50,122 deaths in this year, the situation with migrant workers, political and social discord, an unstable economy and to top it all off, the tensions with China at the LAC. 2020 has not been a great year for the world and not for India but amidst all this, we celebrated the birth of our country yesterday. Today we celebrate the life of a man who shaped the course of this country for the better.
In his Parliamentary speech on the 31st of May, 1996, Atal Ji famously said, “The game of power will continue, administrations will come and go, political parties will form and perish but this country (India) and its Democracy should always persevere. (Translated)”
The above quote was said during a No-Confidence motion session in the Parliament but the significance of those words go beyond momentary political strife. They tell us a story of rare political collaboration that our country hasn’t seen since. This is a story of how Indian political leaders put patriotism above politics and showed the world that no matter how young, India means business.
The chain of events that started in 1947 was triggered one again in 1990. Benazir Bhutto(Pakistani politician who served as the country’s Prime Ministre from 1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996) called a conference of Pakistan’s top political leaders on the 4th of February 1990. In this conference, they announced 5th of February as a day of solidarity with the Kashmiri population which, according to them, was under Indian subjugation. Within the next 5 days, the Pakistani Parliament passed a resolution rejecting India’s claim on Jammu and Kashmir and they demanded a United Nations resolution on the same.
She visited POK on March 13, 1990, and her words indicated full support of the militant movement. She said, “We support Kashmiris today and will continue to support them till death. And even if we die our last words will be: ‘fight for humanity, fight for the right of self-determination, fight for Kashmir,” and even went on to call for a thousand years of war.
In 1991, late Shri P.V. Narsimha Rao became the Prime Minister from the Congress party and the opposition leader at the time was Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. Under their leadership, the Parliament of India unanimously passed the Kashmir Resolution on 22nd February 1994. The resolution firmly demanded that the state of Pakistan “vacate the areas of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir, which they have occupied through aggression.”
On the 27th of February that year Pakistan moved to the UNHRC and condemned India for its actions.
Seeing the issue getting out of hand, Narsimha Rao handpicked a delegation that would resolve this issue for India and at its helm was Opposition leader Shri Atal Bihar Vajpayee.
The delegation also included Salman Khurshid, Farooq Abdullah, Hamid Ansari and Manmohan Singh.
When on the floor of the United Nations nobody cared who was from the Congress and who was from the BJP. They represented India and after a series of brilliant moves, turned the table on Pakistan. Most countries that had supported Pakistan backtracked on the day of the resolution.
Atal Ji showed great statesmanship and willingness to collaborate. He went on to become the first Non-Congress Prime Minister of the country to hold a full term of office. The above incident was one of from many incidences though which Atal Ji reshaped India’s future. Throughout his life, he set examples of model citizenship. He also became the first person to give a speech in Hindi at the United Nations.
The Modi-led BJP Government in 2014, declared 25th December, Atal Ji’s birthday as ‘Good Governance Day’ as a tribute to his statesmanship and leadership.
Paid tributes to respected Atal Ji at Sadaiv Atal this morning. pic.twitter.com/9pEnLeqXmz
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 16, 2020