Today is Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death anniversary and we think a great way to honor him is to share with you 6 facts about India’s second PM that you may or may not know.
11th January is observed as the death anniversary of India’s second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastriji. A freedom fighter first and a politician second, he famously gave ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ slogan to unite farmers. Shastriji took over as the nation’s PM in the year 1964 after the demise of Jawaharlal Nehru. Shastriji held key positions in multiple cabinets such as Home Affairs, Railways, etc after India’s independence.
Today, let’s look at the life and times of Lal Bahadur Shastriji and celebrate the second Prime Minister of India:
#1 Letting Go of the Family Name
A reformer to his core, he believed in equality between all castes and groups. From an early age, Shastriji understood the repercussions of the caste system which plays a part in creating a social divide. Hence, Shastriji gave up on his family name at an early age. But it was after joining Kashi Vidyapeeth and getting a degree in philosophy that he received the title ‘Shastri’.
#2 Fighting Dowry System And Leading With Example
The caste system was not the only social injustice he fought against. Another social evil Shastriji raised his voice against was the dowry system. Not only did Shastriji fought against it in words, but in actions as well. When he was about to be married, he refused to accept his wife’s family. After repeated requests from his father-in-law, Shastriji graciously accepted to take a few meters of Khadi cloth. This example shows how a true leader leads a nation through small and big actions.
#3 Leaving For Jail After Daughter’s Death
Losing a child is considered to be one of the biggest sorrows a person could endure. Shastriji not only endured it but also set forth an example to his freedom fighter clan in how to keep head held high during the tragedy. It is known that because Shastriji was part of India’s freedom movement, he was thrown into jail quite often. When his daughter fell sick, he was granted parole of 15 days. Shastriji spent time with her but unfortunately, she fell victim to the disease. After performing the last rites, Shastriji went back to jail even though he had some parole time left. He showed how duty towards the nation’s freedom struggle superseded everything else.
#4 Introducing women conductors, replacing lathis with water jets
Shastriji made meaningful changes in the Indian landscape when he was in the position to do so. When he was appointed as the Minister of Police and Transport Control after India’s independence, he appointed women conductors for the first time. When he was appointed in charge of the police department, he was responsible for replacing lathis with water jets. His tenure as Home Minister (also known as Police Minister prior to 1950) saw him curbing 1947 communal riots, managing mass migration, and successfully resettle refugees.
#5 Giving Wife’s Saved Pension To Needy
A man of tenacity and unwavering principles Shastriji had an interesting incident with his wife. During his prison term’s completion. His wife was entitled to a pension of Rs.50/ month. When she visited him in jail once and gleefully told him how she saved Rs. 10 from the pension he was livid with annoyance. He then asked Servants of People’s Society to cut down his pension and give the Rs. 10 to someone who was needier.
#6 Prime Minister Shastriji Took Car Loan
Despite his position in the government, he had to apply for a car loan even after he sat on the chair of India’s Prime Minister. After his family members pestered him to get a car more appropriate for his status, he sent his secretary to find out the price of a fiat. The car’s cost was Rs. 12,000 and Shastriji was short Rs. 5000. He then applied for a car loan which was given to him promptly. Shastriji immediately called the bank and asked whether they are as quick in sanctioning loans to their other customers as well.