India remembers its second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, on his 58th death anniversary today. His iconic slogan, “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan,” uniting soldier and farmer, continues to resonate across generations. Mr Shastri’s legacy goes beyond mere leadership. He connected with the masses with his humility and gentle demeanor, masking a resolute spirit. In 1964, after Jawaharlal Nehru’s death, Mr Shastri took the reins, having already served in crucial roles like Home Minister and Railway Minister in India’s first independent government. In just two years, Shastri’s impact on the nation remains etched in its history.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904, in Mughalsarai, a small railway town seven miles from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. His father was a school teacher who died when Lal Bahadur Shastri was only a year and a half old. He was sent to live with an uncle in Varanasi so that he could go to high school. Nanhe, or ‘little one, as he was called at home, walked many miles to school without shoes, even when the streets burned in the summer’s heat.
Mahatma Gandhi’s disciple
As he grew older, he became interested in India’s struggle for independence from British rule. He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Non-Cooperation Movement when he was 16. In 1927, he got married. His wife, Lalita Devi, came from Mirzapur, near his home town. Lal Bahadur Shastri actively participated in India’s freedom struggle, spending years in jail. This forged his leadership qualities. After independence, he was entrusted with important roles in the government.
Political Career (1947-1964)
A tireless worker for the Congress Party, Lal Bahadur Shastri weaved his organizational magic between ministerial duties. His dedication and genius were the wind beneath the party’s wings, propelling them to resounding victories in 1952, 1957, and 1962.
Prime Minister of India (1964 to 1966)
The first PM of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, died in office on May 27, 1964; after that, Lal Bahadur Shastri became the prime minister. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s tenure witnessed the India-Pakistan War of 1965. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ during the 1965 war boosted the morale of the soldiers as well as farmers amid food scarcity. Underscoring the need to boost India’s food production, Shastri also promoted the Green Revolution in India in 1965.
His tenure as Prime Minister was only for 19 months. He died in Tashkent on January 11, 1966.
The late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri stands among the distinguished Indians who have deeply influenced our shared existence. His noteworthy contributions to public life were remarkable for their close connection to the everyday experiences of the common people in India.
Lal Bahadur Shastri,death anniversary,iconic slogan,Jai Jawan Jai Kisan,leadership legacy,India's second Prime Minister,Mahatma Gandhi's disciple,Non-Cooperation Movement,India-Pakistan War 1965,Green Revolution,Tashkent,19-month tenure