Lal Bhadur Shastri, the second Prime Minster of Free India, had this to say on Pakistan –
“If Pakistan has any ideas of annexing any part of our territories by force, she should think afresh. I want to state categorically that force will be met with force and aggression against us will never be allowed to succeed “
When was the last time you heard a Prime Minister of India take a stand like that. I don’t recall any. We are talking about Lal Bahadur Shastri, one of the most respected and popular leaders of pre and post independence India. How many of you know that he shares his Birthday with Gandhi, yet there is no public function that is held in his memory. His death is a mystery till date, with contradictory theories doing the rounds. Sadly, all the history text books remember of him, is the slogan – “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”.
Let’s read today about this true son of the soil, who laid down his life doing what he thought was right for the nation.
7. Honest to the innermost core
Shastri was a simple man, who lived a modest life, with just one aspiration, to see his fellow Indians free and happy. He was the Railway Minister in Nehru’s tenure and offered his resignation on moral grounds, when a train met with an accident.Such moral obligation is unheard of in these times. At the time of his death, his only movable asset was an old car, which he had bought by taking a loan, of whose a few installments were still pending.
6. Tookover the PM’s mantle effortlessly
He stepped into Nehru’s shoes without a hitch and committed himself to take forward his dream. He can easily be called India’s most honest statesman. He had a clear vision and was alwaysfocused on the plan. His stint as the PM was very successful because he was an efficient negotiator, coordinator, premier and believer of victory.
5. Humble and down to earth
Shastri will always be remembered as a humble and down to earth leader. He never allowed the success to go to his head and was always grounded. His head and his heart were always tuned to India. He had the knack for keeping politics and religion separate. In the processthis leader gave hope to millions in a very uncertain time.
4. Supporter of unity in diversity
He was a great orator and people listened to him keenly as his honesty and righteousness was very infectious. He always asked fellow Indians to set aside silly notions and get united to make India successful. His speeches could stir the nation and conveyed his greatest ideals of freedom, sovereignty, and peace.
3. Had exemplary vision for agriculture
He took personal interest in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research re-organization process. He had a vision for steering India out of defeat into a united nation. He laid out exceptional policies fordefense, exports and agriculture. In all his efforts the respect and pride of the nation were not compromised at any cost.
2. Ushered in the Green Revolution
He was one of the few PM’s who had the interest of the famers in mind. He had realized that the economy could be stabilized only when the policies for agriculturewill be in place. He gave the much needed boost to the agriculture sector and ushered in the Green and White revolution.
1. Was a PM of the masses
Shastri was one of the few PMs in the history of India, who were perceived as a leader of the masses. He had something good in mind for all the sectors.His fiery speeches uplifted the morale of the Harijansand had he been around the caste system would have been abolished forever. He always practiced what he preached and was like a rare gem in the history of India.