Very rarely one would associate former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee with anything apart from politics and poetry. The tallest leader of the country, who garnered accolades across political parties for his secular stance, righteous ideologies and compassion, leaves behind an unparalleled legacy. Vajpayee breathed his last on August 16 after he was admitted to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on June 11 as he suffered with kidney tract infection, chest congestion, urinary tract infection and low urine output.
Did you know when Vajpayee was 69, he stood in queues and tried ride after ride at Disneyland while on an official trip in the U.S? After completing his official engagements in the U.S, Vajpayee, along with his aide Shiv Kumar went bonkers at the amusement park. Kumar said, “We stood in the queues for each and every ride. I don’t think I have ever seen him in such a jolly mood.”
Here are 10 interesting facts about Vajpayee:
- Vajpayee was born on December 25, 1924 in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh.
- As a mark of respect, his birthday is celebrated as ‘Good Governance Day’ in India.
- He was a bachelor. However, he adopted a girl Namita Bhattacharya.
- His favourite singers were Lata Mangeshkar, Mukesh and Mohammad Rafi.
- He was the first person to give a speech in Hindi at the United Nations General Assembly in 1977.
- Vajpayee studied law at DAV College, Kanpur along with his father. They studied in the same class and even shared the same hostel room! It was only after Vajpayee’s classmates started talking about the father-son duo, they were placed in different sections.
- In 1942, Vajpayee along with his brother Prem, spent 23 days in prison for participating in the Quit India Movement against the British government.
- Vajpayee was known to be a good cook. He also became the ‘head cook’ during his stay in prison during Emergency. He was a foodie. Apart from fish and Chinese cuisine, malpua, khichdi and kheer were among his favourite dishes.
- Former Prime Minister Pt Jawaharlal Nehru had once predicted that Vajpayee would one day become the prime minister of India.
- At 93, he was the oldest living Indian former prime minister.