2nd October, celebrated every year as Gandhi Jayanti to commemorate the great martyr born amidst us, who led us from darkness to light, whose tales non-violence still echo in the classrooms of schools and the courtyards of homes. We remember his sacrifices for us, his dedication towards this nation and his resilience which got us our Independence.
But, Gandhi ji wasn’t the only one because of whom India is a democratic republic today, he isn’t the only one to march towards the path that got us our freedom. There were millions and millions of others who laid down their lives. Some, who after the long strived-for freedom, sought to maintain the interference and sovereignty of this nation. One such nationalist who gave his everything to this country at a time when Nehru passed away and there couldn’t be seen another ray of hope is Lal Bahadur Shashtri, the second Prime Minister of Independent India.
Lal Bahadur Shashtri was also born on 2nd October 1904 in Mughalsarai, Varanasi in the United Province of Agra and Oudh of the British India. He was a loyal friend and follower of Mahatma Gandhi and also of Nehru. Later on, he joined the Indian Independence struggle by becoming a member of the Indian National Congress. Following Independence, he worked for the country in Prime Minister Nehru’s cabinet first at Railways Minister and later even as Home Minister. After Nehru’s death, when the entire country was in terror of disintegration, he was the most favoured candidate who was believed to have the power to keep India united. He was elected to the office of the Prime Minister on 9th June 1964. During his tenure, he efficiently managed everything after the sudden death of the former Prime Minister. He led the country during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and gave the famous slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan!’ The end of the war was possible only after signing the Tashkent Agreement on 10th January 1966. He died in Tashkent (then in USSR) the following day.
It is sad that on such a day when we should be proud of having been honoured by two such people who were born on our soil, we just remember one because he happens to be the Father of the Nation. The contributions of Mr Shashtri go unnoticed and unacknowledged. We as Indians should never forget the turmoil after Nehru’s death and how Mr Shashtri was able to get this country out of the shackles that held it down in the path of progress.
Image Credits: culturalindia.in