The history of India is witness to the fact that it has given rise to great political personalities since times immemorial. Prior to Independence under the colonial rule, the country was abuzz with great political personalities and afterwards when India achieved independence in 1947,the country has produced remarkable stalwarts of politics who crafted a rich discourse for the functioning of the better governance in the country.
The recent demise of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is a great loss for India, particularly for the political spectrum at large. This demise is second shock for the people of the country after the recent departure of Tamil politician Karunanidhi.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born in 1924.He completed his M.A. political science from DAV college Kanpur. From being a member of Jan Sangh to acquisition of title of Prime Minister speaks volumes about the integrity and impartiality of the great politician.
Being a prime minister of India for three tenures is not a small feat. He served as Prime Minister of India from 1996 to 2004, initially for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for a period of eleven months from 1998 to 1999, and at last, for a full term from 1999 to 2004.Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a soft spoken and humble politician who created an ecosystem of good governance in India. He propelled India towards a steady economic growth and information technology scale-up. This manifested in India becoming a leading nation in the information sector in the world. Vajpayee retreated from politics in late 2005 .He was awarded with the highest civilian award in 2014, that is, Bharat Ratna.
The former Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh called him Bishama Pitamah once in the house of the Indian parliament,that is one who was respected by two warring sides. Being a member of parliament for over four decades, he created an important niche in the political circles of India. The NDA government at the centre in 2014 declared his birthday as good governance day. This speaks volumes about the statesman who reigned under the shadow of pro-people policies within the ambit of good governance. He was a great statesman. Every Tom, Dick and Harry of the country loved him and he was endeared to their hearts in a close proximity.
Today, when the political personality of Mr. Vajpayee has taken an adieu from the world, he will be remembered by all and sundry. It was Vajpayee who proposed his doctrine of Kashmiriyat, Jhamooriyat and Insaniyat for the looming crisis of Jammu and Kashmir. Even after the end of his tenure, the doctrine is still relevant according to the political pundits and policy makers so far as Kashmir issue is concerned.
He also opened the channels of communication and dialogue with the state of Pakistan. Once he reiterated that, we can change friends, but not neighbours. This was a great response to create a thaw with the state of Pakistan over a multitude of bilateral issues. In 1998 and 1999, he pushed the peace building with the nation state of Pakistan. In 2003, he made a great effort to resolve the issues with Pakistan. Not only had this he had a reputation to better the ties with the neighbouring China. Indo-China relations improved to a remarkable level after 2002 when he was Prime Minister of the country.
It is said that death is inevitable and keeps no calendar. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s untimely demise is a jolt for the nation and people hope that let the seers of politics take on his message of good governance in the country, which is today caught in the mired controversy of petty issues. This way we can envision a country of good secular character.
Down the memory lane of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, what comes fore is the multidimensional personality of India, spanning through varied phases of tastes, be it politics, poetry, writing, lovable nature, nature loving, humbleness, great morality, etc. Vajpayee was very zealous of music and dance. Nature was close to his heart. He was also a great poet who wrote ‘Mere Ekyawan Kawitayein’. Once he reiterated that the poetry he wrote is the stirring shout of victory. He was a great orator. During his live telecasts of speeches over the television sets, when cable networks were not there in Kashmir, I used to listen very keenly the words he uttered. It was more smiles on his face than speech that magnetised the audience effectively. His speech was great and stirred the souls.The demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee is an end of era in India.
*Abid Ahmad Shah works in the Govt. Education Dept. J&K, views are personal.