Lucknow joins nation in praying for Atal ‘the fighter’ | lucknow | Hindustan Times
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Lucknow joins nation in praying for Atal ‘the fighter’

Prayers and yagnas are being held for the long life of the former prime minister whose appeal cut across party lines.

lucknow Updated: Jun 13, 2018 12:51 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared a special relationship with Lucknow, which he represented for a record five terms in the Lok Sabha, before illness forced him out of active politics since 2009.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared a special relationship with Lucknow, which he represented for a record five terms in the Lok Sabha, before illness forced him out of active politics since 2009.(PTI Photo)

Like the rest of the country, Lucknow is praying for its “beloved Atalji.”

Prayers and yagnas are being held for the long life of the former prime minister whose appeal cut across party lines.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee shared a special relationship with Lucknow, which he represented for a record five terms in the Lok Sabha, before illness forced him out of active politics since 2009.

“He is a fighter to the core. A great visionary with a never say die approach to life,” said his protégé and former Lucknow MP Lalji Tandon.

A letter written by ‘Atalji’ in 1988 to Dharamvir Bharti, the then editor of Dharamyug, does bear it out. Vajpayee, who first shot into limelight with his poem ‘Hindu tan man, Hindu jeevan, rag rag Hindu mera parichay,’ had written a poem to Bharati to explain his mindset just before he was due for a kidney operation in the United States.

“Doctors have told me that an operation is required. Ever since I have not been able to sleep properly and the turmoil within me has given birth to a poem,” Vajpayee had written in the letter to Bharti.

The letter contained a poem titled ‘Maut se than gayi (face-off with death).’

It read: “Than gayi, maut se than gayi, jhoojhney ka mera koi irada na tha, mod par milenge iska wada na tha, raasta rok kar woh khadi ho gayi, yun laga jaise zindagi se badi ho gayi (a face-off with death is a certainty now. I was in no mood to fight since I never knew what lay in store. Death is trying to scare me and threatening to become larger-than-life/ but I won’t give in without a fight).”

Then as if mocking death, he had written: “Tu dabe paon, chori chipe se na aa, samne vaar kar, phir mujhe aazma (don’t come on tip-toe, confront me and test me).” Vajpayee had undergone a successful operation then.

In Delhi, there was a steady stream of visitors who wanted to enquire about his health and well being. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Rahul Gandhi have already visited him at AIIMS though his BJP leaders in Lucknow say that the “great man now is hardly in a position to acknowledge anyone.”