Bharat Ratna award winners in 1966

Lal Bahadur Shastri – (1904-1966)

Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on 2nd October 1904. He was a freedom struggle leader, politician and the second Prime Minister of India. He was born in Mughal Sarai, United Provinces of British India. His father was Sharada Srivastava Prasad, a school teacher. His mother was Ramdulari Devi. He had two sisters. His father died when he was just one and half years old and his mother took her three children to her parents’ house and brought them there. He was called as Nanhe at home.

He stayed at his grandfather Hazari Lal’s house and studied at Railyway School Mughalsarai up to IV. Then he was sent to Varanasi and studied at Harischandra High School. He loved reading books. The speech of Mahatma Gandhi at Varanasi in the year 1915 made him involve in politics and dedicate his life to the country. He was against caste system and so he dropped the surname Srivastava from his name as this indicated his caste.

He was a minor when he joined the non-cooperation movement led by Gandhiji in 1921. After completing the course at Kashi Vidyapeeth, he was given the title of Shastri. Then he became a member of the Servants of the People Society and started to work for uplifting of the Harijans at Muzaffarpur. He became the president of the society later on.

He married Lalita Devi in 1927 and had five sons. He took part in Salt Satyagraha in the year 1930 and was imprisoned for two and half years. One of his daughters died when he was in prison. He worked as the Organizing Secretary of the Parliamentary Board of Uttar Pradesh in 1937. He was arrested again. Totally he spent nine years of his life in prison.

After the independence of India, he was appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary in U.P. Later he became the minister of Police and Transport of U.P. State Government when Govind Ballabh Pant was the Chief Minister. In 1951 he was made the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee. He was nominated to Rajya Sabha the same year. He also served as the Minister of Railways and Transport in the central ministry from 1951 to 1956.

When Jawaharlal Nehru died on 27th May 1964, he was made the Prime Minister on 9th June of the same year. When there was a war with Pakistan, he created the slogan, ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’. He stressed on Green Revolution and promoted White Revolution. He died on 11th January 1966 in Tashkent U.S.S.R. There lies a mystery in his death until now. He was a clean politician and died poor without money or property.