“Our aim may be as high as the endless sky, but we should have a resolve in our minds to walk ahead, hand-in-hand, for victory will be ours”.
Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee
Gwalior, the heart of India, pulsed with rejoice when sun broke 25th day of December 1926, marking the history with the birth of a person whose legacy then lived for decades; in and out of the hearts and minds of India i.e., the legacy of Bharatratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee! It wasn’t a miracle of a second but the dedication of decades coupled with staunch patriotism which India have seen; the journey of Atal Ji, an era of the ‘statesman’ in making. Fine orator by birth, the headmaster’s chap floriated to editor’s position in his get-go emending the leading press journals like ‘Rashtradharma’, ‘Swadesh’, ‘Veer Arjun’ and amidst them, successfully persevered the legacy of his mentors by heading ‘Panchjanya’ in 1950s. Later, the journey of this nationalist ink broke the ceilings when – ‘Vajpayee, go back and take this fight’ words of his political mentor-Shri Shama Prasad Mukherjee in 1953, urged Atal Ji to take political nerve head on to accomplish the dream of the millions. His role in making Jana Sangh; a strong political organization was vital and along with his comrade-in-arms like LK Advani, never had time to get off the Rath, as he went about pushing the frontiers of the Jan Sangh across India. The responsible jaquette then turned into a stalwart politician with the relay of representation ‘for the people’ from 1957 to 1998 in the temple of democracy i.e., Parliament of India.
‘Democracy’ that strengthens nation, ‘Gandhi's socialism’ for economic transformation and politics for individual’s evolution were the fundamentals of Atal Ji’s life. This can be well understood if one analyses his role in pioneering ‘Janata Party’ post emergency which gave the first coalition government in the country by restoring basic structure of democracy in 1977. Highlighting the importance of that historic moment, in 1977, Atal Ji categorically told that “country needs voluntarily discipline which must be ‘discipline of conscience’; nevertheless, the job of voters never ends just after casting the vote but the electorate must be accountable and politically aware”. Atal Ji’s political comprehension of 1977 had its own rationale and can be understood in his texts when he addressed the United Nations General Assembly in Hindi and categorically highlighted India’s uninterrupted commitment to durable peace, human rights and democratic establishment.
Atal Ji always believed in democratic principles and he lived for it. After failing to find the numbers for his 13-day government in 1996, Atal Ji resigned on the floor of the House but left his mark with standout speech saying – “Government come and go and parties are born and disappear. Above it all, the country must stay shining, and its democracy is immortal”. He was the ‘political hero’ for ‘many’ of his time who rose above the party lines and this was highlighted again when then Prime Minister P. V. Narsimha Rao appointed Atal Ji as the leader of India’s delegation to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
At that time, Atal Ji might had surprised the international fora by representing the government, irrespective of the fact that he was in opposition; but at the top of it, he surprised the whole world when he ‘signaled green’ to country’s boffin and India had successfully conducted its nuclear weapon at ‘Pokhran’ in 1988. Indeed, he was the one who belled the ‘cat’! Nevertheless, Atal Ji defended this stance and described it as a ‘weapon of peace’. On the other side, he was the one who successfully voyaged India’s friendship with its neighbor by staunch pursuance of ‘Jamuriyat, Insaniyat and Kashmiriyat’. Talking about Jammu and Kashmir, as a Prime Minister, Atal Ji vowed to follow this doctrine but with a caveat – not to let the state be "emotionally blackmailed by a handful of families". It was under Atal Ji that India established itself as a ‘responsible power’ who learnt to give befitting reply to its ‘trusted enemies’ and hence, country’s stance of ‘being protected’ had shifted to- “Ye Dil Maange More”!
The true poet by heart, the stalwart was not only an eminent politician but also an acclaimed wordsmith who wrote hundreds of poems. A great number of his poems like, 'Geet nayagaata hun', 'Kadam milakarchalna hoga' are still etched in public memory. Nevertheless, Atal Ji had left no stone unturned in his public life. He laid down the legacy of work at every position that he holds and every office which had succeeded. As a Prime Minister, India has seen transformational changes in all its front. Ranging from ‘Sarva Shikha Abhiyan’ to cementing India with world class infrastructures under ‘Golden Quadrilateral’, Atal Ji indeed, had prepared India for 21st century. As a true statesman, he never compromised on scientific and ideal economic regimes of his predecessors and successfully implemented the best practices for the welfare of the people. The selection of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for holding highest constitutional office speaks million words about Atal Ji’s deeds and their belief in ‘delivering the best’ for the prosperity of the nation rather choosing the mere for temporary political mirage. Atal Ji’s vision, leadership, guidance, and invaluable insights inspires present and future generations. As the nation celebrates ‘Good Governance’ week in the backdrop of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, one should introspect and pledge to act in the spirit of the ethos those were envisaged by Bharatratna Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Indeed, Atal Ji was the star of the Indian politics and real Ratna who was imbedded with innate virtues and in fact the ‘Statesman’ beyond political mirage!
Views expressed by the author are personal.
 Panchjanya is an Indian weekly magazine published in Hindi. It was launched by Dr. Deendayal Upadhyaya Ji in 1948 in Lucknow.
 SANKALP-KAAL- speeches by Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee (edited by Dr. N.M. Ghatate, 2004)
 Former Personal secretary of Atal Ji, late Shri Shakti Sinha’s address in webinar on ‘Atal Ji Ki Andekhi Duniya’ and book launch (Vajpayee: The Years that Changed India) on 25th December, 2020 wherein he mentioned the conversation between Atal Ji and Shri Shamaprasad Mukherjee at the time when they were crossing Kashmir borders without any permit. https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/india-news-atal-bihari-vajpayee-too-wanted-article-370-to-go-former-secretary-to-vajpayee/368561
 Atal Ji’s speech on victory of Janata Party in general elections, 1977. Prasar Bharati Achieves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsJ_dRRvsBI
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