Nice editorial by Mint as we just bid goodbye to India’s former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee.
Politicians are thick upon the ground in India. Atal Bihari Vajpayee was a rarer breed: a statesman. It was a stature he acquired despite himself at times. In a political life that spanned seven decades, he rose to become one of India’s most consequential prime ministers and a colossus of the Indian Right.
His political life had four distinct stages. In the 1930s, K. B. Hedgewar’s Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was still in many respects a fledgeling organization, digesting diverse influences—from Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the Hindu Mahasabha to, most importantly, V. D. Savarkar. Vajpayee joined the organization towards the end of the decade. Under Hedgewar’s successor, M. S. Gowalkar, the RSS made a tactical choice to stay aloof from the mass movement for independence. Vajpayee had other ideas. In 1942, he jumped into…
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