It is really amazing that we forget the most hardworking national hero – Lal Bhadur Shastri and only remember the Father of the Nation – Mahatma Gandhi on every October 2. However, this year I decided to write something about the forgotten hero – Lal Bhadur Shastri. I know, I know! Most of you will comment that he is not forgotten, just overshadowed by the Father of the Nation. So be it – the overshadowed national hero Lal Bhadur Shastri.
Lal Bhadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904 in Mughalsarai, United Provinces, British Raj, which is now in Uttar Pradesh, India. In 1920s Lal Bahadur Shastri joined the Indian independence movement and became a loyal follower, first of Gandhi, and then of Jawaharlal Nehru.
Post independence Shastriji joined the Nehru government and became one of Prime Minister Nehru’s principal lieutenants, first as Railways Minister (1951–56), and then in a variety of other functions, including Home Minister. Shastri was chosen as Nehru’s successor owing to his adherence to Nehruvian socialism after Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi turned down Congress President K. Kamaraj’s offer of premiership.
Shastriji as Prime Minister continued Nehru’s policies of non-alignment and socialism. He became a national hero following the victory in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. His slogan of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan” (“Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer”) became very popular during the war and is remembered even today. The war was formally ended in the Tashkent Agreement of January 10, 1966 and on January 11, 1966 he left for his heavenly abode.
Hence today when the entire nation celebrates Gandhi Jayanti, here’s wishing you happy birthday Shastriji. May your soul rest in peace wherever you are.
P.S. This blog post was meant for day 2 and Day 2 it will remain in UBC.