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Atal Behari Vajpayee (25 Dec 1924 - present)

Atal Bihari Vajpayee was born on December 25 1924, in Gwalior. His father name is Shri Krishna Bihari Vajpayee. Atal Bihari Vajpayee has earned a masters degree in political science from the Victoria College now Laxmibai College and DAV College . He began his involvement in politics as a freedom-fighter during the Quit India Movement of 1942-1945.

He was one of the founding members of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh (Indian People's Union), a party linked to the Hindu organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of which he was the President between 1968 and 1973. He was first elected to the Parliament of India in 1957 and was the leader of the Jana Sangh political party up to the formation of the Janata Party in 1977. He served as the Minister for External Affairs in the government of Morarji Desai from March 1977 to July 1979. In 1980, he left the Janata Party,and helped form the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He was leader of the BJP parliamentary party between 1980 and 1984, 1986 and between 1993 and 1996. He was the leader of the Opposition in the 11th Lok Sabha. Serving in both the lower house, the Lok Sabha , and the upper house, the Rajya Sabha , he has represented his home town of Gwalior, and the city of Lucknow.

On October 13, 1999, he took charge as Prime Minister of India for the second consecutive term at the head of a new coalition government, the National Democratic Alliance. He was Prime Minister for a short period in 1996. He is the only Prime Minister since Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to have become Prime Minister of India through three successive mandates.

A veteran Parliamentarian whose career stretches over four decades, Shri Vajpayee has been elected to the Lok Sabha (House of the People) nine times and to the Rajya Sabha (House of the States) twice.

Educated at Victoria (now Laxmi Bai) College, Gwalior and DAV College, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, Shri Vajpayee holds an M.A (Political Science) degree and has many literary, artistic and scientific accomplishments. He edited Rashtradharma (a Hindi monthly), Panchjanya (a Hindi weekly) and the dailies Swadesh and Veer Arjun. His published works include "Meri Sansadiya Yatra" (four volumes), "Meri Ikkyavan Kavitayen", "Sankalp Kaal", "Shakti-se-Shanti", "Four Decades in Parliament" (speeches in three volumes), 1957-95, "Lok Sabha mein Atalji" (a collection of speeches); Mrityu Ya Hatya", "Amar Balidan", "Kaidi Kaviraj Ki Kundalian" (a collection of poems written in jail during Emergency); "New Dimensions of India's Foreign Policy" (a collection of speeches delivered as External Affairs Minister during 1977-79); "Jan Sangh Aur Mussalman"; "Sansad Mein Teen Dashak" (Hindi) (speeches in Parliament - 1957-1992 - three volumes; and "Amar Aag Hai" (a collection of poems) 1994.

Shri Vajpayee has served on a number of important Committees of Parliament. He was Chairman, Committee on Government Assurances (1966-67); Chairman, Public Accounts Committee (1967-70); Member, General Purposes Committee (1986); Member, House Committee and Member, Business Advisory Committee, Rajya Sabha (1988-90); Chairman, Committee on Petitions, Rajya Sabha (1990-91); Chairman, Public Accounts Committee, Lok Sabha (1991-93); Chairman, Standing Committee on External Affairs (1993-96).

India's second highest civilian honour, the Padma Vibhushan. He was also conferred the Lokmanya Tilak Puruskar and the Bharat Ratna Pt. Govind Ballabh Pant Award for the Best Parliamentarian, both in 1994. Kanpur University honoured him with an Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy in 1993.

Nine Unknown Men

Nine Unknown Men are a two millennia-old secret society founded by the Indian Emperor Asoka.