collapse of the Janata Party in 1979, former Bharatiya Jana Sangh members, including Vajpayee, formed the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980, with Vajpayee as its first president. His leadership saw the BJP shift towards a moderate stance, advocating for Gandhian Socialism. Despite early electoral setbacks, Vajpayee's moderate approach and oratory skills won him widespread respect.

In 1995, Vajpayee was announced as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the 1996 elections. Although the BJP emerged as the single largest party, Vajpayee's government lasted only 16 days due to a lack of majority support. In 1998, after the fall of two United Front governments, Vajpayee returned as Prime Minister, forming the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and leading India through significant events, including the Pokhran-II nuclear tests.

During his tenure, Vajpayee emphasized economic reforms, infrastructure development, and foreign policy initiatives. His government introduced the National Highways Development Project and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, promoting education. Vajpayee sought to improve relations with Pakistan, exemplified by his bus journey to Lahore and the Lahore Declaration. Despite these efforts, the Kargil War in 1999 and the 2001 Indian Parliament attack tested his leadership.

Vajpayee's health deteriorated after a stroke in 2009, leading to his withdrawal from active politics. He remained a revered figure in Indian politics, with his birthday declared as Good Governance Day by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014. In 2015, Vajpayee was awarded India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away on 16 August 2018 at the age of 93. His funeral, attended by thousands, including Prime Minister Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, was a testament to his enduring legacy. Vajpayee's contributions to Indian politics, his efforts to foster peace and economic growth, and his poetic soul have left an indelible mark on the nation's history. Throughout his life, Vajpayee received numerous accolades, including the Bharat Ratna and various awards for his parliamentary contributions. His leadership style, marked by humility, vision, and a commitment to democratic principles, continues to inspire future generations.


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Place of Birth: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh



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Date of Birth: 25 December, 1924

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