VARANASI: Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s stint with journalism and his relation with publications like Rashtra Dharma, Veer Arjun and Panchjanya are well known, but very few people know that he was initiated into writing and poetry after the encouragement he got from a small Varanasi publication ‘Samachar’ and its editor Bhaiya Ji Banarasi.

Most of his early works were published by this paper, which proved to be the nursery for ‘Atal-the-journalist’.

Before writing for Samachar, Vajpayee also wrote for Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s fortnightly journal ‘Chetna’ from Varanasi.

Bhaiya Ji Banarasi’s elder brother Pannalal Gupta and one of Vajpayee’s closest , said in those days, Vaypayee was settled in Varanasi and used Chetna to propagate the Sangh’s ideology till it was shut down.

“He used to handle a lot of other responsibilities for Chetna. However, we had to stop publishing it after six months due to a lockout. He (Vajpayee) then began writing articles and poems for Samachar.”

The former PM later moved to Lucknow and joined Swadesh, which also closed down after six months.

He continued working as a journalist till the emergence of Bhartiya Jan Sangh, the political party founded by Shyama Prasad Muookerjee in 1951. “His writings and poems were full of spirit,” said Gupta, who is based in New Delhi.
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