New Delhi– Former Prime Minister, the late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, was not only a sterling orator but an accomplished magician with words too. A stellar journalist, and a respected leader who never let ideological differences never get in the way of his cordial personal relations with other politicians, he, however, had one grouse – that his political preoccupations never left him enough time for his poetical inclinations. But still he used to enliven his speeches with his poetical gems, and at one public programme, said that poetry was “a spring of joy in the desert of politics”.
Vajpayee also used his poetry to send a message to society. At the present where there are widespread protests, and people are in groups in support of or opposition to various issues, one of his poems, in a nutshell, calls for joint efforts to take the country forward (“Desh ko aage badhane ke liye…Kadam mila kar chalna hoga..”). It says: “Kadam mila kar chalna hoga/Badhayen aati hai aaye/Ghire pralay ki ghor ghatayen/Paavon ke neeche angae/Sir pe barse yadi jwalaen/Nij haathon mein hanste-hanste/Aag lagakar jalna hoga/Kadam mila kar chalna hoga”.
It is thinking that makes a man big or small and it was these thoughts that Vajpayee wove into a poem: “Chhote man se koi bada nahi hota/Toote man se koi khada nahi hota/Man haar kar maidan nahi jeete jaate. Aadmi ki pehchan/Uske dhan ya aasan se nahi hoti/Uske man se hoti hai/Man ki fakiri par/Kube ki sampada bhi roti hai”.
Vajpayee wrote poetry on both life and death. “Maut se than gayi” is among his most discussed verse. “Than gayi/Maut se than gayi/Jhoojne ka mera iraada na tha/Morh par milegi iska vaada na tha/Raaste rok kar veh khadi ho gayi/Yun laga zindagi se badi ho gayi/Maut ki umr kya hai? Do pal bhi nahi/Zindagi silsila, aaj kal ki nahi”.
On life, he wrote: “Main jee bhar jeeya, main man se maru/Lautkar aaunga, kooch se kyon darrun/Tu dabe paaon, chori-chipe se na aa/Saamne vaar kar phir mujhe aazma…” On the same topic, he also wrote: “Haar nahi maanoonga, raar nahi thanunga/Kaal ke kapal ke likhta mitaata hoon/Geet nahi gata hoon…”
In a speech, Vajpayee, touching on independence, once said: “Hame mitaane ki saazish karne waalon se kah do ki chingaari ka khel bura hota hai/Auron ke ghar aag lagaane ka jo sapna/Woh apne hi ghar mein sada khada hota hai”.
Born in Gwalior on December 25, 1924, Vajpayee was the first after Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to take over as Prime Minister three times. He died in the AIIMS here on August 16, 2018. In 2015, he was conferred the country’s highest civilian honour – the Bharat Ratna. (IANS)