Lal Bahadur Shashtri


lal-bahadur-shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri (2 October 1904 – 11 January 1966) was the 2nd Prime Minister of India and a senior leader of the INC political party. During the1965 Indo-Pakistan War, Shastri led the country. His slogan of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer) is remembered even now. The war completed on 10 January 1966 with the Tashkent Agreement, and he died on the very next day. Reportedly he died of heart attack but people said conspiracy behind his death. In his memory, Vijay Ghat memorial was established.

Early life and family

Shastri was born at the house of his maternal grandparents in Ramnagar, Varanasi in a Kayastha Hindu family that had traditionally been employed as highly administrators and civil servants. Shastri’s father, Sharada Prasad Srivastava, was a school teacher who later becomes a clerk in the revenue office at Allahabad, while his mother, Ramdulari Devi, was the daughter of Munshi Hazari Lal, the headmaster and English teacher at a railway school in Mughalsarai. Shastri was the second child and eldest son of his parents; he had an elder sister, Kailashi Devi (b. 1900). Shastri started his education at the age of four under the tutelage of a Maulvi (a Muslim cleric), Budhan Mian, at the East Central Railway Inter college in Mughalsarai. He was there until the sixth standard. In 1917, Bindeshwari Prasad (who was now head of the household) was transferred to Varanasi, and the entire family moved there, including Ramdulari Devi and her three children. In Varanasi, Shastri joining the seventh standard at Harish Chandra High School.  At this time, he marked to drop his caste-derived surname of “Srivastava” (which is a traditional surname for all Kayastha families). On 16 May 1928, Shastri married Lalita Devi a lady from Mirzapur. The marriage, which was arranged by their parents in the traditional Indian way, was harmonious and conventional. The couple had four sons and two daughters.

Political career

Shastri did a lot of services for the upliftment of Harijans, the lower caste people. He served as the Organizing Secretary of the Parliamentary Board of U.P. in 1937. He was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and took part in the national struggle for independence with full strength. In 1940, he was imprisoned for offering individual Satyagraha in support of the freedom movement. After being released he again jumped into the struggle, this time to take part in the Quit India Movement. He was again arrested and was released in 1946.

After India’s independence, Shastri served many posts covering the Minister of Police and Transport, General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee and Minister of Railways and Transport in the Central Cabinet. Shastri came to fame after the death of the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He was chosen as the candidate for Prime Ministership by the Congress Party, and he swore in as the Prime Minister of India on 9 June 1964. In his tenure as the Prime Minister of India, he had to go through tough times due to many challenges including India’s war with Pakistan.

In the war, he coined the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ encouraging farmers and soldiers, two leading forces of India. The war ended on the 17 September 1965, with the United Nations’ mediation. After the closure Shastri and the President of Pakistan, Mohammed Ayub Khan went to attend a summit at Tashkent, where they signed the Tashkent Declaration on 10th January 1966. The very next day Lal Bahadur Shastri died of a heart attack. He did a lot of effort in his short tenure as a Prime Minister of India.

Jai Jawan Jai Kisan

Shastri came up with the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ at Ramlila Maidan in 1965.

The reason why he gave this slogan was the attack that Pakistan did on India, soon after Shastri came to power. In the same period, the country also faced a food crisis. Shastri slogan is believed to have left an enthused effect on the soldiers to defend the country and cheered farmers to put even more effort to increase the production of grains. The slogan became very famous.

Memorials

  • Shastri was grant awarded the Bharat Ratna
  • Vijay Ghat was constructed in his memory
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie is built after his name.
  • The ‘Lal Bahadur Shastri Educational Trust’ constructed Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management in 1995, which is today one of the best business schools in India.
  • Some leading roads in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Warangal, Puducherry, and Allahabad are named after him.
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