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Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Kargil Vijay and Sahara India Pariwar: A story that remains untold

Former PM and the country’s beloved leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee breathed his last on August 16, 2018, just a day after the nation heartily celebrated its 72nd Independence Day. The entire nation’s grief was evident from the number of people who swarmed in to join Vajpayee’s funeral procession.

With various leaders, celebrities, and poets being approached by the media to get an insight into the former PM’s life and times, the television and the internet remained full of the achievements made by Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his tenure as the premier leader of India.

We were reminded of the Pokharan-II nuclear tests, Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan, National Highway Development Program among others. However, the biggest achievement of Vajpayee is unanimously considered to be the Kargil War, which remains one of the most illustrious chapters in the history of India and its military forces.

Years later, we still bask in the glory of our soldiers’ valor as we commemorate their sacrifices by celebrating Kargil Vijay Diwas every year. However, like all wars, Kargil Vijay too came with a price. Blood was spilled, lives were lost, and families were shattered.

As it remains unbeknownst to many people belonging to the current generation, it was in the backdrop of Kargil War that Sahara India Pariwar chief Subrata Roy Sahara forged a connection with the then-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee – a connection of humanity, support and mutual respect.

In 1999, Sahara India Pariwar was one of the few private organizations that stood by our strong

and aided the Kargil martyrs and their families. Saharasri Subrata Roy has been supporting over 301 children of the Kargil martyrs’ who are below the age of 18 years.

They have also adopted the families of Kargil martyrs, providing them emotional and economic support. More than Rs 50 crore has been allocated by the company for their help. The patronage didn’t end there. Years after the war, through its entertainment channel, Sahara India televised Mission Fateh, a show where the story of the martyrs were presented without masala, true to every detail.

Commending Subrata Roy Sahara and his company’s contribution, Atal Bihari Vajpayee had said, “I thank Sahara India Pariwar for taking up the responsibility of 300 Kargil martyrs’ families. I believe more such institutions and families will come forward to fulfil their duty towards the nation.”

And they did. Sahara India Pariwar was soon joined by The Telegraph and Anand Bazaar Patrika, who set up the Kargil fund, where the common Indian could make a donation. Several Indians like Veni Prakash Khandelwal, who gave away his sagan to the fund, and six-year-old Satrupa Das, who collected money every morning for the same, were worth a praise.

Reminiscing the bond of mutual respect Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Sahara India Pariwar shared, the latter issued a page-long Shraddhanjali for the late former PM in major national newspapers. “You shall be ATAL in our memories,” the Shraddhanjali read.

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