Lal Bahadur Shastri, an extraordinaire Hero, with the the will of a lion and tenderness of a river, a soft-spoken leader who gave the boldest commands to maintain the honor of the Tricolor. He served the nation with great devotion and responsibility as the second Prime Minister of India. Shastriji, has many diamonds pecked to his fame.
Shastriji is known for his slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, where he led India to victory. Soon after Shastri took over the prime ministership of India after Nehru’s death, India was attacked by Pakistan. At the same time there was scarcity of foodgrains in country. Shastri gave the slogan Jai Jawan Jai Kisan to enthuse the soldiers to defend India and simultaneously cheering farmers to do their best to increase the production of food grains to reduce dependence on import.
While most of us know that Mahatma Gandhi was born on 2nd October 1869, few people might be aware that Lal Bahadur Shastri was also born on the same date in 1904. On the occasion of his Birth Anniversary, we bring to you the shiniest diamonds of his life.
#1. Srivastava’s Son
He was a son of an agriculturist. Srivastava was part of Lal Bahadur’s name. He dropped ‘Srivastava’ from his name as he did not like the caste system.
#2. Self-Respect coloured his blood
During the days of Kashi, he went to see a fair with his friends. On the way back he had no money for the boat fare. His self-respect did not allow him to ask his friends for money. He slipped from their company and when the boat had moved away, Lal Bahadur jumped into the river; as his friends watched breathlessly he swam to the other bank safely.
#3. Born Satyagrahi
1921, Mahatma Gandhi launched the non-cooperation movement and asked the youth to come out of Government schools and colleges. Shastriji was only seventeen years old then and for the sake of freedom, he left his school, against the will of his family.
#4. The Servants of the People Society
He became the life-member of The Servants of the People Society. The aim of the Society was to train the youth who were prepared to dedicate their lives to the service of the country.
#5. Ardent Reader
Going to prison was a blessing to him, as he read a great number of books including works of western philosophers, revolutionaries and social reformers. He even translated the autobiography of Madam Curie (a French scientist who discovered radium) into Hindi.
#6. Bringing down the disparity in Indian Railways
In 1951, as the Minister of Railways, Shastriji worked rigorously to bring down the disparity between the first and the last classes. There were four classes – first, second, intermediate and third. The first class that offered princely comfort was abolished. The old second came to be known as the first class and the intermediate class as the second class. It was he who provided more facilities to travelers in third class compartments. It was during his time that fans were provided in the third class compartments.
#7. The Rann of Kutch
In September 1965, Pakistan violated The Rann of Kutch treaty by entering Kashmir, in disguised form. War broke out on the cease-fire line. In response to this unfaithful and cunning move, the lion roared. Shastriji gave full freedom to the Commander of the Army. ‘Go forward and strike’ was his command to the generals. Addressing the nation Shastriji referred to Pakistan’s threats and said, “Force will be met with force.” He also declared from the ramparts of the Red Fort: “It does not matter if we are destroyed. We will fight to the last to maintain the high honor of the Indian nation and its flag.”
#8. Silencing China
September 1965, when India was fighting Pakistan, China alleged India to put army equipment in its territory, which was a lie. Lal Bahadur Shastri valiantly
#9. ‘Bharat Ratna’ Awardee
Posthumously, Shastriji was conferred with the highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna. A leader, a change maker and a staunch patriot, lived in the hearts of those who loved.
#10. He was fond of Guru Nanak’s verses
He often repeated the following lines:
“0 Nanak! Be tiny like grass,
For other plants will wither away, but grass will remain ever green.”
And so he remains green forever and ever in the memory lands of our nation, as the creator of India’s peace and integrity.