Bharat Ratna (meaning the Gem of India) is the highest civilian honour bestowed upon any Indian citizen. Over the years, a number of eminent personalities accepted as the most brilliant and prolific minds in their fields have been given this honour, ranging from Dr.Kalam to CNR Rao; from Sardar Patel to Pandit Nehru and so on. Also, 2013 saw a big landmark with the awarding of Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar, becoming the first ever sportsperson to be conferred with this title.
Amidst all this admiration and sense of pride, there exist a lot of names who deserve this honour but are side-lined by the political lobbying of our system. A few of them namely Maj. Dhyanchand, Rajiv Dixit and Atal Bihari Vajpayee (the 10th and one of the finest PMs India has ever had). While India is now busy marching forward to the 2014 general elections to decide its fate for the next 5 years, I felt this topic was important to be bought into light. Here are a few reasons why I strongly feel Atal Bihari Vajpayee deserves the Bharat Ratna :
1) Vajpayee was bigger than the party and politics
It is unarguably accepted that Atalji was a man of immense moral fibre, integrity and truthfulness, who put his duty and commitment towards his nation above anything else. It shows in the fact that he was respected by his political rivals as much as he was in his party and cadre. The BJP may or may not have enjoyed a stronghold at that point of time in India, but Vajpayee certainly had a place as a person in everybody’s hearts.
2) Vajpayee was never hungry for power
Atalji was never behind power unlike his other political rivals, but always wanted a strong and decisive government and governance system. He ( apart from Indira Gandhi) has a distinction of taking the oath of Prime Minister thrice, once for 13 days followed by 13 months and then for a full term of 5 years ( 1999-2004). However, his government did not try to lobby during the vote of confidence or when it was overthrown, as we know it lost the motion by one vote which could have easily been bought. Such was the honesty and truthfulness of this man.
3) A brilliant administrator and orator
Vajpayee was a brilliant administrator who efficiently ruled while he was in the office. The economy was thriving at 8-8.5% stably in his regime. The NDA regime from 1998-2004 saw the birth of a number of innovative projects and schemes which even have an impact today – the Golden Quadrilateral, the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, the setting up of NHAI, the setting up of a separate department for the development of North-Eastern India, the birth of the POTA act (which the incumbent government removed on coming to power) and so on. Vajpayeeji had a way of connecting to the crowd by his charisma and oratory skills.
4) Operation Vijay and other peace operations with Pakistan
During his tenure as PM, Vajpayee was always on the effort to be in a peaceful relationship with Pakistan by various means such as “The Lahore Bus Yatra”,Â The Agra Summit, increasing trade links and other projects etc.. But on the other hand, he never put India down as a weak partner which he proved through his strong stand during the Kargil Insurgency operation during 1999 under the name “Operation Vijay” that successfully countered the intruders who had breached the line of control (LOC).
5) His immense contribution to Hindi Literature
Vajpayee, a charismatic leader and orator was first a poet at heart. His numerous contributions to Hindi literature in the form of his poems cannot be forgotten as they carry wonderful messages about life. His poems on India are an unforgettable feather in the cap of Hindi literature. Few of his notable works include “Unchaai”, “Bharat ki Kavita”, “ Kya Khoya kya Paya” and so on.
6) The unique personality
Vajpayeeji, above all, was a gentleman who always had time for people and listened to their grievances even at his residence; a man who never cared for personal achievements through his actions, a leader who respected his opposition as much as he respected his ruling alliances. He was accepted globally as a leader. In short, he was a perfect blend of leader, poet, orator, and human being.
There are a number of personalities who deserve Bharat Ratna and it shouldn’t be too late to honour these transformers/visionaries (like in the case of Sardar Patel). Undoubtedly, Atal Bihari Vajpayee should be honoured with a Bharat Ratna. All I wish is that the government coming to power in 2014 performs this due action.