The Indian American community in New York organized a prayer meeting to pay tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Those who came to pay tribute were Padma Shri Dr. Sudhir Parikh, founder and chairman of Parikh Worldwide Media, who had a personal interaction with Vajpayee for many years, along with Jagdish Sewhani, president of the American India Public Affairs Committee, Dr. Shashi Shah, Dr. Urmilesh Arya, Harpreet Singh Toor, Gunjan Rastogi, Virender Patel, Mohinder Taneja, Gobind Bathija and Shud Prakash Singh.
“With his demise, the nation has lost the tallest leader. It will be impossible to fill this void. He left behind a rich legacy. Former Prime Minister Vajpayee was a great poet, a great orator, a great politician, a great statesman and a great human being. He served the country all his life, first as a Swayamsevak then as member of parliament in 1957 and finally as a prime minister,” Sewhani said.
“Whoever came close to him was impressed by him. Pundit Nehruji was recognized when Vajpayee was 40-years-old and a Member of Parliament. He predicted that one day he would be the future prime minister,” he added.
Sewhani continued to list all of the accomplishments during Vajpayee’s rule including announcing to the world of India’s nuclear capabilities with Pokhran 2 in May 1998.
“Vajpayee always wanted to have a peaceful relationship with our neighbors in Pakistan. Keeping that in mind, he traveled by bus to Lahore. However, his peace initiative with Pakistan was met with a misadventure which led to the Kargil war in which Pakistan incurred heavy losses and ultimately they were forced to turn to the U.S. to end the war,” Sewhani mentioned.
Vajpayee was a great diplomat and contributed immensely in improving the U.S.-India relationship.