Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Humble Homage to Bharat Ratna Vajpayee

Isey mitane ki sazish karne walo se kahedo
Chingari ka khel kahatarnak hota hae ……..

(Vajpayee’s illustrious verse addressed to Pakistan)

In another piece, he penned: Kab tak Jammu ko Yun-hi
Jalne denge
Kab tak julfo ki madira Dhalne denge
Maa beheno ka apman sahenge kab tak
Bhole pandav chup chaap rahenge kab tak …..

-         (Bhole pandav (Innocent UN; world community)….

-         And see how things have turned out to be across the globe!!
March 1999, Bharat Ratna Vajpayee and some of us
Many years ago, Vajpayee also had penned a few lines giving an insight to his mind: 
"Chhalna bhare vishwa mein...kewal sapna hi sach hota hae....
Mein bhi rota Aas Paas Jab Koi nahi hota hae (In this deceptive world, only dreams are your own; I do shed tears at times when I am alone, in isolation)".

His detractors used to call him a 'mask' of the RSS and it's ironic that 
a few years back, he fell sick and has since then confined himself in isolation.

Born on the Christmas Day, 1924, at Gwalior to a school teacher Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, his baptism into politics had come as a student when he came in contact with the RSS founder Keshavrao Hedgewar and later became a RSS 'swayemsevak'.

First sworn in as Prime Minister on May 16, 1996, Vajpayee had to resign only after 13 days. But as promised by him in Lok Sabha on May 27, 1996 debate, Vajpayee returned to the coveted office on March 19, 1998 and continued there till May 2004 when incidentally, the country voted out his government in what was described by poll pundits as a most shocking election results.

Celebrated for his pan-India acceptability and a leader with an unblemished image, Atal Behari Vajpayee would be always credited with giving a moderate veneer to BJP's hardline pro-Hindutva image.
His acceptability across the political spectrum and among the minorities always came in good stead for the BJP, he had co-founded with L K Advani, whom critics and opponents often call 'communal and reactionary'.

The founding president of BJP, when it was launched in 1980 after split from the united Janata Party of Seventies, Vajpayee was a perfect foil to his longtime compatriot L K Advani. While Advani has been a forceful speaker with cold logic and argument, Vajpayee, a genius orator was a poetic and persuasive with his characteristic humourous style.
"One big difference between Vajpayee and me was his sense of humour. It always gave me complex....Unke samne mein ek rukha-sukha admi raha (Contrast to his humour, I was always dry)," BJP patriarch L K Advani told me only on December 16. 
Advani, Jaswant Singh, Atalji

But the soft style was never a weakness of Vajpayee  as more than once he spoke firmly and many a times also differed with Advani. His reported oneliner to Advani on 1992 Babri-Temple issue, "Advaniji yad rakhiye aap...Ayodhya ja rahen haen Lanka nahi (Advani please remember you are going to Ayodhya and not Lanka)" was as famous as his assertions in Lok Sabha in 1998 defending his government's decision to conduct nuclear tests. "Should we prepare our defence only when we are attacked....should we not become guarded and self-dependent on our defence capabilities," Vajpayee had said countering high-profile anti-nuke debates from master orators like Chandrashekhar, a former PM.

Jailed during 1942 Quit India Movement- though there have been charges that he had given witness against freedom fighters, Vajpayee, a post graduate in political science from Kanpur University, had started off as a journalist with RSS magazine, 'Rashtradharam'.

A headline hunter later, Vajpayee often used to say, "I cannot quit politics because nothing is more intoxicating in life than to see your name in morning newspapers".

A person with a graceful taste for things apolitical like poetry and cinema, Vajpayee would be also be remembered for his description of P V Narasimha Rao as a 'karma-yogi' in Parliament while taking a dig at Rao's now famous oneliner: "Not to take decision is also a decision".
Friends and Foes
But Rao enjoyed a personal rapport with Vajpayee and it was Rao who once deputed Vajpayee to lead Indian delegation to the UN Human Rights Conference when Pakistan had moved a motion on Kashmir.
A foreign policy expert, Vajpayee was PM Morarji Desai's External Affairs Minister in 1970s and had left a mark with his efforts to improve ties with Pakistan
Once lauded by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru, the poet-politician and also known as
bachelor boy of Indian politics, Vajpayee had proved right Nehru's prophecy about him making it to the nation's top executive post.

About his relationship with Nehru, Vajpayee told during a parliament debate once,  
"I had once called Nehru a mix of Churchill and Chamberlain ......Later when Nehru and I met, he said it was a good speech; these days such criticism would earn one enemies". 

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