Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee (December 25 1924-August 16 2018) was a three-term former Prime Minister of India and one of the most important 20th century Indian politicians. He started his public life by joining the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) in 1939 and participating in the 1942 Quit India Movement. A firm believer in democracy, he fought against all attempts to curb freedom and secularism in India, including Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule. Atal ji’s political career spanned the entirety of Indian independence with him being elected ten times to the Lok Sabha (from four different states) and twice to the Rajya Sabha.
A legendary statesman, tenacious politician, and fine orator, Atal ji undertook many defining decisions to accelerate India’s economic growth and development. These include universal primary education, increased connectivity through the Golden Quadrilateral, and of course an uncompromising position on national security through the Pokhran nuclear tests. With a quality of determination, he refused to concede to Western pressure and took measures to make Indo-American ties strategic instead of acrimonious.
Atal ji will remain the man who found India its place among great nations.