Born On: 25 December, 1924
Born In: Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh in India
Being a multi-talented political personality, Atal Bihari Vajpayee has served as a member of the Indian parliament for almost 50 years. After Jawaharlal Nehru's tenure, Vajpayee is the only other Prime Minister to hold his office three consecutive times. From this politician's journey, it can be seen that he is one of the most respectable and admirable people in India. Vajpayee has been a participant in a number of social activities and has served as a member of various reputed councils and organizations. Along with political activity, he is also a noted poet and a brilliant orator. Vajpayee has maintained a clean image among the public, who consider him as a national leader, highly knowledgeable on democracy, religion and liberal views. Being highly educated and holding degrees in B.A. and L.L.B, he is definitely one of the most intellectually sound politicians that India has seen. To know more about this endowed gentleman, get a glance into the sections below.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on the 25th of December, 1924 in Gwalior situated in Madhya Pradesh. He was one of the seven children of Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, a Hindu scholar and a school teacher respectively. After completing his preliminary education, Atal went to Laxmibai College and then D.A.V College in Kanpur. Here, he acquired a postgraduate degree in Economics. Following this, he applied for a Law Degree in Lucknow but discontinued his education and joined as an editor for a magazine published by the RSS.
Vajpayee is still known as an eminent poet, journalist and politician. Although he is not married, he adopted the daughters of B. N. Kaul, Namita and Nandita.
Vajpayee's political journey started as a freedom fighter. In 1942, he was arrested along with other leaders for participating in Quit India Movement. It was at this time that he met Syama Prasad Mookerjee, leader of Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS). Vajpayee assisted this man in his political agenda. Mookerjee soon died due to health problems and Atal Bihari Vajpayee took complete control of BJS and expanded its organization, appeal and agenda.
In 1954, he was elected as a member of parliament (MP) in Balrampur. In spite of his young age, Vajpayee's broad perspectives and knowledge earned him respect and recognition in the political world. It was in 1977, when Janata Party's leader, Morarji Desai came into power that Vajpayee served as an External Affairs Minister.
After two years, he visited China to maintain and discuss relations with that country. He also visited Pakistan to initiate trade relations that had gone wrong since the Indo-Pakistani War in 1971. However, this political figure resigned from the ministry in 1979 when the Janata Party attacked the RSS.
It is said that during his tenure, Vajpayee established credentials as an experienced statesman and a respectful personality. The foundation of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1980 was initiated by him and his colleagues from the BJS and RSS such as Lal Krishna Advani and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. During the first five years, Vajpayee served as the president of this party.
As Prime Minister Of India
With the victory of the BJP in the parliamentary elections, the party came into power in 1996. Atal Bihar Vajpayee was elected as the Prime Minster. But when the BJP failed to get the support of other parties and form the majority, the Government came crashing down. Thus Vajpayee resigned from his post in just 13 days.
Between 1996 and 1998, two sets of Governments came to power and both failed to withstand the pressures of the spotlight. In the following elections, the BJP spearheaded the polls and formed a Government with the support of various parties called the National Democratic Party (NDA). Again, this party ruled only for 13 months owing to the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) who withdrew their support.
Vajpayee took the oath as Prime Minster of India for third time on 13th October, 1999. This time, the BJP Government completed its full 5-year term and became the first non-Congress Party to do so. With strong support from within the party, Vajpayee decided to set out a number of programs for economic reforms and encourage the private sector. He also tried to limit the state involvement in the industrial sector.
Vajpayee worked towards foreign investment and welcomed research in information technology, which made India one of the largest powers in the world. As a result of his reviewed policies and ideas, the Indian economy achieved quick growth. His Government made history by trying to establish friendly relations with Pakistan and USA. Unfortunately, Atal Bihari Vajpayee's foreign policies could not bring about a major change, although it was appreciated by the public.
After successfully completing 5 years in the Prime Minister's office, Vajpayee announced his retirement in December 2005.
Vajpayee and his Government conducted five underground nuclear tests in Pokhran, Rajasthan in May 1998. This was just a month after the BJP came into power. The tests were well-received within the country and in Russia and France. Two weeks later, Pakistan progressed on their nuclear research too and US, Japan, UK and Canada imposed several rules and regulations on the usage of nuclear power. But, this project was still a success.
Awards And Accolades
He was conferred with Padma Vibhushan in 1992, for his outstanding services to the nation. In 1993, he received the Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the Kanpur University. Also, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was honored with the Lokmanya Tilak Award and the Bharat Ratna Pandit Govind Vallabh Pant Award too.
1924: Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in the city of Gwalior.
1942: He took part in Quit India Movement.
1957: Vajpayee was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time.
1980: He founded the BJP, along with his colleagues from the BJS and RSS.
1992: Conferred with the Padma Vibhushan for his contributions to the country.
1993: He received the Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy from the Kanpur University.
1996: Vajpayee was elected as the Prime Minister of India for the first time.
1998: He took the oath for the position of the Prime Minister of India for the second time.
1999: Atal Bihari Vajpayee became the Indian Prime Minister for third time and he created history by inaugurating a bus service from Delhi to Lahore in Pakistan.
2005: Retired from politics in December.