Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1926 in the town of Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. He became politically active as a teenager and was briefly jailed by the British colonial administration. Though initially attracted to communism, he became disillusioned when the communists supported the creation of Pakistan in the 1940s. Vajpayee dropped out of law school and became editor of a publication run by the Hindu-nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsewak sangh, a self-defence force created in 1925 to protest Hindus in riots and promote Hindu culture.

Vajpayee was first elected to Parliament in 1957 as a member of the jan Sangh, a fore-runner of the BJP. During Indira Gandhi’s rule as Prime thousands of opposition members. In the late ‘70s Vajpayee served as foreign minister and earned a reputation for improving relations with China and Pakistan. He helped found the BJP  in 1980, but his moderation was overpowered by hard-liners. Vajpayee-one of the few Hindu leaders to speak out against the 1992 destruction of the historic Muslim mosque at Ayodhya – was sworn in as Prime Minister in May 1996 but served only 13 day in office, failing to attract needed support from other parities. In 1998 the BJP won a record number of seats but was forced to make a shaky alliance with regional parties, many of which were opposed to Hindu nationalism. At present he is the Prime Minister of the greatest democracy in the world.

Though Vajpayee had complained on the promise of international “peace and reconcilliation’’ and been praise for his eloquence, integrity and conciliatory gestures toward India’s 120 million Muslim minority, relations with Pakistan deteriorated in the months following the minority, relations with Pakistan despite pleas from the international community urging India and Pakistan to hold peace talks, Vajpayee and the then disposed Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan found it difficult even to agree on the topics open for discussion.

In Many 1998, India exploded five nuclear bombs in quick succession, reminding the world that the world that the nuclear era was far from over. Though condemnation for the acts was nearly universal in the west, Vajpayee struck a defiant role. Undaunted by the economic sanctions imposed by the US and japan and supported by the countrymen, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayye declared that “India has the sanction of her own past glory and future vision to become strong”. Prior to elections in early 1998, Vajpayee had been viewed by many as the moderate face of the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Parity (BJP).

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