“There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the crossroads of history and must choose which way to go.”
– Lal Bahadur Shastri
Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri is known as a man of great integrity and competence. He was born on October 2, 1904, at a small town seven miles away from Uttar Pradesh. After his father died, he settled in his maternal grandfather’s house. Afterwards, he was sent to Varanasi with his uncle to go to high school.
Often Lal Bahadur Shastri was called Nanhe, “little one” used to walk to his school miles away from his home barefooted in the scorching heat of summer.
Lal Bahadur Shastri finished his graduation from Kashi Vidyapeeth in 1926. He was given the title of Shastri, meaning A scholar as a bachelor’s degree award. Tilak and Mahatma Gandhi were a great influence on him.
He was a humble man who was tolerant and had strengths and resoluteness to understand the language of his people. He led the country towards progress and represented the best in Indian Culture.
He became a life member of the Lok Sevak Mandal ( servant of the people society) which was founded by Lala Lajpat Rai. From here he decided to work on the uplifting of backward classes for which he later became the president of the society.
Shastri Ji in the 1920s joined the Indian Independence movement where he participated in the noncooperation movement. In 1930, he was imprisoned for two years for participating in the Salt Satyagraha movement. He then joined the parliament Board of U.P as organising secretary.
After Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India speech, he was again sent to jail with a total of 9 years in jail throughout his journey. During his stay in jail, he familiarised himself with the works of revolutionaries, social reformers, and western philosophers.
He was India’s second Prime Minister and shared the same birth date as Mahatma Gandhi. He was the introducer of the slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kisan and played a major role in shaping the future of India.
He also introduced the provision of female drivers and conductors when he was transport minister in public transportation. As a home minister, he developed the first community on the prevention of Corruption.
Lal Bahadur Shastri introduced the idea of the Green Revolution to boost the food production of India and fulfil the demand needed.
He also promoted the white revolution for the production of milk in the country and also created the National Dairy Development Board.
Lal Bahadur Shastri played a significant role in putting an end to the 1965 war by signing the Tashkent Declaration in January 1996 with the Pakistani president, Mohammad Ayub Khan.
When Lal Bahadur Shastri was a minister in charge of the police department, he introduced the use of jets of water rather than lathis yo dispersed the resenting crowds.
In 1964, he signed the Sirimavo-Shastri pact with the Srilankan Prime Minister regarding the status of Indian Tamils in Ceylon.
He was highly disciplined and knew what he wanted for India to bring the change needed in the Indians culture and economy of the country too. He was amongst the people who raised voice against the caste system and dowry system in India.
He was one of the most prominent leaders of his time, and he continuously fought for the freedom and success of India by adopting different strategies under the influence of Mahatma Gandhi.
He worked tremendously for the economic growth of India and its prosperity.
After he signed the Tashkent Agreement, immediately on the 10th of January 1966, there was news that he had a heart attack and died. Till date, it is a mystery, and many of his close ones believe that it was a foul play. Many believe he was poisoned. However, the doctors certified that his death was due to cardiac arrest.