As we bid adieu to Atal Bihari Vajpayee, we mark the end of an era. His rich political journey and interesting life have been the subject of intrigue for many. His popularity was largely attributed to his extraordinary communication skills and wit.
Vajpayee passed away at the age of 93 today and a 7-day mourning period has been announced by the Centre. All schools and government offices will remain closed tomorrow in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.
Here are some lesser known facts about the famous politician and late Prime Minister of India:
1. He was once arrested during the pre-Independence era:
Before India attained independence in 1947, Vajpayee and his elder brother were arrested for taking part in the Quit India movement. He stayed in jail for 23 days.
2. He first pursued a law career but then left the education mid-way:
Vajpayee did not complete his law degree and he dropped out of school to become the joint-editor of ‘Rashtradharma’, an RSS magazine. Also after joining RSS in 1939, he was inclined towards communism for a while.
3. His relationship with the Nehrus was a mix of it all:
It is said that Jawaharlal Nehru was found of Vajpayee even though they did not have the same political affiliations. Vajpayee is known have addressed Indira Gandhi as ‘Durga’ post the 1971 Indo-Pak war. But during the Emergency he was arrested along with other leaders.
4. He valued India’s national language:
As we praise PM Modi today for use of Hindi, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first person to address the UN in Hindi.
5. He was also a poet:
Widely quoted, his poems continue to find a place in a lot of speeches and a lot of platforms. Vajpayee, who remained a bachelor till his death, found company in poetry.
6. It’s hard to believe but he was in the Lok Sabha for more than 50 years:
From 1957 to 2009, Vajpayee was a part of the Lok Sabha. He was also an External Affairs Ministers when Morarji Desai was the Prime Minister in 1977. Vajpayee was India’s PM not once, not twice but for three whole terms. His first term lasted only for 13 days, second for 13 months and the last one started in 1999 and lasted for five years.
7. He is the man who can be credited for India’s nuclear standing:
Now made it into a movie, ‘Pokhran’, Operation Shakti was led by Vajpayee on May 13, 1998. This Operation spoke volumes about India’s might and strength across the globe, gaining global respect for the country. It was one of the most difficult and interesting Operations of India.
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