Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Lal Bahadur Shastri

"There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the cross-roads of history and must choose which way to go. But for us there need be no difficulty or hesitation, no looking to right or left. Our way is straight and clear—the building up of a socialist democracy at home with freedom and prosperity for all, and the maintenance of world peace and friendship with all nations." (Lal bahadur Shastri)

Lal Bahadur Shastri, known as the common man's leader, is one among those great Indians, who have given ineradicable impressions and unique contributions to public life. He was the second Prime Minister of Independent India. Though soft spoken, short in height and physical appearance, he was a man of great courage and will.

Shastri was born in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh on October 2, 1904. In 1926, he graduated with a first-class degree from the Kashi Vidyapeeth from where acquired the title 'Shastri'.

Shastri joined and became active in the Indian independence movement when he was only seventeen years old. Lal Bahadur Shastri jailed several times during freedom struggle for his participation in non-cooperation movement,Civil Disobedience Movement, Quit India Movement, Salt satyagraha/ dandi march etc and was released in 1945.

He had been praised by virtue of his administrative ability and organization skill and appointed as parliamentary Secretary during the ministry of Govind Vallabh Pant in Uttar Pradesh. Shastri became the General Secretary of Indian National Congress during the first general elections and became the Railway and transport minister when Nehru sworn in as the first prime minister of independent India.. He has also held the portfolios of Transport & Communications, Commerce and Industry, and Home Ministry in the Central cabinet.

After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri was unanimously elected as the Prime Minister of India.

Shastri's tenure witnessed several conflicts such as the Madras anti-Hindi agitation of 1965 where the effort of government to establish hindi as a sole languange and it is been resisted by non hindi speaking states , especially Madras State.

During his period, India won war against Pakistan in 1965 and he became a national hero following the victory in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. Shastri gave the seminal ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kishan’ ("Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer") slogan at Urwa in Allahabad that later became a national slogan. 

On January 11, 1966, the day after signing the Tashkent Declaration , a peace agreement between India and Pakistan, Prime Minister Shastri died of Heart attack.

After his death he has been honoured with Bharat Ratna award. He became a great source of inspiration for all the countrymen with great simplicity and honesty. Following nehru's policies on non-alignment and socialism, Shashtri's efforts to uplift the nation and common man in India made his name engraved in golden letters.

(Updated on 30/5/2014)