Gwalior home reflects Vajpayee’s simple lifestyle

Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s house in Gwalior has a public library and a computer training institute named after his father Krishna Bihari Vajpayee.

india Updated: Aug 18, 2018 16:00 IST
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
Atal Bihari vajpayee,Vajpayee death,Vajpayee funeral
Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s house in Kamal Singh ka Bagh locality in Gwalior. (HT Photo)

Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s home in Kamal Singh ka Bagh locality in Gwalior, where he was born and lived till he finished his college education, reflects his simplicity and down to earth lifestyle, said people close to the former PM.

The house has a library for everyone and a computer training institute named after the former PM’s father Krishna Bihari Vajpayee. The library and the institute which offers training to needy students free of any charge, are being run by a trust. The former PM’s niece Kanti Mishra, 75, and her family live in the house.

Rambabu Katare, a neighbour of the former prime minister said: “His father was a teacher in a local school and Atal ji started going to Gorakhi school, which was run by the then rulers of Gwalior. His three brothers also used to go to the same school.”

The Prime Minister also graduated from the city’s Victoria College (now Maharani Laxmibai College), where he received a scholarship from the royal family of Gwalior. Vajpayee then went to Uttar Pradesh for higher studies.

Seval Sathyarthi, 85, who knew Vajpayee in his school days, said the former PM was always interested in reading and had extremely good oratorical skills. “It was because of his Hindi oratory that he got associated with (Jana Sangh founder Shyama Prasad) Mookerjee. Atal ji used to translate Mookerjee’s speeches in English into Hindi with ease,” he recalled. Vajpayee joined the Jana Sangh in 1951. Sathyarhti, a well-known poet, said that his house is only around 400 metres from Vajpayee’s, the two used to regularly meet and share their ideas on poetry.

Dr Jaiveer Bhardwaj, state president of the Hindu Mahasabha, said Vajpayee had never misused government machinery. In 1984, when Vajpayee suffered a surprise loss in the city in the Lok Sabha elections (at the hands of Madav Rao Scindia), the former PM was sad, he added, but his bond with Gwalior remained intact. Bhadrwaj would like to see the Lashkar area of the city named after Vajpayee.

To be sure, Gwalior doesn’t have any major establishment named after the former prime minister, except the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (ABVIIITM). After his loss in 1984 (he won from the city in 1971), Vajpayee shifted to Lucknow constituency.

Katare demanded that the former PM’s house now being used for running a trust and the Gorakhi school ,in particular, should be upgraded as a memorial to commemorate the great leader. Pandey said all the institutions associated with the former PM are in a bad shape.

(With inputs from HTC, Gwalior)

First Published: Aug 18, 2018 14:19 IST