Every year on 25 December, the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the epoch man of Indian politics, is celebrated. Atal Bihari Vajpayee is the name of the person who was respected by even his arch rivals. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was one of the founders of the Jana Sangh along with three times the Prime Minister of the country, Hindi poet, journalist and prolific speaker. He was born on 25 December 1924. Everyone was a fan of Atal ji’s speech, even if he was the leader of the opposition. Jawaharlal Nehru was also greatly influenced by him.
Once Nehru criticized Jana Sangh, Atal said, ‘I know that Panditji does headstand every day. Do that headstand, I don’t mind him. But don’t look at my party’s picture upside down. On hearing this, Jawaharlal Nehru burst out laughing.
Even though Nehru may have been an opponent of Atal in politics, but he also had his admirers. A similar incident is mentioned in Kingshuk Nag’s book ‘Atal Bihari Vajpayee – A Man for All Seasons’. The story goes that once Nehru introduced Vajpayee to a British Prime Minister on a visit to India and said, ‘Meet him, he is a rising young leader of the opposition. Always criticize me but in them I see a lot of future potential.
Relations between these two leaders were also always good. The leaders of Jana Sangh used to say that Balraj Madhok follows the path of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and is following the line of Atal Nehru. There was also resentment in the union about this.
Vijay Trivedi will not give up, writes in An Atal Life Story, ‘In the year 1961, when Nehru formed the National Integration Council, Vajpayee was included in it while the council included veteran leaders and eminent people. Atal was the youngest among them and came elected in the Lok Sabha. But in 1962, when the council was to meet for the first time, he ceased to be a member of the Lok Sabha. After this, when Vajpayee contested from Balrampur, Nehru did not go to campaign against him.
29 May 1964 After Nehru’s death in May 1964, Vajpayee paid tribute to Nehru, which is called a memorable speech in itself. The whole house got emotional with his speech.
Everyone should read what Atal Bihari Vajpayee said to Nehru on that day, why should you read it, you will know for yourself after reading it. Part of speech…
There was a dream that remained unfulfilled, there was a song that became mute, there was a flame that disappeared into the infinite. The dream was of a world that would be free from fear and hunger, the song was of an epic that had the echo of the Gita and the smell of roses. The flame was of such a lamp which kept burning throughout the night, fighting every darkness and showing us the way, in one morning Nirvana was attained.
Death is the pole, the body is mortal. Yesterday, the body of Kanchan, which we brought on a sandal pyre, was sure to be destroyed. But was it necessary that death would have come so stealthily? While our companions were sleeping, when the guards were oblivious, a priceless treasure of our lives was robbed. Mother India is mourning today – her dearest prince has been lost.
Humanity is sad today – its priest fell asleep. Peace is disturbed today – its protector is gone. Dalits were left behind. The apple of the public eye was broken. Yavanika collapsed. The leading actor of the world’s theater was fascinated by his last performance. Maharishi Valmiki has said in relation to Lord Rama in the Ramayana that he was a combination of the impossible. A glimpse of the same statement of the great poet is visible in the life of Pandit ji. He was a worshiper of peace, but a pioneer of revolution, he was a worshiper of non-violence, but an advocate of fighting with every weapon to protect freedom and honor.
He was a supporter of individual liberty but was committed to bringing economic equality. He did not fear anyone in compromising, but he did not compromise by being afraid of anyone. His policy towards Pakistan and China was a symbol of this wonderful combination. There was generosity in him, there was perseverance in him. It is unfortunate that this generosity was taken as a weakness, while some considered his firmness to be dogma.
I remember, during the days of the Chinese invasion, when our western friends were trying to make a deal with Pakistan on the question of Kashmir, then one day I found them very angry. When he was told that if there would be no settlement on the Kashmir question, then we would have to fight on two fronts, he got upset and started saying that if necessary, we will fight on both the fronts. He was against talking under any pressure.
Sir, the freedom for which he was a fighter and protector, today that freedom is in danger. We have to protect him with all our might. The national unity and integrity for which he was an advocate, is also in trouble today. We have to maintain it by paying every price. The Indian democracy which he founded, made it successful, today apprehensions are being expressed about its future as well. We have to show this democracy successful with our unity, discipline, self-confidence. The leader is gone, the followers remain. The sun has set, we have to find our way in the shadow of the stars.
This is a great test period. If all of us can dedicate ourselves to such a noble cause under which India is strong, capable and prosperous and can contribute with self-respect to the everlasting establishment of world peace, then we will be able to pay true tribute to him. His absence in Parliament will never be filled. Perhaps a person like him will never make three idols meaningful from his existence.
That personality, that vivacity, that spirit of taking the opponent along, that gentleness, that greatness will probably not be seen in the near future. Despite differences, we have nothing but respect in our hearts for his great ideals, for his authenticity, for his patriotism and for his unwavering courage. With these words, I pay my humble tribute to that great soul.
Atal Vihari Vajpayee