Yesterday, India lost one of its most influential political figures, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, a former Prime Minister and an influential leader of the Bhartiya Janta Party. Vajpayee (93) died at All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) in New Delhi on 16 August. The revered politician’s death saw many from the fraternity grieving the loss. PM Narendra Modi took to the media and expressed his sorrow by saying that this an ‘end of an era’. Poetic, democratic, compassionate and a true leader, these are only a few qualities that Vajpayee exuded. Here’s how some powerful Indian women remembered the late Prime Minister and the poet-politician:

Sagarika Ghose, Journalist

“For me Atal Bihari Vajpayee was above all the ideal Prime Minister of a coalition government. He was a unifying, reconciling personality. He never hid his own ideology as he was from the RSS background but at the same time he tried to reconcile ideological rigidity through a common human factor. His poetry also emphasizes the human factor, the human spirit, the human striving, the human attempt to rise beyond party and beyond ideology. So to me, he was a politician who played the human factor against ideological rigidities,” she told SheThePeople.TV.

ALSO READ: India’s Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee Passes Away At 93

I. Sharada, Director of Population First

“I have my own little memory of him which always makes me remember him with admiration and awe.”

“We lived in the same flat complex in La Plaza near Hazratganj in Lucknow. As expected there would always be a lot of security. Yet, never even once were we inconvenienced by them anytime. The most lasting memory was of him speaking to the small children playing in the compound when the electricity had gone and he could not climb the stairs to his house. How simple, humble and unassuming. RIP Mr Vajpayee,” wrote Sharada in her Facebook post.

Nirupama Rao, retired diplomat

“As spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs in the period 2001-2002 it was an honour to serve him as our Prime Minister – a man of unbounded eloquence, perspicacity, and a profound understanding of statecraft, history, and human behaviour. The quintessential democrat, without an ounce of malice. The poet in him never gave up on his dream for peace in our region and I shall never forget the Lear-like droop in his shoulders – the tragic visage of the sad patriarch – as he witnessed the collapse of the Agra Summit in the summer of 2001 and the bloodshed in Gujarat, 2002.

The best elements of nature combined in him so that the world could say “Here was a man”: his humour and zest for life made him one of the most endearing of human beings I have ever met. I remember the twinkle of the eye with which he would utter his witticisms that were always brilliant and funny without a tinge of any poisoned barb.

He is now one with the stars in our mighty universe. But not forgotten. He cannot be. For here was one of independent India’s greatest. A man of deep wisdom and goodness. We will miss him for his immense caliber as a leader of this country, his embrace of the values on which our nation was founded, and his unerring moral compass. Sir, you are irreplaceable. God rest your soul,” wrote Rao in her post.

The best elements of nature combined in him so that the world could say “Here was a man”: his humour and zest for life made him one of the most endearing of human beings I have ever met. I remember the twinkle of the eye with which he would utter his witticisms that were always brilliant and funny without a tinge of any poisoned barb.

Teena Sharma, BJP Spokesperson

“While I never had any personal encounters with him and only saw him in the past few years during his birthday in December and paid our wishes. But he was the man who promoted people in politics and he was beyond petty politics. Since I belong to a family that followed RSS from a  very early era so I have heard my grandfather say that Vajpayee ji used to pick up people and gauge talent in people. He was a pure nationalist and always respected his peer whether they were in the opposition party. During Pokhran II, he large-heartedly complimented Indira Gandhi. How often do we see that happening today?” Sharma said to SheThePeople.TV.

Picture credit: FirstPost

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