Early Life of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in a middle-class Brahmin family to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee on 25th December, 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. His father was a poet and a school teacher. Vajpayee did his schooling from the Saraswati Shishu Mandir, Gwalior. Later, he studied at Victoria College, Gwalior for his graduation. It was at Dayanand Anglo-Vedic College, Kanpur that Vajpayee completed his post-graduation in Political Science.
Political Career of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s involvement in politics began as a freedom-fighter during the Quit India Movement. Later he joined the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), a Hindu right-wing political party, under the leadership of Dr. Syama Prasad Mukherjee. He became national secretary of BJS in charge of the Northern region.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee participated in the Total Revolution movement launched by Jayaprakash Narayan against the Internal Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee became a Union Minister in 1977. He became the Minister of External Affairs. As foreign minister, Vajpayee became the first person to deliver a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi.
Vajpayee along with Lal Krishna Advani, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat and others from the BJS and Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh (RSS) formed the Bharatiya Janata Party in 1980. The BJP won two parliamentary seats in the 1984 elections. Vajpayee functioned as BJP President and Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee as the Prime Minister of India
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was sworn in as the 10th Prime Minister of India following the 1996 General Elections, where the BJP emerged as the single largest party in the Lok Sabha. However, the government collapsed after only 13 days after his government could not gather support from other parties to obtain a majority. He thus became the shortest serving Prime Minister in India.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was again sworn in as the Prime Minister. Vajpayee’s second term as Prime Minister is known for Nuclear Tests conducted at Pokhran desert in Rajasthan, in May 1998. With the historic inauguration of the Delhi-Lahore bus service in February 1999, Vajpayee initiated a new peace process aimed towards permanently resolving the Kashmir dispute and other conflicts with Pakistan. But Pakistan ditched India by launching Kargil War, wherein Pakistani soldiers infiltrated into the Kashmir Valley and captured border hilltops around the town of Kargil. Indian army units under ‘Operation Vijay’ fought Pakistani intruders and ultimately emerged victorious.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee took oath as Prime Minister of India for the third time in 1999. The Vajpayee government introduced many economic and infrastructural reforms to boost India’s economic development.
Personal Life of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also a poet and writer, and has published several volumes of poetry, essays and speeches. He has been a follower of the Guru Sathya Sai Baba. Vajpayee chose to stay bachelor for whole life and has adopted the daughter of long-time friend Rajkumari Kaul and B.N. Kaul, Namita Kaul Bhattacharya.
Death of Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the former Prime Minister passed away at AIIMS on 16th August, 2018, after battling a prolonged age-related illness. On 11th June 2018, Vajpayee was admitted to AIIMS in critical condition. He suffered a stroke in 2009 which impaired his speech. He also suffered from dementia and long-term diabetes.