Lal Bahadur Shastri was an Indian politician and the Second Prime Minister of India from 1964 to 1966. He was a leader of the Indian National Congress party and a close associate of Jawaharlal Nehru. Lal Bahadur Shastri was chosen as Nehru’s successor after the latter’s death in 1964. During his tenure as Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri oversaw several landmark initiatives, including introducing the Green Revolution in India and signing the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistan. He also played a key role in the Indian annexation of Sikkim in 1975.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904, in Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh, India. His father was a schoolteacher who became a clerk in the revenue office in Allahabad. Ramdulari Devi’s mother was a homemaker and daughter of Munishi Hazari All, who was also a headmaster in a railway school. Lal Bahadur Shastri was the youngest of three children. His father died in an epidemic when he was just 18 months old. His mother was just 23 and pregnant with her 3rd child. He grew up with his maternal grandfather. Hazari Laal Ji also died from a stroke in mid-1908. It was a family tradition to receive an education in the Urdu language. He completed his primary education in Mughalsarai and attended the prestigious Harishchandra High School in Varanasi. In 1920, he enrolled in Kashi Vidyapith, a university in Varanasi, where he studied philosophy and Hindi literature.
His family had no links to the freedom movement .one of his teachers named, Nishkameshwar Prasad Mishra, was patriotic. He supported him financially by allowing him to teach his children. Lal Bahadur Shastri was impressed with his patriotism and started interested in the freedom movement. He studied history and noted personalities like Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda. He was inspired by Gandhi and left the Harish Chandra high school on Gandhi’s call to leave government school. He joined congress as a volunteer. He was arrested and jailed when he was still a minor. He became Mahatma Gandhi’s disciple when congress decided to educate its young activist. In February 1921, he was the first one who had graduated from the new institution, which Gandhi inaugurated, and became a key leader of the Indian independence movement. Lal Bahadur Shastri was born into a low-income family in Uttar Pradesh and began his political career as a follower of Gandhi. He was jailed several times for his role in the independence movement.
In 1928, he became a mature and active member of congress. He was imprisoned for almost 2 years. He was sent to jail again in 1940. But he continued to work for the independence of India despite all hardships.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was an active participant in the Indian independence movement. He was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and joined the Non-Cooperation Movement in 1921. He was arrested several times for his involvement in the movement. In 1930, he joined the Indian National Congress and became a close follower of Gandhi. He participated in the Salt March in 1930 and was arrested again. He was jailed for two years. After his release from jail, Lal Bahadur Shastri worked hard to build the Congress party in Uttar Pradesh. He was appointed the General Secretary of the Congress Party in 1946. He played a key role in the negotiations with the British government that led to the independence of India in 1947. He also served as the Minister of Transport and Communications in the first cabinet of independent India.
He served as a representative of the united provinces in 1937 and 1946.
State minister: After the independence, he was appointed parliamentary secretary in his home state. On 15 August 1947, he became the minister of police and transport and performed his duty with great zeal and zest. He was the first who appoint female conductors.
- Cabinet Minister:
Lal Bahadur Shastri was a cabinet minister in the Indian government from 1966 to 1971. He also served as the Minister of Home Affairs and the Minister of External Affairs. Lal Bahadur Shastri was a close confidant of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and played a key role in shaping the foreign and domestic policies of the Nehruvian era. After Nehru died in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri emerged as a leading figure in the Congress Party and was a key player in the politics of the 1960s. He was a staunch advocate of non-alignment and played a central role in the establishment of the Non-Aligned Movement
- Prime Minister:
In May 1964, Jawaharlal Nehru died in office. Congress decided to appoint Lal Bahadur Shastri prime minister in June. He was soft-spoken and mild-mannered. In his first address as prime minister, on 11 June 1964, he said:
“There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the crossroads of history and must choose which way to go. But for us, there need be no difficulty or hesitation, no looking right or left. Our way is straight and clear—the building of a socialist democracy at home with freedom and prosperity for all, and the maintenance of world peace and friendship with all nations.”
He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award for civillians. Dedicated to him, the Lal Bahadur Shastri awards are a set of annual awards given out by the government of India in recognition of outstanding achievements in various fields. The awardees are chosen by a panel of experts and are announced every year on October 2, the birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the second Prime Minister of India. The awards are given in science, medicine, social work, sports, art, and public administration.
Lal Bahadur Shastri died in 1966, just days after signing the Tashkent Declaration. Lal Bahadur Shastri’s sudden death was a shock to the nation, and his tenure as a cabinet minister was cut short. His death was widely mourned in India.
Places dedicated to Lal Bahadur Shastri:
Several places in India are dedicated to the memory of Lal Bahadur Shastri, one of the country’s most revered leaders. In his hometown of Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh, a museum has been established in his honor. The museum houses some of his personal belongings, photographs, and documents chronicling his life and career. Lal Bahadur Shastri Park, located in New Delhi, is another memorial to the late leader. The park contains a statue of Lal Bahadur Shastri and a plaque with some of his famous quotes. Visitors to the park can also learn about his life and legacy through an audio-visual presentation.
He was born on October 2, 1904, in Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh. His father was a school teacher, and his mother was a homemaker. Lal Bahadur Shastri was a bright student and was inspired by Mahatma Gandhi. He joined the Indian National Congress in 1928 and became a full-time worker for the party in 1930. He was arrested and jailed several times for participating in the freedom struggle. In 1945, he was appointed Minister of Transport and Communications in the provincial government of Uttar Pradesh. He was also elected General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee in 1951. Lal Bahadur Shastri became Prime Minister of India after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964. He advocated a policy of non-alignment and worked to improve relations with the United States and the Soviet Union. He also promoted the Green Revolution in India, which helped increase agricultural production. He was awarded the Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in India, in 1966. Lal Bahadur Shastri died suddenly on January 11, 1966, after signing the Tashkent Declaration with Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan.