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Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri

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Lal Bahadur Srivastava Shastri was the second Prime Minister
Prime Minister of India
The Prime Minister of India , as addressed to in the Constitution of India — Prime Minister for the Union, is the chief of government, head of the Council of Ministers and the leader of the majority party in parliament...

 of the Republic of India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement
Indian independence movement
The term Indian independence movement encompasses a wide area of political organisations, philosophies, and movements which had the common aim of ending first British East India Company rule, and then British imperial authority, in parts of South Asia...

.

Early life


Lal Bahadur was born in Mughal Sarai, United Provinces
United Provinces of Agra and Oudh
The United Provinces of Agra and Oudh was a province of India under the British Raj, which existed from 1902 to 1947; the official name was shortened by the Government of India Act 1935 to United Provinces, by which the province had been commonly known, and by which name it was also a province of...

, British India to Sharada Srivastava Prasad, a school teacher, who later became a clerk in the Revenue Office at Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

, and Ramdulari Devi. When he was three months old, he slipped out of his mother's arms into a cowherder's basket at the ghat
Ghat
Ghat is the capital of the Ghat District in the Fezzan region of southwestern Libya.-History:In historical times, Ghat was a major terminal point on the Trans-Saharan trade route and a major administrative center in the Fezzan...

s of the Ganges. The cowherder, who had no children, took the child as a gift from God and took him home. Lal Bahadur's parents lodged a complaint with the police, who traced the child, and returned him to his parents.

His father died when he was only a year and a half old. His mother took him and his two sisters to her father's house and settled down there. Lal Bahadur stayed at his grandfather Hazari Lal's house till he was ten. He studied up to class IV at Railway School Mughalsarai. Since there was no high school in the town, he was sent to Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

, where he stayed with his maternal uncle and joined the Harischandra High School. While in Varanasi, Shastri once went with his friends to see a fair on the other bank of the Ganges. On the way back he had no money for the boat fare. Instead of borrowing from his friends, he jumped into the river and swam to the other bank.

As a boy, Lal Bahadur loved reading books and was fond of Guru Nanak's verses. He revered Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Bal Gangadhar Tilak
Lokmanya Tilak –, was an Indian nationalist, teacher, social reformer and independence fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement. The British colonial authorities derogatorily called the great leader "Father of the Indian unrest"...

, the Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter. After hearing a speech of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

 at Varanasi in 1915, he dedicated his life to the service of the country. He also dropped his surname Srivastava as it indicated his caste
Caste
Caste is an elaborate and complex social system that combines elements of endogamy, occupation, culture, social class, tribal affiliation and political power. It should not be confused with race or social class, e.g. members of different castes in one society may belong to the same race, as in India...

 and he was against the caste system. During the non-cooperation movement
Non-cooperation movement
The non-cooperation movement was a significant phase of the Indian struggle for freedom from British rule which lasted for years. This movement, which lasted from September 1920 to February 1922 and was led by Mohandas Gandhi, and supported by the Indian National Congress. It aimed to resist...

 of Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

 in 1921, he joined processions in defiance of the prohibitory order. He was arrested but let off as he was a minor
Minor (law)
In law, a minor is a person under a certain age — the age of majority — which legally demarcates childhood from adulthood; the age depends upon jurisdiction and application, but is typically 18...

. He then enrolled at the nationalist Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

. During his four years there, he was greatly influenced by the lectures of Dr. Bhagawandas on philosophy. Upon completion of his course at Kashi Vidyapeeth in 1926, he was given the title Shastri
Shastri
-People with the surname Shastri:* Heera Lal Shastri , Indian politician and the first chief minister of Rajasthan state* Keshavram Kashiram Shastri , founding leader of Vishwa Hindu Parishad...

("Scholar"). The title was a bachelor's degree awarded by the Vidya Peeth, but it stuck as part of his name. He also enrolled himself as a life member of the Servants of the People Society and began to work for the upliftment of the Harijan
Harijan
Harijan was a term used by Gandhi for Dalits. Gandhi said it was wrong to call people 'untouchable', and called them Harijans, which means children of God...

s at Muzaffarpur
Muzaffarpur
Muzaffarpur Town is a town in Muzaffarpur district in the Indian state of Bihar. It serves as the headquarters of Muzaffarpur district and Tirhut division....

. Later he became the President of the Society.

In 16 may 1928, Shastri married Lalita Devi of Mirzapur
Mirzapur
Mirzapur is a city in the heart of North India, nearly 650 km between Delhi and Kolkata and also equidistant from Allahabad and Varanasi. Located in the state of Uttar Pradesh, Mirzapur has a population of a little over 205,264 and is renowned for its famous carpet and brassware industry...

. In spite of the prevailing hefty dowry
Dowry
A dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings forth to the marriage. It contrasts with bride price, which is paid to the bride's parents, and dower, which is property settled on the bride herself by the groom at the time of marriage. The same culture may simultaneously practice both...

 tradition, Shastri accepted only a charkha
Spinning wheel
A spinning wheel is a device for spinning thread or yarn from natural or synthetic fibers. Spinning wheels appeared in Asia, probably in the 11th century, and very gradually replaced hand spinning with spindle and distaff...

and a few yards of khadi
Khadi
The term khādī or khaddar means cotton. khādī is Indian handspun and hand-woven cloth. The raw materials may be cotton, silk, or wool, which are spun into threads on a spinning wheel called a charkha. It is a versatile fabric, cool in the summer and warm in the winter...

as dowry. In 1930, he threw himself into the freedom struggle during Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

's Salt Satyagraha
Salt Satyagraha
The Salt March, also known as the Salt Satyagrahah began with the Dandi March on March 12, 1930, and was an important part of the Indian independence movement. It was a campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly in colonial India, and triggered the wider...

. He was imprisoned for two and a half years. Once, while he was in prison, one of his daughters fell seriously ill. He was released for fifteen days, on the condition that he not take part in the freedom movement. However, his daughter died before he reached home. After performing the funeral
Funeral
A funeral is a ceremony for celebrating, sanctifying, or remembering the life of a person who has died. Funerary customs comprise the complex of beliefs and practices used by a culture to remember the dead, from interment itself, to various monuments, prayers, and rituals undertaken in their honor...

 rites, he voluntarily returned to prison, even before the expiration of the period. A year later, he asked for permission to go home for a week, as his son had contracted influenza
Influenza
Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by RNA viruses of the family Orthomyxoviridae , that affects birds and mammals...

. The permission was given, but his son's illness was not cured in a week. In spite of his family's pleadings, he kept his promise to the jail officers and returned to the prison.

Later, he worked as the Organizing Secretary of the Parliamentary Board of U.P.
United Provinces of Agra and Oudh
The United Provinces of Agra and Oudh was a province of India under the British Raj, which existed from 1902 to 1947; the official name was shortened by the Government of India Act 1935 to United Provinces, by which the province had been commonly known, and by which name it was also a province of...

 in 1937. In 1940, he was sent to prison for one year, for offering individual Satyagraha
Satyagraha
Satyagraha , loosely translated as "insistence on truth satya agraha soul force" or "truth force" is a particular philosophy and practice within the broader overall category generally known as nonviolent resistance or civil resistance. The term "satyagraha" was conceived and developed by Mahatma...

 support to the freedom movement. On 8 August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi
Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi , pronounced . 2 October 1869 – 30 January 1948) was the pre-eminent political and ideological leader of India during the Indian independence movement...

 issued the Quit India speech
Quit India speech
thumb|Procession view at BangaloreThe Quit India speech is a speech made by Mahatma Gandhi on August 8, 1942, on the eve of the Quit India movement. He called for determined, but passive resistance that signified the certitude that Gandhi foresaw for the movement is best described by his call to Do...

 at Gowalia Tank
Gowalia Tank
Gowalia Tank Maidan is a park in central Mumbai where Mahatma Gandhi issued the Quit India speech on 8 August 1942 decreeing that the British must leave India immediately or else mass agitations would take place...

 in Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

, demanding that the British leave India. Shastri, who had just then come out after a year in prison, travelled to Allahabad
Allahabad
Allahabad , or Settled by God in Persian, is a major city of India and is one of the main holy cities of Hinduism. It was renamed by the Mughals from the ancient name of Prayaga , and is by some accounts the second-oldest city in India. It is located in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh,...

. For a week, he sent instructions to the freedom fighters from Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

's hometown, Anand Bhavan
Anand Bhavan
Anand Bhavan is a large mansion located in Allahabad, India. It was owned by Indian political leader Motilal Nehru in the 19th century, it has served as the ancestral home of the Nehru-Gandhi Family — future Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi was born there...

. A few days later, he was arrested and imprisoned until 1946. Shastri spent almost nine years in jail in total. During his stays in prison, he spent time reading books and became familiar with the works of western philosophers, revolutionaries and social reformers. He also translated the autobiography of Marie Curie
Marie Curie
Marie Skłodowska-Curie was a physicist and chemist famous for her pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first person honored with two Nobel Prizes—in physics and chemistry...

 into Hindi
Hindi
Standard Hindi, or more precisely Modern Standard Hindi, also known as Manak Hindi , High Hindi, Nagari Hindi, and Literary Hindi, is a standardized and sanskritized register of the Hindustani language derived from the Khariboli dialect of Delhi...

.

In government


Following India's independence, Shastri was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in his home state, Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh abbreviation U.P. , is a state located in the northern part of India. With a population of over 200 million people, it is India's most populous state, as well as the world's most populous sub-national entity...

. He became the Minister of Police and Transport under Govind Ballabh Pant
Govind Ballabh Pant
Bharat Ratna Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant was a statesman of India, an Indian independence activist, and one of the foremost political leaders from Uttarakhand and of the movement to establish Hindi as the official language of India.-Early life:Govind Ballabh Pant was born on September 10, 1887 in...

's Chief Ministership. As the Transport Minister, he was the first to appoint women conductors
Conductor (transportation)
A conductor is a member of a railway train's crew that is responsible for operational and safety duties that do not involve the actual operation of the train. The title of conductor is most associated with railway operations in North America, but the role of conductor is common to railways...

. As the minister in charge of the Police Department, he ordered that police use jets of water instead of lathi
Lathi
Lathi means stick and also refers to an Indian martial art based on cane-fighting. The word is used in Hindi, Bengali and various other Indian languages. The lathi typically measures 6 to and may be tipped with metal. It commonly used as a crowd control device by the Indian Police and other South...

s to disperse unruly crowds.
In 1951, he was made the General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee
All India Congress Committee
The All India Congress Committee is the Presidium or central decision-making assembly of the Indian National Congress Party. It is composed of members elected from State-level Pradesh Congress Committees and can have as many as a thousand members...

, with Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 as the Prime Minister. He was directly responsible for the selection of candidates and the direction of publicity and electioneering activities. He played an important role in the landslide successes of the Congress Party in the Indian General Elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962.

In 1951, Nehru nominated him to the Rajya Sabha
Rajya Sabha
The Rajya Sabha or Council of States is the upper house of the Parliament of India. Rajya means "state," and Sabha means "assembly hall" in Sanskrit. Membership is limited to 250 members, 12 of whom are chosen by the President of India for their expertise in specific fields of art, literature,...

. He served as the Minister of Railways and Transport in the Central Cabinet from 1951 to 1956. In 1956, he offered his resignation after a railway accident at Mahbubnagar
Mahbubnagar
Mahabubnagar or Mahboobnagar is the biggest town in Mahabubnagar District of Andhra Pradesh, India. The city of Mahabubnagar is located at a distance of 100 km from Hyderabad. Formerly known as, Rukmammapeta and Palamoor, it was named as Mahabubnagar on 4 December 1890, in the honour of Mir...

 that led to 112 deaths. However, Nehru did not accept his resignation. Three months later, he resigned accepting moral and constitutional responsibility for a railway accident at Ariyalur
Ariyalur
Ariyalur is a Municipality in Ariyalur district in the state of Tamil Nadu, India.-Geography:Ariyalur is a municipality and headquarters of Ariyalur District in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is rich in limestone resources. Big industrial houses like Birlas , India cements, Dalmia cements, Madras...

 in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu is one of the 28 states of India. Its capital and largest city is Chennai. Tamil Nadu lies in the southernmost part of the Indian Peninsula and is bordered by the union territory of Pondicherry, and the states of Kerala, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh...

 that resulted in 144 deaths. While speaking in Parliament on the incident, Nehru stated that he was accepting the resignation because it would set an example in constitutional propriety and not because Shastri was in any way responsible for the accident. Shastri's unprecedented gesture was greatly appreciated by the citizens.

In 1957, Shastri returned to the Cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

 following the General Elections, first as the Minister for Transport and Communications, and then as the Minister of Commerce and Industry. In 1961, he became Minister for Home. As Union Home Minister he was instrumental in appointing the Committee on Prevention of Corruption under the Chairmanship of K. Santhanam.

Prime minister



Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

 died in office on 27 May 1964 and left a void. Then Congress Party
Indian National Congress
The Indian National Congress is one of the two major political parties in India, the other being the Bharatiya Janata Party. It is the largest and one of the oldest democratic political parties in the world. The party's modern liberal platform is largely considered center-left in the Indian...

 President K. Kamaraj
K. Kamaraj
Kumarasami Kamaraj better known as K. Kamaraj was an Indian politician from Tamil Nadu widely acknowledged as the "Kingmaker" in Indian politics during the 1960s. He was the chief minister of Tamil Nadu during 1954-1963 and a Member of Parliament during 1952-1954 and 1969-1975...

 was instrumental in making Shastri Prime Minister on 9 June. Shastri, though mild-mannered and soft-spoken, was a Nehruvian socialist and thus held appeal to those wishing to prevent the ascent of conservative right-winger Morarji Desai
Morarji Desai
Morarji Ranchhodji Desai was an Indian independence activist and the fourth Prime Minister of India from 1977–79. He was the first Indian Prime Minister who did not belong to the Indian National Congress...

.

In his first broadcast as Prime Minister, on 11 June 1964, Shastri stated:
Shastri worked by his natural characteristics to obtain compromises between opposing viewpoints, but in his short tenure he was ineffectual in dealing with the economic crisis and food shortage in the nation. However, he commanded a great deal of respect in the Indian populace, and he used it to gain advantage in pushing the Green Revolution in India
Green Revolution in India
The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India...

, which directly led to India becoming a food-surplus nation, although he did not live to see it. During the 22-day war with Pakistan, Lal Bahadur Shastri created the slogan of "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan
Jai Jawan Jai Kisan
Jai Jawan Jai Kisan was a slogan given to India by the Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri in 1965. It means hail the soldier and hail the farmer....

" ("Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer"), underlining the need to boost India's food production. Apart from emphasizing the Green Revolution
Green Revolution in India
The introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and the increased use of fertilizers and irrigation are known collectively as the Green Revolution, which provided the increase in production needed to make India self-sufficient in food grains, thus improving agriculture in India...

, he was instrumental in promoting the White Revolution
Operation Flood
Operation Flood was a rural development programme started by India's National Dairy Development Board in 1970. One of the largest of its kind, the programme objective was to create a nationwide milk grid....

. Greatly impressed by a visit to the Kaira district
Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union
Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union Limited was the First Co-operative Milk Producers' Union started in Gujarat, formed in Kheda district, whose founding chairman was social worker, Tribhovandas Patel....

 in October 1964, he urged the rest of the country to learn from the successful experiment at Anand
Anand, Gujarat
]]Anand is the administrative centre of Anand District in the state of Gujarat, India. It is administered by Anand Municipality. It is part of the region known as Charotar, consisting of Anand and Kheda Districts....

. The National Dairy Development Board was formed in 1965 during his tenure as Prime Minister.

Though he was a socialist, Shastri stated that India cannot have a regimented type of economy. During his tenure as Prime Minister, he visited in 1965 Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, England, Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

 and Burma.

War with Pakistan


Under a scheme proposed in June 1965 by British Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

, Pakistan obtained 10%, in place of their original claim of 50% of the territory. But Pakistan's aggressive intentions were also focused on Kashmir
Kashmir
Kashmir is the northwestern region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term Kashmir geographically denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range...

. When armed infiltrators from Pakistan began entering the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Shastri made it clear to Pakistan that force would be met with force. In September 1965, major incursions of militants and Pakistani soldiers began, hoping not only to break down the government but incite a sympathetic revolt. The revolt did not happen, and India sent its forces across the Ceasefire Line (now Line of Control
Line of Control
The term Line of Control refers to the military control line between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir—a line which, to this day, does not constitute a legally recognized international boundary but is the de facto border...

) and threatened Pakistan by crossing the International Border near Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 as war broke out on a general scale. Massive tank battles occurred in the Punjab
Punjab region
The Punjab , also spelled Panjab |water]]s"), is a geographical region straddling the border between Pakistan and India which includes Punjab province in Pakistan and the states of the Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh and some northern parts of the National Capital Territory of Delhi...

, and while the Pakistani forces made some gains, Indian forces captured the key post at Haji Pir, in Kashmir, and brought the Pakistani city of Lahore
Lahore
Lahore is the capital of the Pakistani province of Punjab and the second largest city in the country. With a rich and fabulous history dating back to over a thousand years ago, Lahore is no doubt Pakistan's cultural capital. One of the most densely populated cities in the world, Lahore remains a...

 under artillery and mortar fire.

On 17 September 1965, while the Indo-Pak war was on, India received a letter from China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 alleging that the Indian army had set up army equipment in Chinese territory, and India would face China's wrath, unless the equipment was pulled down. In spite of the threat of aggression from China, Shastri declared "China's allegation is untrue. If China attacks India it is our firm resolve to fight for our freedom. The might of China will not deter us from defending our territorial integrity." The Chinese did not respond, but the Indo-Pak war resulted in some 3-4,000 casualties
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 was a culmination of skirmishes that took place between April 1965 and September 1965 between Pakistan and India. This conflict became known as the Second Kashmir War fought by India and Pakistan over the disputed region of Kashmir, the first having been fought in 1947...

 on each side and significant loss of material
Material
Material is anything made of matter, constituted of one or more substances. Wood, cement, hydrogen, air and water are all examples of materials. Sometimes the term "material" is used more narrowly to refer to substances or components with certain physical properties that are used as inputs to...

.

The Indo-Pak war ended on 23 September 1965 with a United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

-mandated ceasefire. In a broadcast to the nation on the day the of ceasefire, Shastri stated:

Death at Tashkent


After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent
Tashkent
Tashkent is the capital of Uzbekistan and of the Tashkent Province. The officially registered population of the city in 2008 was about 2.2 million. Unofficial sources estimate the actual population may be as much as 4.45 million.-Early Islamic History:...

 (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan
Uzbekistan , officially the Republic of Uzbekistan is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia and one of the six independent Turkic states. It shares borders with Kazakhstan to the west and to the north, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan to the east, and Afghanistan and Turkmenistan to the south....

), organised by Alexei Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration
Tashkent Declaration
The Tashkent Declaration of 10 January 1966 was a peace agreement between India and Pakistan. In September 1965 before the two had engaged in the short run Indo-Pakistani War of 1965...

.

The next day Shastri, who had suffered two heart attack
Myocardial infarction
Myocardial infarction or acute myocardial infarction , commonly known as a heart attack, results from the interruption of blood supply to a part of the heart, causing heart cells to die...

s earlier, died supposedly of a heart attack at 1:32 AM. He is the only Indian Prime Minister to have died in office overseas.

Mystery of Shastri's Death


Lalita Shastri
Lalita Shastri
Lalita Shastri was wife of former prime minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri. They had married on 16 May 1928. She was from Mirzapur in Uttar Pradesh. After marriage the couple lived for several years in Allahabad before moving to Lucknow and then to New Delhi. Both of them shared cheerfully the...

, persistently alleged that her husband was poisoned. Many believed that Shastri's body's turning blue was evidence of his poisoning. Indeed a Russian butler attending to him was arrested on suspicion of poisoning Shastri, but was later absolved of charges.

In 2009, when Anuj Dhar
Anuj Dhar
Anuj Dhar is an Indian author and journalist. He is the founder trustee of the Delhi based national non-profit trust Mission Netaji which conducts research on the Indian freedom fighter Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.-Career:...

, author of CIA's Eye on South Asia, asked the Prime Minister's Office under an RTI plea (Right to Information Act), that Shastri's cause of death be made public, the PMO refused to oblige, citing that this could lead to harming of foreign relations, cause disruption in the country and cause breach of parliamentary privileges.

The PMO did reveal however that it had in its possession one document related to Shastri's death, but refused to declassify it. The government also admitted that no post-mortem examination had been conducted on him in the USSR, but it did have a report of a medical investigation conducted by Shastri's personal physician Dr. R.N. Chugh and some Russian doctors. Furthermore, the PMO revealed that there was no record of any destruction or loss of documents in the PMO having a bearing on Shastri's death. As of July 2009, the home ministry is yet to respond to queries whether India conducted a postmortem and if the government had investigated allegations of foul play.

Personality


Shastri shared very little in common with his predecessor Jawaharlal Nehru. While Shastri preferred peace with Pakistan, writing to a friend after the Indo-Pakistani War in 1965 that the problems between both countries should be settled amicably, he had previously displayed a knack for taking quick and decisive actions during the war. He swiftly took the advice of his commanders, and ordered a strike across the Punjab border. This was in stark contrast to Nehru who in a similar situation in 1962, had refused to call in the air force to relieve the pressure on the ground troops. At the end of the conflict, Shastri flamboyantly posed for a photograph on top of a captured Patton tank.

However, in common with Nehru, Shastri was a secularist who refused to mix religion with politics. In a public meeting held at the Ram Lila grounds in Delhi, a few days after the ceasefire, he complained against a BBC
BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 report which claimed that Shastri's identity as a Hindu meant that he was ready for a war with Pakistan. He stated:
Although Shastri had been a cabinet minister for many years in the 1950s, he was poor when he died. All he owned at the end was an old car, which he had bought in installments from the government and for which he still owed money. He was the first railway minister who resigned from office following a major train accident as he felt moral responsibility.

Memorial


Shastri was known for his honesty and humility throughout his life. He was the first person to be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna
Bharat Ratna
Bharat Ratna is the Republic of India's highest civilian award, awarded for the highest degrees of national service. This service includes artistic, literary, and scientific achievements, as well as "recognition of public service of the highest order." Unlike knights, holders of the Bharat Ratna...

, and a memorial "Vijay Ghat
Raj Ghat and associated memorials
Raj Ghat is a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi. Originally it was the name of a historic ghat of Old Delhi on the banks of Yamuna river. Close to it, and east of Daryaganj was “Raj Ghat Gate” of the walled city, opening at Raj Ghat on Yamuna River. Later the memorial area was also called Raj ghat...

" was built for him in Delhi. Several educational institutes, Shashtri National Academy of Administration (Mussorie) is after his name these were some examples. The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute was named after Shastri due to his role in promoting scholarly activity between India and Canada. Today Lal Bhadur Shastri Memorial run by Lal Bahadur Shastri National Memorial Trust, is situated next to 10 Janpath
10 Janpath
10 Janpath is a house on Janpath road, New Delhi. It is presently the official residence of Sonia Gandhi, the President of Indian National Congress party...

 his residence as Prime Minister , at 1, Motilal Nehru Place, New Delhi. In 2011, on Shastri’s 45th death anniversary, Uttar Pradesh Government announced to renovate Shastri’s ancestral house at Ramnagar
Ramnagar
Ramnagar may refer to:Settlements in Bangladesh:* Ramnagar, BangladeshSettlements in India:* Ramanagar - a town near Bangalore in Karnataka state of India * Ramnagar, Agartala...

 in Varanasi
Varanasi
-Etymology:The name Varanasi has its origin possibly from the names of the two rivers Varuna and Assi, for the old city lies in the north shores of the Ganga bounded by its two tributaries, the Varuna and the Asi, with the Ganges being to its south...

 and declared plans to convert it into a biographical museum.
In 2005, the Government of India created a chair in his honour in the field of democracy and governance at Delhi University.

Personal life


Lal Bahadur Shastri had five sons, including Anil Shastri and Sunil Shastri, who are politicians.

Further reading

  • John Noyce. Lal Bahadur Shastri: an English-language bibliography. Lulu.com, 2002.
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri, 'Reflections on Indian politics', Indian Journal of Political Science, vol.23, 1962, pp1–7
  • L.P. Singh, Portrait of Lal Bahadur Shastri (Delhi: Ravi Dayal Publishers, 1996) ISBN 81-7530-006-X
  • (Sir) C.P. Srivastava, Lal Bahadur Shastri: a life of truth in politics (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995) ISBN 0-19-563499-3
  • (Sir) C.P. Srivastava, Corruption: India's enemy within (New Delhi: Macmillan India, 2001) chapter 3 ISBN 0-333-93531-4
  • India Unbound From Independence to Global Information Age by Shri Gurucharan Das chapter 11

External links



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