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Lal Bahadur Shastri Biography

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Last updated date: 23rd Apr 2024
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Lal Bahadur Shastri: Life, History and Achievements of Prime Minister

Lal Bahadur Shastri was a politician and statesman from India who served as the country's second Prime Minister. In this article about Lal Bahadur Shastri biography, we will study the life history of Lal Bahadur Shastri, his achievements, his tenure as a Prime Minister of India and his date of death.

 

Early Life of Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904, in Mughalsarai, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India (now Uttar Pradesh). Lal Bahadur Shastri's father was Sharada Prasad Srivastava, who was a school teacher before becoming a clerk in the revenue office at Allahabad. His mother was Ramdulari Devi. He was the second child. to He had an elder sister Kailashi Devi and a younger sister Sundari Devi.

When Lal Bahadur Shastri was six months old, his father died in an epidemic of bubonic plague. Lal Bahadur Shastri and his sisters grew up in the home of his maternal grandfather Munshi Hazari Lal after his father died.

Shastri started his education at the East Central Railway Inter college in Mughalsarai at the age of four, under the tutelage of a maulvi, Budhan Mian. He was a student there until the sixth grade.

Lal Bahadur Shastri began seventh grade at Harish Chandra High School in Varanasi. 

 

Lal Bahadur Shastri’s Family

Lal Bahadur Shastri married Lalita Devi, a Mirzapur native, on May 16, 1928. Kusum Shastri, Hari Krishna Shastri, Suman Shastri, Anil Shastri, Sunil Shastri, and Ashok Shastri were the couple's four sons and two daughters.

The entire Shastri family continues to participate in social initiatives and is actively involved in shaping relevant forums in India to aid in the country's growth and advancement.

 

Lal Bahadur Shastri's Independence Activism

Lal Bahadur Shastri became interested in the freedom movement after being inspired by a patriotic and well-respected teacher named Nishkameshwar Prasad Mishra at Harish Chandra High School. He started to research its history and the works of many notable figures, including Swami Vivekananda, Mahatma Gandhi, and Annie Besant.

Lal Bahadur Shastri attended a public meeting in Banaras organised by Gandhi and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya in January 1921, when he was in the tenth grade. Shastri withdrew from Harish Chandra High School the next day, inspired by Mahatma Gandhi's call for students to withdraw from government schools and join the non-cooperation movement. He joined the local branch of the Congress Party as a volunteer, actively engaging in picketing and anti-government demonstrations.

He was quickly apprehended and imprisoned but was later released because he was still a minor. J.B. Kripalani, a former Banaras Hindu University professor who went on to become one of the most influential figures of the Indian independence movement and one of Gandhi's closest followers, was Lal Bahadur Shastri's immediate supervisor.

On 10 February 1921, recognising the need for younger volunteers to continue their education, Kripalani and a friend, V.N. Sharma, established an informal school centred on nationalist education to educate the young activists in their nation's heritage, and the Kashi Vidyapith was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi in Banaras.

Lal Bahadur Shastri was one of the first students to graduate from the Vidyapith with a first-class degree in philosophy and ethics in 1925. The title “Shastri” (Scholar) was bestowed upon him, which was a bachelor's degree from the university, and later it became part of his identity.

Lal Bahadur Shastri became  a member of Lala Lajpat Rai's Servants of the People Society (Lok Sevak Mandal) and started working for the betterment of the Harijans in Muzaffarpur under Gandhi's leadership. He later became the Society's President.

At Mahatma Gandhi's request, Shastri joined the Indian National Congress as an active and mature member in 1928. He spent two and a half years in jail. Later, in 1937, he served as the Organising Secretary of the U.P. Parliamentary Board. He was imprisoned for a year in 1940 for providing individual Satyagraha support to the independence movement.

At Gowalia Tank in Bombay on August 8, 1942, Mahatma Gandhi delivered the Quit India address, demanding that the British leave India. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who had just been released from prison after a year, travelled to Allahabad.

In 1937 and 1946, he was elected to the United Provinces legislature.

 

Lal Bahadur Shastri's Political Career

After India's independence, Lal Bahadur Shastri was named Parliamentary Secretary in his home state of Uttar Pradesh. Following Rafi Ahmed Kidwai's departure to become a minister at the centre, he became the Minister of Police and Transport under Govind Ballabh Pant's Chief Ministership on 15 August 1947. He was the first to name female conductors as Transport Minister.

As the minister in charge of the Police Department, he requested that unruly crowds be dispersed using water jets, which he instructed officers to use instead of lathis. During his time as police minister, he was instrumental in putting an end to communal riots in 1947, as well as mass migration and refugee resettlement.

With Jawaharlal Nehru as Prime Minister, Shastri was appointed General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee in 1951. He was in charge of the candidate selection process and the direction of advertising and electioneering efforts. He was a key figure in the Congress Party's landslide victories in the Indian general elections of 1952, 1957, and 1962.

In 1952, he ran for the Uttar Pradesh Vidhansabha and won the Soraon North cum Phulpur West seat with over 69% of the votes. On May 13, 1952, Shastri was appointed Minister of Railways and Transport in the First Cabinet of the Republic of India. In 1959, he was appointed Minister of Commerce and Industry, and in 1961, he was appointed the Minister of Home Affairs.

As a minister without a portfolio, Shastri laid a foundation for Mangalore Port in 1964.

When Jawaharlal Nehru died in office on 27 May 1964. Lal Bahadur Shastri was elected as the second Prime Minister of India on 9 June.

During Lal Bahadur Shastri's time as Prime Minister, the Madras anti-Hindi agitation of 1965 took place. Under the Official Languages Act of 1963, it was proposed that Hindi would be the primary official language. To defuse the crisis, Shastri promised that English would remain the official language as long as the non-Hindi-speaking states wanted it. After Shastri's assurance, the riots and student unrest subsided.

Shastri used central planning to carry on Nehru's socialist economic policies. He supported the Amul milk cooperative in Anand, Gujarat, and founded the National Dairy Development Board to promote the White Revolution, a national movement to increase milk production and supply. On October 31, 1964, he came to Anand to inaugurate the Amul Cattle Feed Factory at Kanjari.

Shastri maintained Nehru's non-alignment policy while strengthening relations with the Soviet Union. Shastri's government agreed to increase the country's defence budget following the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the establishment of military relations between China and Pakistan.

Shastri and Sri Lankan Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike signed an agreement Sirima-Shastri Pact or Bandaranaike-Shastri Pact, in 1964 about the status of Indian Tamils in Sri Lanka, which was then known as Ceylon.

Shastri's crowning achievement came in 1965 when he led India in the Indo-Pak War. The Pakistani army clashed with Indian forces in August 1965, claiming half of the Kutch peninsula. During this time, Shastri used the popular slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" to encourage soldiers to protect India while encouraging farmers to increase food grain production and reduce reliance on imports.

The Indo-Pak war ended on September 23, 1965, when the United Nations ordered a ceasefire. Following the declaration of a cease-fire with Pakistan in 1965, Shastri and Pakistani President Mohammed Ayub Khan met in Tashkent for a summit arranged by Alexei Kosygin. Shastri and Ayub Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration on January 10, 1966. Shastri travelled to many countries during his time as Prime Minister, including the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, England, Canada, Nepal, Egypt, and Burma.

 

Achievements of Lal Bahadur Shastri

These achievements and memoirs of Lal Bahadur Shastri include both before and after his death.

  • During his time as Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri laid the foundation stone for Bal Vidya Mandir, a prestigious Lucknow school, on November 19, 1964.

  • In November 1964, he opened the Central Institute of Technology Campus in Tharamani, Chennai.

  • In 1965, he opened the Plutonium Reprocessing Plant in Trombay. 

  • Shastri approved the development of nuclear explosives, as suggested by Dr Homi Jehangir Bhabha. Bhabha spearheaded the initiative by forming the Study of Nuclear Explosions for Peaceful Purposes nuclear explosive design project (SNEPP).

  • In November 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri opened the Chennai Port Trust's Jawahar Dock and began construction on the Tuticorin Port.

  • In the state of Gujarat, he opened the Sainik School Balachadi.

  • He was the one who laid the foundation stone for the Almatti Dam.

  • Throughout his life, Shastri was known for his integrity and modesty. 

  • He received the Bharat Ratna posthumously, and a memorial called "Vijay Ghat" was established in Delhi in his honour.

  • Several educational institutions bear his name, including the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Institute of Management, one of India's top business schools, was established in 1995 by the 'Lal Bahadur Shastri Educational Trust' in Delhi.

  • Because of Shastri's position in promoting scholarly activity between India and Canada, the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute was named after him.

  • The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Memorial Trust runs the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial, located next to 10 Janpath, where he lived as Prime Minister.

  • Lal Bahadur Shastri Hall of Residence is one of IIT Kharagpur's residence halls named after him.


Lal Bahadur Shastri Death 

Lal Bahadur Shastri's death date was 11 January 1966. He died in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, one day after signing a peace treaty ending the 1965 Indo-Pakistan War.

He was hailed as a national hero, and the Vijay Ghat memorial was named after him.

 

Conclusion

Lal Bahadur Shastri was a very simple man who worked for the betterment of the country. When he died, all he left was an old car, which he had bought in instalments from the government. He was a member of the Servants of India Society, which encouraged its members to avoid accumulating private property and instead serve the people in public.

He was the first railway minister to resign as a result of moral obligation after a major train crash. The Lal Bahadur Shastri Biography teaches the moral values adopted by one of the most honest and significant figures and politicians in Indian history.

FAQs on Lal Bahadur Shastri Biography

1. Who was Lal Bahadur Shastri?

Lal Bahadur Shastri was an Indian politician and statesman who served as the country's second Prime Minister after Jawahar Lal Nehru. He supported the Amul milk co-operative of Anand, Gujarat, and also created the National Dairy Development Board to increase the production and supply of milk, thereby promoting the White Revolution. Lal Bahadur Shastri also promoted the Green Revolution in India in 1965 to boost 

2. What is Lal Bahadur Shastri's death date?

Lal Bahadur Shastri died on 11 January 1966 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. He died just after one day after signing the peace treaty that marked the end of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war. His death raised various conspiracy theories, which are still existent. After his death, the Vijay Ghat memorial was named after him because of his valour and heroism as a national hero. The death of Lal Bahadur Shastri is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries in the history of India.

3. When and where was Lal Bahadur Shastri born?

Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on October 2, 1904, in Mughalsarai, United Provinces of Agra and Oudh, British India, to Sharada Prasad Srivastav, who was a teacher at a school, and mother, Ramdulari Devi. Sharada Prasad Srivastav died due to an epidemic of bubonic plague when Lal Bahadur Shastri was just six months old. Lal Bahadur Shastri also had an elder sister named Kailashi Devi and a younger sister named Sundari Devi.

4. What can you say about the personality of Lal Bahadur Shastri?

After serving for more than 30 years and dedicating his life to the nation, Lal Bahadur Shastri came out to be a person of great integrity and competence. Lal Bahadur Shastri was a humble man who was tolerant and had great inner strength and resoluteness. He efficiently understood the language of the people and was thus known as the man of the people. His vision led the country towards independence and later on when he became the prime minister of India, the country showed remarkable progress. Lal Bahadur Shastri was greatly influenced by the teachings and principles of Mahatma Gandhi and was his follower in the fight of India against the Britishers. 

5. What are some of the interesting facts about Lal Bahadur Shastri?

Though Lal Bahadur Shastri was an extremely dedicated person, which makes everything about him interesting, some really good facts about Lal Bahadur Shastri are:

  • He shares his birth date with Mahatma Gandhi, that is, 2nd October.

  • He got the title of ‘Shastri’ in 1926 at Kashi Vidyapeeth University because of his scholarly success.

  • He was the first person to use jets of water on the crowd to disperse them instead of lathi charge. This happened when he was the Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

  • He played an essential role in shaping the future of India and also gave the slogan of ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’.

  • He introduced the concept of female drivers and conductors in public transport when he became the transport minister after India got independence.

  • He introduced the first committee on the Prevention of Corruption when he became the home minister.

  • He also promoted the Green Revolution and the White Revolution.

  • He signed the Tashkent Declaration with the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Ayub Khan, on 10 January 1966 to end the war of 1965.