Lal Bahadur Shastri: A Gandhian PM who gave us ‘Jai Jawan, Jai kisan’

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Remembering Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second PM of India

When you hear of October 2, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? It must be Gandhi Jayanti. However, while remembering Mahatma Gandhi, we often forget another major event which is the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Lal took to politics at a very young age in the Indian National Movement and was guided by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who was defeated in 1964 for the seat of Prime Minister.

Here are some facts about Lal Bahadur Shastri, that may or may not be known to you.

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri attained the title of “Shastri” after he completed his graduation. Shastri means a scholar.
  • Since he was deeply against the caste system in India, at the age of 12, he dropped his surname ‘Shrivastava’ which he inherited from his parents, Sharada Prasad and Ramdulari Devi, and retained the first two names – Lal Bahadur
  • When he was 3-months-old, his mother lost him while taking a dip in the Ganges in Varanasi where he was born. She got him back after some time from a cowherd that had no children.
  • Shastri was the first person to use water jets to disperse crowds instead of lathi charges as the Minister of Uttar Pradesh police.
  • During his wedding, the only gifts he accepted from the bride’s family were a khadi cloth and a spinning wheel.
  • The first women conductors were appointed during his tenure of being the Minister of Police and Transport on August 15,1947.
  • He promoted the White Revolution to increase the production and supply of milk in India and Green Revolution for increase in the production of food in 1965.
  • In 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Prime Minister of India.
  • During the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, he coined the slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’.
  • He was the first person to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, which is the highest civilian award.
  • Shastri breathed his last in Tashkent of a cardiac arrest on July 11, 1966, the day after the Tashkent Declaration was signed. He was the first Indian Prime Minister to pass away overseas.

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