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Swayamsevak with a poet's heart - The Times of India

Rajendrasinhaji ()
December 25, 1997

Title: Swayamsevak with a poet's heart
Author: Rajendrasinhaji
Publication: The Times of India
Date: December 25, 1997

The first time I saw Atalji was in 1944. I was a lecturer in
Allahabad University when I attended a debate competition. As the
debate was going to close, a young man entered the hall and told
the judges that he was late because the train that carried him
>from Lucknow had arrived behind schedule. Since he had come all
the way only to participate in the competition, he requested the
judges that he be allowed to speak. By that time, the judges had
already made up their mind about the winners. But just to
encourage the young man, they allowed him to speak.

Atalji began his speech, and within ten minutes the entire
audience was enthralled. Atalji was adjudged as the best
speaker!

Atalji passed his M.A. from D.A.V College, Kanpur He was the most
popular student leader during those years. I recall a meeting in
1946 in Kanpur. There was a huge gathering at the meeting. Mr
Balakrishna Tripathi was to address it. As is the practice, a
few young leaders spoke before the main speaker. Among them was
Atalji. His speech was so powerful and effective that Mr Tripathi
decided not to speak after him. He only said, "this boy has said
everything I wanted to speak. I have never heard such a speech
before." After doing his M.A., Atalji became a pracharak and was
sent to Sandila near Lucknow. In the morning he used to work for
the shakha and write poems during the day time. He was always in
touch with writers. For about a year, he worked as a pracharak.

In 1947 he started a monthly called Rashtra Dharma from Lucknow
because we all realised the need for having a tool for
communication. Deen Dayalji was the chief editor and Atalji was
joint editor. After the ban on R.S.S. was lifted in 1950, I also
took leave from the university and joined as a sahayyak pracharak
at the Lucknow headquarters.

In 1953 when Vijaya Laxmi Pandit was appointed as ambassador of
India in USSR her Lok Sabha seat fell vacant. For the by-election
young Atalji was given candidature. He took nearly 150 meetings
in a month and became very popular. Congress won the election,
but Atalji was in the second position. In 1957 he won from
Balrampur, but the people of Lucknow always wanted him to contest
>from there.

Oratory and self-confidence are his great qualities. He
criticised and opposed Jawaharlal Nehru on many occasions but
Jawaharlalji appreciated him. Once while introducing him to a
visiting British Prime Minister, Jawaharlalji said, "he is a
young leader of opposition who is always criticizing me, but I
see in him a great future."

We have all seen him in parliament since 1957. We have also
watched him at the helm for a brief spell of thirteen days. These
four decades bespeak his immense potential and ability. He is
very kind hearted as well as lion hearted. He is very sensitive
and gets disturbed on seeing other people's sufferings. He truly
believes in samajik samarasata and his understanding of world
affairs, specially of foreign policies, is great.

Secretary of foreign trade, Mr. Mehta happened to be my classmate
in Allahabad University. He once said he had worked with several
prime ministers but found that the respect and approach of Atalji
towards bureaucracy was the best and most effective.

Atalji's health is good but not as good as Advaniji's so as to
undertake a yatra for 45-odd days, but his hold on people,
partymen and workers in various related fields like VHP, Wanwasi
Kalyan Ashram is good and he has good rapport with everyone.

His approach towards his rivals and adversaries is also very
noble. Recall his speech after the death of Jawaharlalji. He had
differences with Indiraji but the way he spoke about her at the
time of the 1971 war clearly shows he was a lion hearted man with
an open mind. Only such a person can accommodate people of
different hues.

I knew his father who was a very strong willed man. He was a
teacher. After he retured, he and Atalji studied law together.
I think Atalji inherited his strong will from his father.

All the three facets of Atalji's personality - swayamsevak, poet
and statesman - are equally fascinating and important. He has
enormous respect for Guruji and Balasaheb Deoras. As a statesman
he can understand and appreciate the finer things which others
may not fathom.


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