Never before I recollect since I took interest in understanding Indian politics, have I felt the need for a strong leader for a weak nation we have become. Maoism, Kashmir valley uprising, internal security issues - many more are crippling India today like never before. We are growing, we are a rising power, our ports, airports, roads have never witnessed growth like this. This will continue. The youth of the country will increase and so will their expectations. On this 64th Independence year, I remember and salute the 2 heroes who continue to inspire me and make me feel proud to be an INDIAN. It is very true that Sardar Patel is the 3rd leader I take great inspiration from.
There is something that strikes the tallest leaders of Indian politics - Indira Gandhi and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The two sat opposite each other in the Parliament for decades, but always sat on the same side when it came to India. National decisions taken by the 2 leaders signify the fact that India is a democracy where miracles can happen. The spirit of patriotism rekindles even recollecting the toughness the 2 leaders exhibited in terms of crisis after crisis that plagued their rule. It is often said that crisis comes to those who have the capacity to absorb and shine again. The 2 leaders had it and they shined. Their power is required even today for a desperate India seeking to reach the skies.
Even after 63 years of India's independence - the two leaders who are still wanted in the place of the PM post are Indira Gandhi and Vajpayee. (Source). It is true that both leaders have faults and issues - but who is perfect? Perfection is a mirage, excellence is reality. The 2 leaders excelled and the reality is this.
No one can forget the way Indira Gandhi demonstrated the power of India during 6 instances which stand as a testimony that if a leader is strong, any team/nation can win and never see defeat. Indira Gandhi knew and demonstrated one thing - use force if required to protect the integrity of India.
1) The war with Pakistan in 1971 that created Bangladesh - that blow was so strong to Pakistan that from 1971 - 1989 (18 years) - they never looked back at Kashmir (India).
2) The Green and White Revolution that made India self-sufficient in food and milk production. It also ended the help we were getting from the US. Remember, India was called the BEGGING BOWL till we became self-sufficient in food. India is the largest producer of fruits, vegetables and milk in the world.
3) Pokhran Nuclear test in response to sanctions from US. This test was the stepping stone for India becoming a nuclear power.
4) When she crushed terrorism, separatism, fundamentalism. She crushed the anti-India spirit of the Tamils (who wanted a different country), Punjabis (The khalistan movement which wanted a different country)
5) Nationalization of banks which helped our country survive the 2008 economy downturn.
6) When she gave a green signal to make India a rising power in space - the reason why India was able to launch the cheapest (in terms of cost, not quality) moon mission ever undertaken by any country. The below picture is the first rocket launch by India in 1980.
Who can forget how Vajpayee made India strong economically, socially and globally? Today, we credit a lot to Manmohan Singh. The Indian economy became strong only because of the economic policies of a non-economist Vajpayee. It is true that 1991 - Manmohan initiated, but Vajpayee deepened the reforms. Vajpayee knew and demonstrated one thing - take and implement bold decisions even if it comes at the cost of losing power.
Here are 11 instances which make Vajpayee my favorite hero and role model in politics:
1) The famous speech where Vajpayee decided not to take any monetary support even if his government doesn't survive in a vote of confidence. The result vajpayee lost the Parliament confidence, but came with a thumping majority in 1999.
2) Kargil War which India won and made Pakistan the enemy in the eyes of the world.
3) Within the first 30 days of coming in power (could have rested as 40 years or so he was the Opposition leader), he gave full powers to Abdul Kalam to make India a nuclear power. The result: India became very strong and the entire world was alarmed to see how India could do it by fooling the CIA satellites.
4) Made a strong pitch for strengthening the relations with the US. He was the first PM to make a speech showing the power of India in the White House amidst clappings from everyone.
5) How Vajpayee exposed Pakistan in the world's eyes that US began to accept what India taught and
concluded. No one did a better job than him. He talked about peace and also war at Kargil.
6) In one sitting of Parliament in 1999, he asked his cabinet to clear extremely major policy reforms because of which INDIA GROWTH STORY began - decentralizing Telecom Sector, Creation of Foreign Policy Board that reduced red tapism and allowed entry of FDI that increased to 200 billion $, decentralizing insurance sector and bringing in foreign players, abolishing URBAN LAND CEILING ACT which made land available for all the malls and huge retail surge we see today.
7) Introduced the Golden Quadrilateral Project that not only changed the roadways scene, but also brought in thousands of jobs, innovation and expertise in the highways - a fact which is very important
8) When India's image was enhanced in the world forums - G8, G-20, New York, UK. Vajpayee has the record of the maximum international tours ever made by an Indian PM. Everywhere he went, India was considered serious and a rising power. All the image of a rising power we see today is because of how Vajpayee portrayed the power of India during his tenure.
9) When Vajpayee solved the Sikkim border dispute with China in a manner that stunned the Congress.
10) How can one forget the time when US imposed sanctions harshly on India and within 6 months Vajpayee got it removed with sheer diplomacy. When it comes to foreign policy none beats Vajpayee.
11) When Vajpayee conducted free and fair elections and Kashmir saw democracy coming in their state for the first time. Their love for India began
If these two leaders were in power today - there would have been no Maoism, there would have been no way China could have had a nuclear deal with Pakistan, there would have never been the problem of states fighting on linguistic lines and most importantly Kashmir valley would not be burning.