(via Santosh Desai) I am a great admirer of Atal Behari Vajpayee. Santosh writes why he continues to be an enigma is well described in his blog post.
Vajpayee was an arbiter of circumstances who had an instinctive grasp of large issues set in large canvases. We associate him with wisdom rather than intelligence, and value his intention over his action. His strength lay what he could absorb, rather than what he could transform. He understood power as the ability to mediate between interests and sought to find a balance that might be imperfect but was viable. Perhaps his greatest ability was to understand the power of time, and its ability to provide resolutions that the current set of options were simply incapable of doing.
To the voters, it was as if Vajpayee was the delta produced after millennia of flowing of the river called India, the deposit of alluvial wisdom steeped in time and memory. Everyone could find a bit of themselves in him when they saw him, and we recognized in him what we wanted to be, not in narrow material or ideological terms but terms of a the person he was.. He was what an Indian leader given the history and complexity of our civilisation, should have looked like. A man of a million refractions, in him we could see a statesman, a poet, a humanist, a sage and above all a very likeable human being. >>>