As the announcement to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian award, upon former Prime Minister and BJP veteran Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Freedom Fighter Madan Mohan Malaviya poured through the nation, pleasant reactions are being drawn from various sections of society.
Back in Nagpur, the atmosphere is no different as Vajpayee has always been the personality beyond party lines, thanks to his prowess in poetry and his varied dimensions as one of the finest orators, an excellent statesman and an efficient politician.
Nagpur Today spoke to few eminent personalities in the city and checked with them on how they see Atal Bihari Vajpayee as a person.
Renowned Pediatrician Dr Uday Bodhankar had been in touch with Atal Bihari Vajpayee personally about two decades back. Dr Bodhankar’s father-in-law Vasant Sathe’s proximity with Vajpayee led the doctor to connect to the leader quite often during his student life. Dr Bodhankar told Nagpur Today, “Vajpayee ji is a great parliamentarian and a role model for the young leaders. Such role models are now rarely found who can be followed. He is actually ‘ajaatshatru’ (the one who has no enemies) as people from various parties have high regards for him.”
Sharing his experience with meeting Vajpayee, Dr Bodhankar said, “It was about two decades back when I used to attend the programmes to commemorate death anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak in Mumbai, organized by my father-in-law Vasant Sathe. I also used to attend those programmes. I have met him 4-5 times in my life and I can say that he is a great patriot and warm hearted person I have ever met.”
Talking about Vajpayee’s way of doing poetry, he said “His poetries are inspiring. It carries humor, wisdom, pleasure, patriotism and warmth. We can see very few poets having all these elements in their single creation and Vajpayee is one of those gems of the poet. My wife’s cousin Padmaja Khemani who is also a good poet has also attended many ceremonies in the past in which Vajpayee was also present. I quite like this aspect of his personality.”
City Commissioner of Police KK Pathak was also quite supportive of Vajpayee getting Bharat Ratna. “He deserves this title as he is an efficient statesman and a fine human being,” he told Nagpur Today.
Welcoming the announcement BJP leader and former Standing Committee Chairman Avinash Thakre said that Vajpayee ji has stood excellently in various roles assigned to him, be it initiating the talks between India and Pakistan, his efficiency as Prime Minister or his poetry skills. He has dedicated his entire life in bringing about a social change that drives the common man of the country. “The biggest aspect that I like about him is when he got the nuclear test conducted in Pokhran despite US pressure. I consider this thing as his biggest achievement,” Thakre told Nagpur Today.
IT Entrepreneur Jayesh Bagde looks quite fascinated by the poetries penned by Vajpayee. “A politician with a more human approach, a poetic view towards resolving problems plaguing the country is too rare to be seen in a country like India. This is something unique of him, and I really welcome the announcement that his achievements are now being duly recognized in the form of Bharat Ratna.”