(CNN) -- Here's a look at the life of Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former Prime Minister of India.
Personal: Birth date: December 25, 1924
Birthplace: Gwalior, India
Birth name: Atal Bihari Vajpayee (some sources spell it Behari)
Father: Shri Krishna Behari, father, a teacher
Marriage: Never married
Education: Victoria College (Laxmi Bai College); Dayan and Anglo-Vedic College, M.A. in Political Science
Other Facts: Vajpayee's family was in the Brahmin caste in India.
He is a critically acclaimed poet and admired speaker.
He is considered a champion of women's rights and favors the eradication of the caste system.
Vajpayee was elected to India's Lok Sabha (House of the People) a record nine times and elected to the Rajya Sabha (House of the States) two times.
Timeline: In his teens, joins Hindu nationalist group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
1942 - Detained for 24 days for activities with the RSS.
1951 - Joins the Jana Sangh, a conservative political party.
1957 - Becomes leader of the Jana Sangh.
1957 - Elected to the People's Assembly, or Lok Sabha.
1962 - Elected to a six-year term in the Rajya Sabha.
1975 - Jailed along with other dissident politicians during a declared state of emergency.
1977 - Becomes Minister for External Affairs when the Jana Sangh Party comes into power as the Janata Party.
1980 - Helps found and becomes president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
1984 - Loses his seat in the People's Assembly.
1991 - Wins a seat in the People's Assembly.
1996 - Runs as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate. Wins but his party's government lasts only 13 days before it is ousted.
March 19, 1998 - After the BJP assembles a winning coalition, is sworn in as prime minister.
April 17, 1999 - Resigns after his government loses a parliamentary vote of confidence.
October 13, 1999 - Sworn in again as prime minister after his party and its allies regain control.
May 13, 2004 - Concedes the election after his party loses seats to rivals in parliamentary elections.
December 29, 2005 - Announces his retirement from politics.
February 2009 - Hospitalized in India with a respiratory infection that requires he be put on a ventilator.
March 1, 2009 - Released from the hospital.