“Partiyan ayengi jayengi, satta ka khel chalta rahega, lekin yeh desh bana rahena chahiye…”
These were some words which caught my fantasy when I was in class 9 and my interest was completely taken over by political affairs leading me to surf through quotes and speeches of famous political personas. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was quite different from others. He was the most charismatic and eloquent speaker since Nehru. His dominance over the Hindi language has been time and again reflected through his poems and other literary works. His insight and application of practical politics led the BJP gain to prominence throughout the nation.
His early days may not have been easy though when RSS was suffering from the taint of Gandhi’s assassination and subsequent accusations of communal disruptions throughout the country, Nehru was the undisputed leader of the masses and Ram Manohar Lohia, the man who coined the term “Anti-Congressism”, was the darling of the opposition. It was his polished stature that made roads for RSS and his ideological oscillation between the integral humanism of Deen Dayal Upadhyay and socialism that brought in undeserved respect for RSS and BJP.
But agreeing to the fact that he was a moderate or was uncomfortable in BJP is far from reality. He was loyal to the core idea of Hindutva and envisaged the same vision of a Hindu Rashtra as preached by the RSS in every form. And as for him being moderate, I would urge people to listen to his speech which he delivered at a public meeting on December 5, 1992, at Ayodhya, days before the Babri Masjid was demolished by Vishwa Hindu Parishad and violent riots engulfed the country. At that time, he was just a shadow behind Advani, the shining Hindu icon. The differences he had with his party members is very much routine in running any party.
To say that “he was the right man in the wrong party” also isn’t true. As per my ideology goes, he was the wrong man in the wrong party. Atalji was an RSS man, he was rigorously brought up in that ideology and never had any differences with the core idea of Hindutva. But, his softness was a great shield to Advani’s aggression and later Modi’s discrepancies in running a government. Questions do arise that why didn’t this ‘moderate man’ leave his party just after the Babri Masjid was demolished or why did he pay heed to Advani in not throwing Modi out of the party after the 2002 riots?
All these would have been great if were answered by him alone, as he comes across as quite the saint when compared to Modi.