End of an ‘Atal’ era

जूझने का मेरा इरादा न था,
मोड़ पर मिलेंगे इसका वादा न था,
रास्ता रोक कर वह खड़ी हो गई,
यूं लगा जिंदगी से बड़ी हो गई।
मौत से ठन गई!

On December 25, 1924, in the narrow by-lanes of Gwalior, a nation reeling under the Britishers, saw the birth of a boy from just another ordinary family. Who knew in decades to come, the boy would not only lead an Independent India, but will also take it by storm.

During the era when India was pregnant with problems, and when Congress was at its peak being the sole political superpower, a poet rose and changed the way the game was being played. He called himself a politician by accident, though many would believe he was anything but that.

From two Lok Sabha seats to becoming 3-time Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee proved that his polite political instincts were not a thing to be shrugged off. A man with many shades, his speeches had humor and wittiness, he had the capability of taking on his rivals by a sword wrapped up in a velvet cloth.

Starting a political career from the times of British Raj, he was an avid learner and a fervent observer. Vajpayee was a mass leader, respected across all the political corridors. He had a personality of a consensus builder who led a successful government, marching ahead with his allies. The path of running a coalition government in a democracy like India was never easy but the founder of coalition politics knew that he would do it and with consensus.

He was the one who never favored or spread hatred. While he was in the parliament, he made it look like garden with many different blooming flowers. His speeches were looked up to and everyone listened to it with compassion. He once said in Parliament that Nehru’s personality was a combination of Winston Churchill (British PM known for his indefatigable qualities and spirit) and Neville Chamberlain (British PM known for his policy of appeasement) but Nehru complimented him by saying, “Bada zabardast bhashan diye aaj”.

That was the is aura where his criticisms were taken in a good sense. He was a leader of acceptance, loved by all, had an amazing parliamentary skills and majestic command on Hindi language, no doubt he was a poet. Many times he expressed himself his poems, I still remember the time when he angrily targeted Pakistan through one of his poems. He was not only perceived as a polite human being but also a daring head of the state, he once visited the Kargil warzone in the middle of heavy shelling from across the border. He never missed a chance to give a stern reply to the rivals of the nation, be it our neighbor Pakistan or United States of America. He always ensured that India’s image of a strong nation with great values.

His smile was his weapon, no matter how difficult the situation would be, he always had a smile on his face. He greeted everyone with similar warmth, never discriminated anyone. Even after being a strong critic of Congress and its policies, he once compared Indira Gandhi with goddess Durga. Congress on other hand complimented him of being a right person in a wrong party.

His speeches were as good as him, composed but sharp. He expressed the harshest of words with ease. Even today politicians try to learn his style of speaking. He always tried to keep himself away with all the controversies and some of the terrible incidents such as Kargil, Godhra and internal divide shook him from within. He was never in favor of any kind acts which he thought could create instability in the nation.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a gem who treated the nation as mother and walked the path with responsibility. He was a man with many shades, a journalist, poet, politician, orator, statesman and a Bharat Ratna. Demise of Shri Vajpayee is a great loss to the nation. With him an era of dignified politics has come to an end, forever.
Undeterred forever, breathe easy sir!