Lal Bahadur Shastri was 2nd prime minister and 6th home minister of India. He was known for his honesty, dignity, simplicity, and dedication to the country.
Before the time of his oath ceremony, he said “if any person were against me, I would not like to be the prime minister”.
After the death of first Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru on May 27, 1964, the country needed a leader to lead with courage and fearlessness. When leaders like Morarji Desai and Jagjivan Ram appeared as contenders for the post of Prime Minister, the post of Seeing the dignity and democratic values, Shastri ji clearly refused to take part in the election. Ultimately, Kamaraj, the then President of the Congress, called a meeting of the Congress, in which it was talked about supporting Shastri, and on 2 June 1964, the parliamentary party of the Congress unanimously accepted him as its leader. In this way, on 9 June 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri was made the second prime minister of India.
During India Pakistan war, India was suffering from a shortage of food grains. Underlining the need of grains, Shastri ji promoted green revolution in India in 1965. After this revolution India produced and large quantity of grains.
he also promoted the white revolution and created the National dairy development board.
Childhood life and education
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on 2nd October 1904 in Mughalsarai village of Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. His father, Shree Sharda Prasad was a teacher and mother, Ramdulari devi was a homemaker. His father passed away when he was less than two years. After this his mother took him to her maternal home Mirzapur. Shastri’s primary education took place at his maternal grandfather’s house. After the death of his father, the gardener of his house had become unbelievably bad. His school was on the other side of the river and all the children used to come and go by boat. But Shastri ji was not able to pay the rent for the boat. Still, he did not give up and started coming to school by swimming in the river, in this way he passed the sixth grade fighting the difficulties. He went to his maternal uncle’s house for further studies. From there he studied at Harish Chandra School and Kashi Vidyapeeth.
He was deeply influenced by the thoughts of Mahatma Gandhi and jumped into the Indian freedom struggle. He started it in 1920 by taking part in Gandhiji’s non-cooperation movement. Due to his participation in the non-cooperation movement, he had to go to jail for two and a half years.
Contribution as a freedom fighter
As a diligent member of Congress, he started fulfilling his responsibility. He was sent to jail again in 1930 for taking part in the Salt Satyagraha. Seeing the loyalty of Shastri ji, he was made the General Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Congress. From 1935 to 1938, Shastri ji continued to fulfill his responsibility while holding this post. Meanwhile, in 1937, he was chosen to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary to the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. Along with this, he was also elected the General Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Committee and remained in this post till the year 1941. For his role in the freedom struggle, Shastri ji had to suffer jail torture many times during his lifetime. He was sent to jail again in 1942 for taking part in the Quit India Movement.
In 1946, then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant appointed Shastri as his assembly secretary and included him in his cabinet in 1947. He took the responsibility of the Minister of Police and Transport in Govind Ballabh Pants cabinet. He appointed women conductors for the first time during the tenure of Transport Minister. As police minister, he started using water cannons instead of lathis to control the crowd. In view of his conscientiousness and ability, he was made the National General Secretary of the Congress in 1951. In the year 1952, Nehru ji appointed him as Railway Minister.
Taking responsibility for a major railway accident in the year 1956, while holding the post of Railway Minister, he presented an exemplary example by resigning from the ministerial post on moral grounds. Elected to the Parliament from Allahabad in 1997, Nehru appointed him as the Minister of Transport and Communications in his cabinet. He then took over the responsibility of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in 1958.
Along with his conscientiousness and ability, the result of successfully discharging his responsibility while holding several constitutional posts was that he was unanimously made the second Prime Minister of the country on June 9, 1964.
Shastri ji had the unique ability to face the most inconvenient situations with courage, fearlessness and patience. When Pakistan invaded India in the year 1965, Shastri ji encouraged India with the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”. While on one hand the soldiers fought bravely and India got an unprecedented victory, on the other hand the farmers filled the country’s granaries with their hard work. Shastri ji solved many problems of the country during his tenure on the strength of his political understanding and courage.
After the end of the India-Pakistan war in the year 1965, a meeting of the representatives of the two countries was called in Tashkent in January 1966 in connection with the treaty effort. On 10 January 1966, Lal Bahadur Shastri as the Prime Minister of India and Ayub Khan, the President of Pakistan, signed a treaty and on the same day at night in a guest house, Shastri ji died suddenly under mysterious circumstances due to cardiac arrest.
Shastriji was cremated with full state honors on the banks of the Yamuna near Shantivan and the place was named Vijay Ghat. The whole of India was mourned by his death. It is not possible to fulfill the country’s loss due to the death of Shastri ji, but the country will always remember his tenacity, loyalty and work with respect and honor. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna posthumously in 1966 for his simplicity, patriotism and honesty. Today the country needs selfless politicians like Shastri ji for rapid progress and prosperity.