Stalwart Statesman: Lal Bahadur Shastri

  Gargi Gupta |     October 7, 2021

Born in UP, Lal Bahadur Shastri was inspired during his childhood by the writings of Annie Besant and Swami Vivekanada. In 1921, after attending a public meeting addressed by Mahatma Gandhi and Madan Mohan Malviya, he quit his school and joined the Non-Cooperation Movement. In 1925, he graduated from Kashi Vidyapith, where he was admired as 'Shastri (scholar)'. Thereafter, he dropped his inherited title ‘Srivastava,’ in opposition to the caste system. Then, he worked for the upliftment of low castes through the Lok Seva Mandal run by Lala Lajpat Rai.

In 1930, Shastri participated in the Dandi March and was jailed often. In 1947, he served in the UP cabinet of Chief Minister Govind Ballabh Pant. But he became more popular as the Union Railway Minister when he resigned on moral grounds after a train accident. Following Jawaharlal Nerhu’s death, he succeeded him as our Prime Minister in 1966.

Shastri offered formidable leadership to our country during the Indo-Pak War of 1965 and raised the slogan of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan (Hail soldier, hail farmer). He initiated Green Revolution to make India agriculturally surplus. He also led the White Revolution to transform India from a milk-deficient nation to the world's largest milk producer. Shashtri was posthumously honoured with India's highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna.

About the Author

Student of Class 12, St Marks World School, New Delhi

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