It’s October 2 and on this day one of the greatest leaders of India was born. Naturally, most of you reading this can’t stop their mind from conjuring up an image of Mahatma Gandhi. However, he is not the one I am talking about. Though shameful to admit we often forget that this is also the birth anniversary of India’s 2nd Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Not only a former PM but a mass leader whose contributions helped in creating a strong backbone for the nation.
Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan! Yes, this was the nara that he used to cheer up the farmers and the soldiers of the nation when Indian was going through turmoil.
After Jawaharlal Nehru, when he took over the leadership as the PM of the nation, India was a country engulfed in utter chaos. On one hand, we were attacked by our ‘loving’ neighbor Pakistan and on the other, there was a huge scarcity of grains. Amidst this mayhem, Lal Bahadur Shastri came up with the slogan for two of the biggest pillars of this nation.
Under his leadership, India witnessed White and Green revolutions that changed the dynamics of agriculture in the nation. The White revolution increased the production and supply of milk across the country. Similarly, he also promoted Green revolution in order to boost the food production. During his tenure, he also urged the countrymen to voluntarily give up one meal a week.
Being a leader who practiced what he preached, Lal Bahadur Shastri implemented this system in his own home first. Soon the whole nation followed. In many parts of the country, people started observing Shastri Vrat, where they willingly sacrificed one meal per week. Further, he motivated people to participate in the growth of grains by cultivating the lawn of his official residence.
His tales of glory doesn’t stop here. For the uninitiated, he is also the one who successfully led the country through the Indo-Pak war of 1965.
During this period he coined the term Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan to motivate the nation to walk forward towards the path of development. Indeed, this slogan was the need for the hour. Personally, I feel that the relevance of this phrase has not decreased even one iota. With increasing plights of the farmers and rise in a number of deaths of the soldiers, this 53-year-old slogan holds high relevance.
Getting back to the topic, it’s about time we broaden our horizons to recognize the other heroes of the nation. This soft-spoken former PM of the nation will always grace our hearts, not for his well-articulated speeches but actual work that created a change.