More than just recognition or celebration, the declaration of the Bharat Ratna recipients calls for the society to realize what should be the way of living. India’s highest civilian honor is not only a way to award the person for his dedicated tasks, but is also to design the future actions of present day generation. Today, when many among us are unfamiliar with the contributions of Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, this is the moment to know why some people become extraordinary and the gems of the society. This is an appeal to all the teachers and parents to let their kids know how they can set the goals of their lives at par with the targets of men who built a robust structure where we live with dignity and prosperity in the present day.
Also addressed as ‘Mahanama’, Pandit Malaviya was one of the most notable figures in the Indian Independence Movement; though he went much far by promoting Hinduism and founding the largest residential university of Asia, the Banaras Hindu University. We can also count his association with print media as being the chairman of Hindustan Times for two decades and being the founder of the newspaper, The Leader. Even the most celebrated hero of Indian freedom, Mahatma Gandhi called himself a devotee of Dr. Malaviya saying his patriotism flowed like the uninterrupted Ganga. ‘Satyamev Jayate’, meaning truth alone triumphs, was popularized by Pandit Malaviya, who though was a Hindu nationalist but always strived for Hindu-Muslim unity.
His works of philanthropy can be remembered with the formation of Akhil Bhartiya Seva Samiti, which operated from multiple centers across the nation and worked with a sole objective of service to the needy during floods, earthquakes, Kumbh Mela, and such other national calamities. Women empowerment was a part of his vision and we can also add to his list of great works the acceptance of use of devanagari script in court works. Sanatan Dharma Sabha also gained from his association, and encouraged and awarded religious scholars,along with working for betterment of cows. As the President of the Indian National Congress for almost a decade, he played a key role in all the strategy-building labors and in fortifying the acceptance of the INC by the society.
Sh. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India can be credited with scripting the DNA for the Right to Education, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan being his creation. In just a week’s time during his ruling, India conducted five nuclear tests and demonstrated the capacity of the nation to rivals. While the world is craving for stable GDP growth rate, this able leader was able to keep the same at all-time highs even when the country was in the grip of oil crisis in 2003, earthquake in 2001, and sanctions from around the world. Chandrayaan-1, India’s mission to moon and the Delhi Metro project were both passed by the Prime Minister who foresaw development and had the capability to take prudent decisions. A patriot from heart, Sh. Vajpayee participated in India’s freedom struggle and edited national journals during his student days.
Sh. Vajpayee paved the way for introducing VAT across the country, along with taking measures to rationalize VAT rates around CENVAT. FDI in insurance was also the seed of this great administrator. India’s most instinctive reformer, Sh. Vajpayee was picked by a former PM to represent India in a UN meeting at Geneva even at a time when he was the leader of opposition, the same reflects how much was the notion ‘India-first’ the ultimate objective of these veteran leaders. His public and parliamentary speeches are even today a learning lesson for us all. The Kargil war was won under the astute leadership of Sh. Vajpayee, while the National Highway Development Project and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana reveals his vision for infrastructure development.
Countless are the contributions of these two legendary men, of whom one has left behind him a path that every Indian should endeavor to follow, while the other is still the most renowned figure in the Indian political structure, evidence of the same is the welcoming of his name as Bharat Ratna awardee by even opposition political groups. The best way, however, to celebrate the conferring of this honor on these two is to take a pledge to abide by the track that they have laid down. Let us all study the life history of Sh. Vajpayee and Late Pandit Malaviya and imbibe the best of their works in our quest for a sustainable future. Lastly, Sh. Vajpayee’s health has been a concern since past many years; hence let us also pray for his good health and long life, and hope that his golden touch in delivering speeches is yet again viewed by the world.