December 25 the birth anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee is also observed as Good Governance Day. Known for his oratory skills, Vajpayee was also a poet and a compassionate leader. A great statesman, Vajpayee was born in 1924 in Gwalior, he served three terms as the prime minister of India - first for a term of 13 days in 1996, then for 13 months from 1998 to 1999 and after that a full term from 1999 to 2004.
Here are some of the best quotes by Atal Bihari Vajpayee
- “Satta ka khel chalega" (the game of power will go on). Governments will come and go. Parties will be made and unmade. This country should survive, its democracy should survive,” said Vajpayee in Lok Sabha during the trust vote in May 1996.
- “You can change friends but not neighbours,” in Parliament in May 2003.
- “Education, in the truest self of the term, is a process of self-discovery. It is the art of self-sculpture. It trains the individual not so much in specific skills or in specific branches of knowledge, but in the flowering of his or her latent intellectual, artistic and humanist capacities. The test of education is whether it imparts an urge for learning and learnability, not this or that particular set of information,” he said during the inaugural speech of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations of the University Grants Commission.
- “One cannot wish away the fact that before good neighbours can truly fraternise with each other, they must first mend their fences,” he said on June 23, 2003 at the Peking University.
- “The Pokhran-2 nuclear tests were conducted neither for self-glorification, nor for any display of machismo. But this has been our policy, and I think it is also the policy of the nation, that there should be minimum deterrence, which should also be credible. This is why we took the decision to conduct tests,” he said in the Parliament on the 1998 nuclear tests.
- “We should strive hard to ensure that every R&D rupee brings greater benefits to the nation. Mutual suspicions and petty rivalries have continued to haunt us. As a result, the peace dividend has bypassed our region. History can remind us, guide us, teach us or warn us; it should not shackle us. We have to look forward now, with a collective approach in mind." — Talking on South Asia at the 12th SAARC Summit in Islamabad in January 2004
“Victory and defeat are a part of life, which are to be viewed with equanimity,” Vajpayee said.
- “Terrorism has become a festering wound. It is an enemy of humanity."
- “No guns but only brotherhood can resolve the problems."
- “Poverty is multidimensional. It extends beyond money incomes to education, health care, skills enhancement, political participation at all levels from the local to the global, access to natural resources, clean water and air, and advancement of one’s own culture and social organisation,” he said on 25 September, 2003 address at 58th Session of UN General Assembly.
- “My poet’s heart gives me the strength to face political problems, particularly those which have a bearing on my conscience."