Very rarely do I talk about any politician, because these days talking about them isn’t safe at all. Who know you might be thrown in the anda cell of Arthur Road jail ! But what happened yesterday was something that moved the entire nation. The demise of our former prime minister Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee came in as no shocker since he had been ill for quite some time. The prolific politician and an amazing poet, Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a gem of a person. He had been there when India needed him the most – be it on the domestic issue front or at the international front. He has done what possibly no other Prime Minister has done for India (based on what I’ve seen) For me it’s not about supporting a political party of an ideology, but it’s about the person that Vajpayeeji was for whom nation came first, always.
In a tribute to him, in this post today I’ll talk about the important milestones that happened under his regime. He had taken some concrete steps which ensure India became what it is today. He did take some controversial decisions during his time, but I’ll keep them out of scope of this post.
Bus to Pakistan
The only Prime Minister that comes to my mind who had done so much to improve our relations with Pakistan. Though the Kashmir issue was always around the corner, for Atalji maintaining the relations always remained a priority. He infact started the bus service from Amritsar to Lahore. And to double it up, he also travelled to Pakistan by that bus where he was received by the then Pakistani Prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The bus and the train might be running today, but the relations have gone to the trenches. This was an event that can recollect being televised on TV.
National Highways Development Project
One of the dream projects of Vajpayee was connecting India through the Golden Quadrilateral project under then National Highway Development Project. His idea was to connect all the important metros – Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata – with 4 lane highways under the first phase. Coincidentally, the later governments too continued his vision and developed good quality roads across the nation. Thanks to him that we are able to take our road trips to any part of India today. If it weren’t his vision, we probably wouldn’t have been where we are today.
Vajpayee ji was a gem of a person, an able political and a prolific writer. His era was a mix of good and bad. The majority of the good things, I’ve mentioned. The dark side included the Kargil War, Air India Hijack, Parliament Attack, Ayodhya issue to name a few. Vajpayee ji was possibly the first prime minister the 90s kids would have seen. Though most of them wouldn’t have been into politics, but the image of Vajpayee ji walking in this trademark dhoti and kurta is always in our minds.
End of an era – will we get any politician like him, ever ?
I’m going to be frank on this one. Clearly this is the end of an era. An era that saw India grow. An Era that brought India on the world map. Great politicians like Vajpayee Ji, Manmohan Singh and the likes contributed to India’s growth. Whether it was the Economic Liberalisation under Manmohan Singh or the Golden Quadrilateral. I’m quite sure that there won’t be any good leader for at least few years. The current bunch of folks are all interested in the seat & power rather than development of the nation. The same party that Vajpayee ji belonged to, today is trying to paint the entire nation orange. The government in this decade have come up with hundreds of plans and policies, but how many were actually effective and benefited the nation ? For me, and the nation, the demise of Atal Bihari Vajpayee marks the end of an era.
I’ll end this post, with lines from one of his poems:
कल कहार में, बीच धार में,
घोर घृणा में, पूत प्यार में,
क्षणिक जीत में, दीर्घ हार में,
जीवन के शत-शत आकर्षक,
अरमानों को ढलना होगा.
कदम मिलाकर चलना होगा.