Lal Bahadur Shastri Jayanti: All you need to know

New Delhi: Born on October 2, 1904, Lal Bahadur Shastri was the second Prime Minister of India. He took over the reins after the death of India’s first PM Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1964. The ‘man of peace’, as people prominently called him, he dedicated over 30 years of his life to the freedom struggle and building India’s infant years. The slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” was coined by him. It became a symbol of respect for soldiers and farmers of the country. “We would consider it our moral duty to lend all support to the ending of colonialism and imperialism so that people everywhere are free to mould their own destinies,” Lal Bahadur Shastri once said.

He was a leader of the Indian National Congress. Apart from his dedication and down-to-earth persona, he was known for his tragic and unprecedented death on January 11, 1966, in Tashkent. There have been debates on the causes of his death and speculations of a conspiracy, but no official or evident declaration has been made about the reasons.

As we mark his birth anniversary, let’s dive into his political career and life.

Lal Bahadur Shastri shared his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi. He was born at Mughalsarai in Uttar Pradesh to Sharada Prasad Srivastava and Ramdulari Devi. His father passed away 2 years after his birth. He stopped using caste surname at the age of 13 when his family relocated to Varanasi. By 1925, he was awarded the title Shastri by the Kashi Vidyapith and had degrees in philosophy and ethics. Gandhi, Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Annie Besant, and other figures inspired him to participate in the freedom struggle, which he did.

He was inspired by Swami Vivekananda. He joined the Congress actively in 1928 and two years later in 1930, he participated in Salt Satyagraha. He was jailed several times for 7 years collectively. He went on to become the Cabinet minister in the Nehru Ministry in 1952. He was allotted important portfolios including railways and transport. He also served as the Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1958 and Minister of Home Affairs in 1961. As a man of integrity, he resigned willingly after a fatal train accident. Replying to the long debate on the Railway accident, Lal Bahadur Shastri said; “Perhaps due to my being small in size and soft of the tongue, people are apt to believe that I am not able to be very firm. Though not physically strong, I think I am internally not so weak.” Later, after Nehru’s death, he assumed the post of Prime Minister.

He supported the White Revolution incepted by Varghese Kurien and defended India during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

His death is considered a mysterious demise. The man of peace, simplicity and integrity is believed to have suffered a fatal heart attack at Tashkent, where he inked the peace agreement between India and Pakistan to formally end the 1965 war. The Raj Narain Committee was set up to investigate his death. The government, however, refused to release or even declassify any documents pertaining to his death. He was cremated at Vijay Ghat in Delhi and awarded Bharat Ratna posthumously.



Sunil Kumar Dhangadamajhi

𝘌𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘳, 𝘠𝘢𝘥𝘶 𝘕𝘦𝘸𝘴 𝘕𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 ✉
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