A B Vajpayee – Amongst the tallest leaders

The news of the former prime minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee having being admitted to AIIMS for respiratory and renal complications brought back the memories of the achievements of this rarest of the rare personalities and one of the tallest leaders in Indian polity.

He sat in opposition for the longest period and brought lot of dignity and stature in the role of the leader of the opposition. His views were always widely respected and accepted and he never fought shy of collaborating with his opponents if it meant good for the country. He worked with Pt. Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri, Indira, VP Singh, Charan Singh, Morarji Desai, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao till he himself became the Prime Minister and completed one of the best phases of rule in this country. People chose to punish him for his “India Shining ” campaign and he chose to bow out of public life and active politics with utmost grace to spend his ageing years with his foster daughter and son-in-law’s family.

An orator par excellence, a moderate to the core, a poet, an amiable person and a titan amongst his contemporaries, he lived a simple life setting the highest standards of probity in public life. He seamlessly merged his RSS ideology with a statesman like maturity that encompassed secularism as the core ethos of existence for this country. Politics were so much more dignified and decisive when he led either the opposition or the Government.

His medical bulletin says he is critical. I don’t know whether he will be able to defeat the death this time, the eternal winner that he remained his entire life. But may be the ruling and opposition parties will fulfil the man’s desire of CO-existence for the betterment of this great nation and give a befitting respect to this great personality who will always remain revered- in his life as in his death. Let’s pray to God to help the great man fulfil whatever he wishes in this last leg of his life’s journey. Such persons live eternally, inspiring a whole lot of generations to come by the sheer example they set in their lifetime. This is not a premature obituary for, as aforesaid, ABVs never die; they are eternal!!!

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