It was my good fortune that I was able to meet Atalji twice in New Delhi. He had not become the Prime Minister yet but was a member of the Parliament. The first one was a casual meeting and nothing significant happened.
The second was more important. Indian History and Culture Society was started in New Delhi and Swaraj Prakash Gupta was its President. I was one of the Secretaries looking after South India. There was a conference in Delhi in which Atalji, P. C. Chandar, B. N. Puri, Awadh Kishore Narain and myself presented papers.
I was the President for one of the sessions of the conference. It was related to Indian Administration. Atalji was to speak on Kautilya’s Arthasastra. For some reason he could not attend the conference. However, he joined all of us at the dinner. I was introduced to Atalji as a student of Prof. K. A. Nilakanta Sastry, the greatest scholar in South Indian History.
We were all keen on knowing why Atalji could not attend the Conference. We asked him. Atalji replied, ‘I had prepared the research paper on Kautilya’s Arthasastra. But he learnt that a scholar (pointing towards me) was presiding over the session. It was in Mysore that Arthasastra was discovered and a scholar from that city is presiding over this session. I had no courage to be at the session’ he added. Everybody laughed at this remark. This is the greatness of Atalji.
Though he praised me I felt that my responsibility has increased. That was Atal Bihari Vajpayee. I join the entire world in paying homage to this great soul, a precious gem of Bharat. May his soul rest in peace.
– Dr. A. V. Narasimha Murthy, Chairman – BVB, Mysuru, 19.8.2018
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