Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee, remembering India’s 10th Prime Minister
New Delhi, Aug 16: Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the 10th Prime Minister of India. He has had three terms as Prime Minister, the first two that lasted 13 days and 13 months respectively. He became the first non-Congress PM to complete a full term when he was elected in 1998 and demoted office in 2004.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee. His father, Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, was a poet and a schoolmaster in his hometown.
He did his schooling from the Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gorkhi, Bara, Gwalior. Vajpayee attended Gwalior's Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College) and graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He completed his post-graduation with an M.A. in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur, and was awarded a first-class degree.
After flirting briefly with communism, he chose to support the RSS and Jan Sangh. Vajpayee dropped out of law school to run an RSS magazine in the early 1950s.
He took part in the Quit India Movement of 1942-1945. Vajpayee became a close follower and aide to Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS). Vajpayee, a bachelor also earned repute as a famous poet
Vajpayee won his first election to Parliament in 1957. He has been a parliamentarian for 10 terms which began in 1957 and concluded in 2009.
Vajpayee had earned fame as external affairs minister in Morarji Desai's government.He became the first person to deliver a speech in the UN in Hindi.
His term as Prime Minister was a memorable one. India witnessed major incidents such as the Pokhran nuclear tests during his tenure. During his stint, India also witnessed the Khandahar hijack, Parliament attack and the Kargil war.
Vajpayee was conferred Padma Vibhushan in 1992 and bestowed with the Bharat Ratna in 2014.