There are two kinds of people in the world – one kind is known for their remarkable words and one kind is known for their work. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee belonged to both parts of the world – a man who was known for his work and his way with words.
“One day you may become an ex-prime minister, but you will never become an ex-poet!” Atal Bihari Bajpayee had once said.
And he was right. Besides being one of the most revered Indian politicians, the tenth Prime Minister of India, and an extraordinary orator, Atal ji (as he is fondly called), is a celebrated poet of all times. For years, he has given us motivation, courage, and wisdom through his words.
Here are some interesting and Unknown facts about Atal Bihari Vajpayee you have to know
25 Interesting and Unknown Facts about Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee ji was born on December 25, 1924, in Gwalior.
- He started writing poetry since childhood. When he was in 10th standard, he wrote his famous fiery poem “ Hindu Tan Man, Hindu Jeevan, Rag Rag Hindu- Mera parichay”
- Before joining the Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) in 1939, he was inclined towards communism for a brief period.
- Vajpayee was fluent in Marathi as well. He translated the poems of Veer Savarkar from Marathi to Hindi.
- In 1942, he, along with his elder brother, Prem, was arrested for 23 days for participating in the Quit India Movement against the British government.
- Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a Brahmin by birth but loved non-veg cuisines very much. His favorite food was Prawn and his favorite restaurant was Karim’s in Old Delhi.
- He dropped out of law school to become a joint editor of the RSS magazine ‘Rashtradharma’. He also became the editor of the weekly paper ‘Panchajanya’ run by the Sangh.
- His father was his classmate. He and his father went to the same Law College (DAV College in Kanpur) together for their Law studies and they even shared the same room in the hostel.
- Later, he became a close follower and aide of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, the founder of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS), and went on a fast unto death with him in 1953 to protest against the law that mandated carrying a permit to visit Kashmir.
- Vajpayee had been the editor of two monthlies—Rashtradharma and Panchjanya
- He never married but has an adopted daughter.
- He fought his first Lok Sabha election in 1953 from Lucknow, but came in 3rd. In 1957, he won his first election to the Lok Sabha from Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh.
- When Atal Bihari Vajpayee delivered his maiden speech in the Indian Parliament, Jawaharlal Nehru (then Prime Minister of India) predicted that someday he would become the Prime Minister of India.
- In 1977, he was appointed the External Affairs Minister in Morarji Desai Government and when he entered the office of Ministry of External Affairs in the South Block, he found the portrait of Jawaharlal Nehru was missing and then he said to the staff- I want it back.
- When Nehru died, Vajpayee paid him a glowing tribute: “Nehru was an honest man who was never afraid of negotiation and never negotiated with fear.”
- After India routed Pakistan in the 1971 war, Vajpayee hailed the then PM of Indira Gandhi as ‘Durga’.
- He is the only parliamentarian to win from 6 Lok Sabha constituencies from 4 states. Balrampur (UP), Lucknow (UP), New Delhi, Vidisha (MP), Gwalior (MP), Gandhi Nagar (Gujarat).
- He was the first person to speak in Hindi at the United Nations.
- Known for his biting wit, wry prose and sprightly humour, he was acknowledged as the best Hindi orator among all the parliamentarians.
- He served the Lok Sabha, the lower house of Parliament, for ten terms between 1957 and 2009.
- On 13 May 1998, he led the successful nuclear test named- Operation Shakti at Pokhran in Rajasthan and put India in the league of the world’s elite nuclear club.
- He became the prime minister of India three times – the first time on 16 May, 1996 for only 13 days, the second time on 19 March, 1998 for 13 months, and the third time on 13 October, 1999 for a full 5-year term.
- He started Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, one of the largest education programmes to provide basic education to every child in India.
- His health started deteriorating after 2005. In December 2005, Vajpayee announced his retirement from active politics. He suffered a stroke in 2009 which impaired his speech.
- On December 25, 2014, Government of India honoured him with India’s highest Civilian Award – Bharat Ratna. The then President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, conferred him the award at his residence on March 27, 2015.