Saturday, April 23, 2011


Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri was chosen to become the second Prime Minister of India after the death of Pandit Nehru. The whole world wondered whether this small-sized simple man would prove worthy of stepping into the shoes of such a great man as Nehru.But soon all doubts were set at rest when Shastri discharged his duties and responsibilities with great ability and took hard decisions with ease. He really proved himself to be the brave son, the literal meaning of his name LaI Bahadur, of his motherland, India. The pocket-sized Prime Minister, as the people lovingly used to call him,came out to be of the Himalayan heights by his deeds and achievements.

Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904 in a poor Kayastha family in Uttar Pradesh. It was a family of school teachers in which he was brought up under circumstances which gave him nothing to boast of. His father had died when he was only a small child and his uncle brought him up. After finishing his primary education in the village, he was sent for further education at Harish Chandra High School at Varanasi (then Benaras). He used to go to the school on foot from his village after crossing a river on the way in a boat. But often he had no money to pay to the boatman and he crossed the river by swimming. He was a very brilliant student and made his mark in his studies. But at the call of Gandhi, along with other youths of the country he also gave up his studies and joined the political movement against the British. It was only later that he took his degree of Shastri from the Kashi Vidyapeeth at Varanasi.

Mr. Shastri joined politics as very humble and modest soldier of his country. He was a patriot and so could check himself from plunging himself into the struggle for freedom. He worked honestly and sincerely without ever desiring to come into the lime light. He had great organising capacity and a wonderful gift of bringing about compromises among the people as well as the workers of the party. He was associated with great leaders of the freedom struggle like Gandhi, Nehru, Pant, etc., and left his mark on them. He contributed with his best capacity to the gaining of independence of India on August 15, 1947.

Mr. Lal Bahadur started his political career with his membership of the Allahabad local body. Then he was made a minister in the U.P. cabinet under the Chief Ministership of Mr.Govind Ballabh Pant. Later on, Mr. Jawaharlal Nehru invited him to join his cabinet as Minister of Railways. After sometime he was given the important position of Home Minister in the Nehru cabinet. After the sad demise of Pandit Nehru, Mr. Shastri was chosen to be the Prime Minister.

As Prime Minister, Shàstri had to take some very hard decisions. The country was facing serious food problem. He guided the country out of this difficulty with courage and determination. Pakistan attacked India and Shastri gave the marvellous lead to the country to defeat the enemy and keep the morale high. He gave the country the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan, Jal Kisan’.

To keep peace between the two countries, U.S.S.R. Prime Minister invited Shastri and his counterpart in Pakistan for talks. He signed Tashkent Declaration. It was there that the cruel hands of death, snatched him from us on January 11, 1966. He is no more but his memory will always remain in every Indian heart.

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