‘Bharat Ratna’ Lal Bahadur Shrivastava Shastri (2 October 1904 – 11 January 1966), he shares his birthday with the Mahatma on October 2. He was the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.
A staunch Gandhian he discontinued the use of his surmane as it indicated his caste. he was born in Mughalsarai and moving to Varanasi in persual of higher education. A 1915, speech of Gandhiji converted him into a lifelong Gandhian. He spend some 9 years in prison for participating in the freedom struggle. His values never ditched him. During one of his prison terms his daughter fell ill. He was released for 15 days from teh prison. She died and a stoic Shastri performed her funeral rites and returned to prison, before time. And when his son’s illness was not cured withing the stipulated parole time he returned to prison..
In prison he got acquinted with the works of western philosophers, revolutionaries and social reformers and translated the autobiography of Marie Curie to Hindi.
After independence, he was appointed as Parliamentary Secretary in Uttar Pradesh. Then He became Minister of Police and Transport. He was the first to appoint women conductors and ordered that Police use jets of water instead of lathis to disperse unruly crowds.
In 1951, he became the General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee and played an important role in the landslide successes of the Congress Party in the General Elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962.
In 1951, Nehru nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. He served as the Minister of Railways and Transport in the Central Cabinet from 1951 to 1956. In 1956, he offered his resignation after a railway accident at Mahbubnagar and three months later, he resigned accepting moral and constitutional responsibility for a railway accident at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu that resulted in 144 deaths. His unprecedented gesture was greatly appreciated by the citizens.
In 1957 he was appointed as the Minister for Transport and Communications, and then as the Minister of Commerce and Industry. In 1961, he became Minister for Home. Chacha Nehru died in office on 27 May 1964. Then Congress Party President K. Kamaraj was instrumental in making and installing Shastri as Prime Minister on 9 June. He pushed through the Green Revolution which led to India becoming a food-surplus nation, although he did not live to see it.
During the 22-day war with Pakistan, Lal Bahadur Shastri created the slogan of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (“Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer”). He was instrumental in promoting the White Revolution.
The problem for Shastri’s administration was Pakistan. Laying claim to half of the Kutch peninsula, Pakistan sent incursion forces in August 1965, leading to the Indo-Pak war. The Indo-Pak war ended on 23 September 1965 with a United Nations-mandated ceasefire. After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR) organised by Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration. The next day Shastri died, supposedly of a heart attack at 1:32 AM, and now he rest at Vijay Ghat, Delhi
He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, and his memorial “Vijay Ghat” in Delhi will forever remind Indians and humanity how this unassuming man personified ‘where there is a will there is a way’. His life would be a lesson for generations to come.
History has not forgotten this giant…… Jai Hind !!
Toshali Resotrts Pay Tribute and Celebrates the 106th Birth anniversary of Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri on 2nd October’2010 (Saturday) and invites you for a Weekend Getaway at Toshali Sands, Puri India. For Reservation and travel booking contact your travel consultant firstname.lastname@example.org
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