[Note: I bet you forgot! This post is to honour and remember a great leader of BHARAT whose vision resulted our self-reliance in agriculture and food.]
Today i will take force you to meet a person who set the bench mark for ‘Moral Responsibility’ and humility even after being the true leader of this nation. Meet Lal Bahadur Shastri, born on 2nd October 1904, who was also the second Prime Minister of Bharat. Shastri jee is one of the many leaders who do not easily come back to public memory despite of achieving feats which not many can claim to match.
Before independence he actively took part in ‘Namak Aandolan’, non-cooperation movement and went door-to-door to convince people for not paying there taxes to the British government. After independence, he was taken in UP govt. by Govind Vallabh Pant as the minister of Police where he showed his knack of reforms. Due to his active and constructive role in UP politics, he was invited by Nehru to join his cabinet as the transport minister. Being the moralist he was, when a train accident took place in Tamil Nadu killing 146 passengers, he offered his resignation by accepting the Moral responsibility. Nehru accepted his resignation and said, “It will set an example for future leaders to come”. Later on he went to be the Home minister of Bharat in 1961 and did a lot to prevent corruption.
Shastri jee succeeded Nehru as the prime minister of this nation on 9th June 1964. The immediate problems he faced was a Pakistani attack and food shortage in the nation. But he tackled both the problems with will-power unmatched. He declared that “Force will be met with force” and gave a free hand to security forces to retaliate India was facing a acute shortage of food grains and USA being a staunch Pakistani supporter wanted India to stop fighting the war or it would not loan India any food. At this moment, Shastrijee stepped forward and appealed the nation to leave food once a week rather than stooping low for loan on unacceptable terms. Such was his charisma that Nation listened to it’s leader and followed him. He called the nation together by giving them the slogan of “JAI JAWAN JAI KISAAN” meaning Hail the soldier, hail the farmer. It was just a matter of time that the nation followed this extraordinary leader and sorted out the food problem by bringing out the Green Revolution and White revolution. Soldiers responded by pushing back Pakistan emphatically! And one should not forget that this nation had just seen a war and suffered badly just 3 years ago in 1962 with China.
Indo-pak war ended on 23th Sept. 1965 when UN passed a resolution and demanded ceasefire. Russian PM Kosygin, offered to mediate talks in ‘Tashkent’ on 10th Jan 1966. It should be noted that India had considerable advantage on Pakistan’s territory but Shastri Jee was found dead in his room. Many say he died because of cardiac arrests, others say he was forced to sign the treaty. The worst part is, his body was not even sent for post mortem. His wife Lalita Shastri has time and again said that her husband was killed and he did not die of natural causes but nobody paid any heed to it. Even after 44 years of his sad demise, Indian govt. has a veil of secrecy about the cause of death of Lal Bahadur Shastri. He is the only Indian Prime Minister, to have died in office, overseas.
The PMO has cited exemption from disclosure on the plea that it could harm foreign relations, cause disruption in the country and cause breach of parliamentary privileges. Significantly, while officially Shastri is declared to have died of a cardiac arrest, his wife Lalita Shastri had alleged that her husband was poisoned. Shastri died on January 11, 1966.
A truly humble soul with will-power of steel, who was determined to take the nation to glory. Lets remember him on his 106th Birthday together.