The nation paid homage to the second Prime Minister of independent India, Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 53rd death anniversary on Friday.
Shastri died in Tashkent on 11 January 1966, the day the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan was signed, reportedly due to a heart attack.
When his body was bought to Delhi, his cook was arrested on the suspicion of poisoning him but was released later. However, there are some who still maintain that his death is a mystery.
On his death anniversary, we take a look at his illustrious political career.
Lal Bahadur Shastri – Early Life
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on 2 October 1904 at Mughalsarai, a small railway town seven miles from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, to Ramdulari Devi and Sharada Prasad Shrivastava
His father was a school teacher who died when Lal Bahadur Shastri was only a year and half old. His mother, still in her twenties, bought up three children in her father’s house.
Lal Bahadur lived with his uncle in Varanasi from where he did his high school. He studied at the East Central Railway Inter College in Varanasi and later graduated from Kashi Vidyapeeth in 1926.
Later, he joined the Servants of the People Society, founded by Lala Lajpat Rai.
The title “Shastri” was given after the completion of his graduation at Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi in 1925.
He married Lalita Devi in 1927 and had six children.
Strongly opposing the caste system and dowry system, Lal Bahadur dropped his surname, Shrivastava and took just a Charkha and a few yards of Khadi as dowry.
While growing up, Lal Bahadur Shastri became interested in the country’s struggle for freedom from foreign yoke.
In 1930, he joined Mahatma Gandhi-led Salt Satyagraha, for which he was sent to prison for two and a half years.
In 1937, he worked as the organising secretary of the Parliamentary Board of Uttar Pradesh. Consequently, he was again imprisoned for for a year accused for participating in the nationalist Satyagraha movement.
He was also jailed for 4 years in 1942 for joining Mahatma Gandhi’s Quit India Movement and leading the freedom fighters from Jawaharlal Nehru’s house.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was appointed as the Police and Transport minister of Uttar Pradesh in 1947.
He was elected to Rajya Sabha and was given the Ministry of Railways and Transport in 1952. He resigned from the post owing to the railway accident in Tamil Nadu which claimed the lives of over 110 people.
He was placed in charge of the Commerce and Industry Ministry in 1957 and within four years, he was elected as the Home Minister.
Second Prime Minister
After the death of then Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru in 1964, Shastri’s name was put forth by the Congress Party President K. Kamaraj.
On 9 June 1964, he was sworn in as the second Prime Minister of the independent India.
As Prime Minster, Shastri dealt with problems like food shortage, unemployment and poverty. To get rid of the acute food shortage, he initiated “Green Revolution” and also helped in promoting the White Revolution.
The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was formed in 1965 during Shastri’s reign as Prime Minister.
After the Chinese aggression of 1962, Lal Bahadur led the country during 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. There, he coined the slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”.
After the United Nations declared a ceasefire, the war ended on 23 September 1965. The then Prime Minister of Russia, Alexei Kosygin mediated to get the Tashkent Declaration signed between India and Pakistan.
Shastri and the then President of Pakistan, Muhammad Ayub Khan, signed the declaration.
After Tashkent Declaration
The very next day of signing the declaration, Lal Bahadur died due to a cardiac arrest. Hewas the first person to be posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.
Furthermore, he is the only Indian Prime Minister to have died in office overseas.
In his memory, Vijay Ghat memorial was established. Varanasi International Airport is also named after him.
Mussorie’s Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration has been established in his name.
In 1995, a trust set up in his memory founded Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, which is among the best business schools in India.
(All the photos have been taken from Twitter.)