"That loyalty to the country comes ahead of all other loyalties, and this is an absolute loyalty since one cannot weigh it in terms of what one recieves", he said and joyously delivered his discipline and united action as the real source of strenghth for the nation! Yes, it's Lal Bahadur Shastri, here in folio!
While the nation at large celebrates today as 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it is a moment of pride for the nation to extol Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 116th birth anniversary. He who served India as the third Prime Minister, spent his life from a very early age turning to be an important figure during the freedom struggle, rising to the prominence after Independence.
Being a major source of inspirtion for the youth today, it is inetersting to learn that Shastri and Mahatma Gandhi not only shared their birth dates but also shared some similar ideologies. There was no stopping for his dedication, love and struggle for India to make a better place. Here are some more engrossing and fascinating facts about Shastri that every Indian must know :
1. Lal Bahadur Shastri's real name was never 'Shastri'. 'Shastri' was the Bachelor's degree awarded to him in Kashi Vidya Peeth in Varanasi. The epithet stuck in people's mind as part of his name.
2. He quit his school while he was in 10th standard. This was following the Gandhian principles where Bapu had urged students to participate in the non-cooperation movement by opting out of the government schools.
3. Being one of the most prominent leaders of his times, he continued to fight for the freedom of India under the guidance of Bapu. He admired the his principals of truth and non-violence and served many important roles in the Indian political system.
4. Having a deep rooted habit of handling various situations wisely and calmly, Shastri was the one, who promoted the idea of secularism and aimed for maintaining peace in the country as well as developing cordial relationships with other countries.
5. When Lal Bahadur Shastri took over the Prime Ministership of India after Jawahar Lal Nehru's death in 1964, India was attacked by Pakistan. During that time, India was reeling under scarcity of food grains. Shastri's one call for 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' inspired the soldiers and the farmers to save the country at the border and from hunger strike. Shastri, in personal capacity then, had also stopped drawing his salary.
6. Shastri immensely worked towards the economic development and prosperity of the country. He encouraged the increase in the production of milk by supporting the Amul Milk Co-operative based in Gujarat and also established the National Dairy Development Board. The Food Corporation of India was also established during his reign as the Prime Minister.
7. He was the one who worked hard to give the prominent position of Minister of Information and Broadcasting to Indira Gandhi and appointed certain other new ministers.
8. Shastri took active part in the freedom struggle and was imprisoned several times. He joined the Servants of the People Society formed by Lala Lajpat Rai, that worked for the betterment of the country and its people. He worked under the guidance of Lala Lajpat Rai and Gandhi ji. He was later made the President of the Society.
9. While India was on the modes to make Hindi the national language, the Madras anti-Hindu agitation of 1965 was among one of the critical situations, that Shastri seemingly tried to sort. He was the only one who strived to keep English as the official language of the non-Hindi speaking states.
10. His tenure as the Prime Minister was only for nineteen months (9 June 1964 – 11 January 1966). He died in Tashkent on January 11, 1966.
More than thirty years of dedicated service were behind Lal Bahadur Shastri. In the course of this period, he came to be known as a man of great integrity and competence, humble, tolerant, with great inner strength and resoluteness. A man of vision who led the country towards progress, Shastri was deeply influenced by the political teachings of Gandhi. “Hard work is equal to prayer,” he once said, in accents profoundly reminiscent of his Master. In the direct tradition of Bapu and Lala Lajpat Rai, Shastri represented the best in Indian culture!