Lal Bahadur Shastri मुद्रण ई-मेल
L B Shastri
In today’s world, where we see moral and ethical life of political leaders and parties reaching to a new low, it is surprising to observe that our past had given us great leaders who stood the test of time with integrity, conviction and clarity. Lal Bahadur Shastri was one such great character.

Lal Bahadur Shastri was the second Prime Minister of independent India. Though short in height and physical appearance, he was a man of great courage and will.
He successfully led the country during the 1965 war with Pakistan. He also played a key role in India's freedom struggle. He led his life with great simplicity and honesty, and was a great source of inspiration for all the countrymen. He once resigned from his post as Railways and Transport cabinet minister, not as a political move but as an honest reaction of accepting moral and constitutional responsibility for the railway accidents that took place. Such was his conviction for serving his motherland.

Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904 at Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh. His parents were Sharada Prasad and Ramdulari Devi. Lal Bahadur's surname was Srivastava but he dropped it as he did not want to indicate his caste as he was strongly against caste system. Though Sharada Prasad was poor, he lived a life of honesty and integrity. Lal Bahadur lost his father when he was only one. Ramdulari Devi raised Lal Bahadur and her two daughters at her father's house.

After completing his basic education, Lal Bahadur went to Varanasi for higher education. In 1921 when Mahatma Gandhi launched the non-cooperation movement against British Government, Lal Bahadur was only seventeen years old. When Mahatma Gandhi gave a call to the youth to leave Government schools, colleges, offices and courts and to sacrifice everything for the sake of freedom, Lal Bahadur left his school. Though his mother and relatives advised him not to do so, he was firm in his decision. Lal Bahadur was arrested during the Non-cooperation movement but was let off as he was too young.

Lal Bahadur then enrolled at the Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi for studying philosophy. Upon completion of his course in 1926, he was given the degree of Shastri ("Scholar"). In 1930, Gandhiji gave the call for Civil Disobedience Movement. Lal Bahadur Shastri joined the movement and encouraged people not to pay land revenue and taxes to the government. He was arrested and put in jail for two and a half years. While in jail, Shastriji became familiar with the works of various philosophers, revolutionaries and social reformers.

After Second World War started in 1939, Congress launched "Individual Satyagraha" in 1940 to demand freedom. Lal Bahadur Shastri was again arrested during Individual Satyagraha and released after one year. On August 8, 1942, Gandhiji gave the call for Quit India Movement. Lal Bahadur actively participated in the movement. He went underground but was later arrested. He was released in 1945 along with other major leaders.

After the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri was unanimously elected as the Prime Minister of India. It was a difficult time and the country was facing huge challenges. There was food shortage in the country and on the security front Pakistan was creating problems. Mild-mannered Lal Bahadur Shastri rose to the occasion and led the country ably. To tackle the food problem, he pushed for “Green Revolution” in the country. In 1965, Pakistan tried to take advantage of India's vulnerability and attacked India. To enthuse the soldiers and farmers, and to mobilize support of the country during the war, he coined the slogan of "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan". Pakistan lost the war and Shastriji's leadership was praised all over the world.

What would I like to learn from Lal Bahadur Shastri ?

a)     Patriotism and dedication to serve the nation

b)     Simplicity, integrity and honesty

c)     Courage and conviction to lead the nation

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