Lal Bahadur Shastri
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri( 2 October 1904 – 11 January 1966) was the 2nd Prime Minister of India, succeeding Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964.
  • Despite his short tenure of just 2 years, Shastri left a lasting impact on Indian politics and society.
  • He is remembered for his leadership during the 1965 India-Pakistan war, and for his slogans of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” and “Jai Hind”.

Early Life and Political Career

  • Shastri was born in 1904 in Mughalsarai, a small town in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • He came from a humble background and was the eldest of six children.
  • He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s non-violent movement and joined the Indian National Congress at a young age.
  • Shastri rose through the ranks of the Congress party and held several important positions, including Minister of Police and Transport in the Uttar Pradesh government, and Minister of Railways in the central government.

Prime Minister of India

  • Shastri became Prime Minister in 1964, following the death of Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • He inherited a country that was facing several challenges, including food shortages, economic troubles, and border disputes with Pakistan.
  • One of the major events during Shastri’s tenure was the 1965 India-Pakistan war, which lasted for 17 days. Shastri’s leadership during the war was widely praised and he emerged as a national hero.
  • Shastri is also remembered for his slogans of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (Hail the soldier, hail the farmer), which emphasized the importance of both the military and the agricultural sector in building a strong and self-sufficient India.
  • In addition to this, he also introduced many policies that were aimed at improving the lives of the poor and the underprivileged.

Legacy

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri’s legacy is often overshadowed by that of his predecessor Jawaharlal Nehru and his successor Indira Gandhi.
  • However, his contribution to Indian politics and society cannot be denied.
  • His leadership during the 1965 war helped to establish India as a strong and capable nation on the world stage.
  • His slogans of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” and “Jai Hind” (Victory to India) are still remembered and used today.
  • He also laid the foundation for many of the economic and social welfare policies that continue to shape India today.

Death

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death was a shock to the nation, as he passed away on January 11, 1966 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • He had gone to Tashkent to attend a peace conference with Pakistani President Ayub Khan, following the 1965 war.
  • The cause of his death was initially reported as a heart attack, but there have been conspiracy theories and suspicions of foul play.
  • Despite the lack of concrete evidence, his death remains a mystery to this day.

Commemoration

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death was deeply mourned by the nation and he was accorded a state funeral.
  • The government of India has established several memorials and institutions to commemorate his life and work.
  • The Shastri National Memorial in Delhi, for example, is a museum dedicated to his life and legacy.
  • The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award for Excellence in Public Administration, Academic and Management is also given annually in his honor.
  • Every year on his death anniversary, January 11, is celebrated as the National Unity Day.

Conclusion

Lal Bahadur Shastri was a leader who served his country with dedication and integrity. Despite his short tenure as Prime Minister, he left a lasting impact on Indian politics and society. His death was a shock to the nation and to this day, the cause of his death remains a mystery. Despite these ambiguities, it is important to remember and honor the contributions of leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri, who worked tirelessly to build a better India for all its citizens.

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