Former Prime Minister of India and member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Atal Bihari Vajpayee was an understated politician of the kind not often seen in contemporary times. His patriotism was uncompromising, forged out of the paradoxes in his life: a sensitive poet who summoned nerves of steel to conduct the Pokhran-II nuclear tests; a man of humble beginnings who envisioned a project as titanic as the Golden Quadrilateral highways. Devoid of any natural political pedigree or patronage network, he harnessed his political acumen to transform India’s relations with the United States which had long been mired in misunderstandings rooted in the Cold War. His prudent decisions led to key strategic and economic policy contributions.
There is a need to understand Vajpayee as a decision-maker, with specific references to key initiatives in the strategic and economic fields that have had a significant effect on the India that we see today. Vajpayee fleshes out not only Vajyapee’s political philosophy but also provides an insider’s account and an intimate memoir of the person.