Vajpayee was born to Krishna Devi and Krishna Bihari Vajpayee on 25 December 1924 in Gwalior. His grandfather, Pandit Shyam Lal Vajpayee, had migrated to Morena, Gwalior from his ancestral village of Bateshwar, Uttar Pradesh. His father, Krishna Bihari Vajpayee, was a school teacher in his hometown. Vajpayee did his schooling at the Saraswati Shishu Mandir in Gwalior. In 1934, Atal Bihari was admitted to AVM School Barnagar Distt Ujjain after his father joined as headmaster. He spoke about his 'lifechanging moment' at a public rally on the 1996 Lok Sabha election trail. He said “But I learned a lesson that changed my life. I took a pledge I’d never rote-learn a speech. It was my first speech at AVM (Anglo Vernacular Middle) School,”. He subsequently attended Gwalior's Victoria College (now Laxmi Bai College) and graduated with distinction in Hindi, English and Sanskrit. He completed his post-graduation with an M. A. in Political Science from DAV College, Kanpur, and was awarded a first-class degree.