Lal Bahadur Shastri Biography
Lal Bahadur Shastri, a man of actions, was the second Prime Minister of India and a leader of the Indian National Congress party. He joined the post on 9 June 1964, after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru. Born in 1904 in Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh as Lal Bahadur Srivastava, he was brought up at his maternal grandfather’s house till the age of ten.
As a boy he was fond of reading books of Guru Nanak Dev. He was strongly against the caste system and as a result he dropped his surname, Srivastava.
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 today. The war ended on 10 January 1966 with the Tashkent Agreement, and he died on the very next day. Reportedly he died of heart attack but people claim conspiracy behind his death. In his memory, Vijay Ghat memorial was established.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born to Sharada Prasad and Ramdulari Devi. He got married to Lalita Devi in 1927. He sat an example by taking just a Charkha and a few yards of khadi as the only items of dowry.
Shastri did a lot of work for the upliftment of Harijans, the lower caste people. He worked as the Organizing Secretary of the Parliamentary Board of U.P. in 1937. He was greatly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi and took part in national struggle for independence with full vigour. 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 including 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 prominence after the death of the then Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. He was elected as the candidate for Prime Ministership by the Congress Party, and he swore in as the Prime Minister of India on 9 June 1964. During 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.
During 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 ceasefire 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 work 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 coined this slogan was the attack that Pakistan did on India, soon after Shastri came to power. During the same period, the country also faced food crisis. His 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 popular.
- Shastri was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna
- Vijay Ghat was established in his memory
- Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussorie is built after his name.
- The ‘Lal Bahadur Shastri Educational Trust’ established Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management in 1995, which is today one of the best business schools in India.
- Some major roads in the cities of New Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Lucknow, Warangal, Puduchery and Allahabad are named after him.