Lal Bahadur Shastri death anniversary: How he started his political career?

Lal Bahadur Shastri death anniversary: Why his death was so mysterious?

11th January is celebrated as the death anniversary of India’s second Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Let us take a look at his life journey. How did he start his political career & why he was one of the most loved leaders in India.

Who was he?

Born to a  Kayastha Hindu family, Shastri gave up his caste named surname at an early age. He was a huge follower of Gandhi and influenced by him, he joined Congress Party as a volunteer. He studied from Kashi Vidyapith in Banaras and graduated with a degree in Philosophy and Ethics.

He was also a member of the Servants of the People Society and worked extensively with Harijans. Also known as Lok Sevak Mandal, this social service organization founded by Lala Lajpat Rai was later headed by Shastri.

How did he start his Political Career?

With the Independence of India and Jawaharlal Nehru as the First Prime Minister of Independent India, Shastri was the Minister of Police and Transport in Uttar Pradesh.

During his tenure, he introduced some noteworthy changes like appointing women conductors and the use of water to disperse crowds rather than lathis.

 He became the General Secretary of All-India Congress Committee in the year 1951. In 1952 when Nehru formed his cabinet, Shastri was given a place in it as Minister of Railways. He had resigned from this post after a major railway accident and had taken moral responsibility for it. He was then made the Minister of Commerce and Industry in 1959.

A major turning point in both India’s and Shastri’s political life came with the death of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964. After Nehru’s death, the obvious choice for PM was Shastri and K.Kamraj (the President of the Congress Party at that time) had a huge role in ensuring it.

A simple man, who was committed to his principles, Shastri had a very brief running as the PM. However, there were two major problems that were seen during his ruling.

1. The first being that of a major food crisis. India at that time was recovering from the China War and also had to face major monsoon failure and drought.

2. The 1965 war with Pakistan.

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A slogan that Shastri gave, which has become iconic and also tried to address both these issues were- Jai Jawan Jai Kisan.

He was a huge promoter of the White Revolution and supported the formation of Amul and the National Dairy Development Board. He also supported the green Revolution and stressed its importance in boosting food production in the country.

His Death Controversy 

His death is one of the most controversial as well as a mystery till now. Shastri had gone to Tashkent, USSR (currently the capital of Uzbekistan) to meet General Ayub Khan of Pakistan to come to a conclusion to end the war. It was there that he mysteriously died. He died of a heart attack which was very suspicious. A lot of theories, such as poisoning had also surfaced. However, the entire truth was never discovered and we still don’t know how our beloved Prime Minister passed away.

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Harshita Bajaj

Harshita has a background in Psychology and Criminology and is currently pursuing her PhD in Criminology. She can be found reading crime thrillers (or any other book for that matter) or binge-watching shows on Netflix when she is not in hibernation.
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