A diminutive man physically but with a formidable resolve and grit gave that slogan, in 1965. As the world celebrates Gandhiji’s birthday it forgets Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, the 2nd Prime Minister of India, whose birthday coincides with the Mahatma.
Someone commented during a TV debate on the “Pahal Yojana” that Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri and Mr. Narendra Modi are the only two Prime Ministers whose mothers have used a wood burning stove. It was no surprise that Mr. Modi ensured that gas cylinders reached the poorest of the poor and not making it a dole.
Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri was in office for just 1.5 years and he still managed to steer the country towards self sufficiency in milk production by supporting the Amul Milk Cooperative. He also started the “green revolution” which has made India self sufficient in food production as the country faced huge food shortages in the 60’s. The Shastri “Vrat” – he urged all citizens to give up one meal a day so that those affected by food shortage could get some sustenance.
He gave the slogan of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” during the India-Pakistan war in 1965. Sadly, he passed away under suspicious circumstances a day after signing the famous Tashkent agreement, to end the Indo-Pak war.
Some interesting anecdotes that tell us the kind of person Shastri ji was –
- He joined the Quit India movement when he was just 16. He was deeply influenced by Gandhiji.
- Shastri Ji was a member of ‘The Servants of India Society’ of Lala Lajpat Rai during the freedom struggle. They gave Rs. 50 to the family of any freedom fighter who was imprisoned. When Shastri Ji found out that his wife uses only Rs. 40 and saves Rs. 10, he asked the society to send only Rs. 40 and use Rs. 10 for someone who needs it.
- When his son used his official car for 14 Kms, Shastri Ji as the PM paid money to Govt of India for having used the official car for personal work !! I wish politicians like Sharad Pawar, Mulayam Singh Yadav, the Gandhi Parivar and Chidambaram read this :):).
- When he died, Shastri Ji did not even have a house in his name and the car that he had bought in instalments was paid for using the pension that his wife received.
Shastri Ji was a different kind of politician, totally devoted to the country and with tremendous personal integrity. Whatever anyone says, Mr. Modi is similarly devoted to the country and his personal integrity is unquestionable. Mr. Modi though is also an astute politician and a brilliant strategist which makes him a formidable opponent. No wonder the CONpeople are struggling !:).
Happy birthday Shastri Ji. May your tribe grow and may India fulfil your dream of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan. Jai Hind.
p.s – Hopefully we figure out what happened to Shastri Ji in Tashkent. Very mysterious.
Do read an earlier “angry” post of mine – Mr.Spineless Sardesai, Greatness inspires Greatness