Friday, October 2, 2009

Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan...A tribute to the true gem of India

While the entire world is celebrating the Birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, one person continues to remain backstage. He is the most humble, sincere, honest (the list is endless) Prime Minister India ever had (and perhaps, will ever have). On his birthday, this post is a tribute to Lal Bahadur Shastry, who despite his selfless service to the nation, is more-or-less forgotten by us.

Born on 2nd October, 1904 in Ram Nagar, Ahmedabad, Shastry immersed himself into the freedom struggle at a very tender age. He spent nearly a decade in jail, for various reasons. Perhaps the following 3 incidents suffice to depict the sincerity of Lal Bahadur Shastry.

When he was the Prime Minister, a poor man somehow managed to sneak into his office. Claiming that it was his daughter's wedding and that he was too poor to make the arrangements, he demanded financial help. Shastry, however, politely made known his inability to be of any help, pointing out that his bank-balance was only Rs 60 (the minimum amount to be in a bank account was then Rs 50). Not convinced(who would be? considering the huge fortunes our politicians have amassed), the poor man continued to urge him. Finally, he announced to Shastry that he would go and ask Mrs. Shastry for the money, and left his office. When Mrs Lalita Shastry heard his hue, she took no time to give him the only Rs 100 which she had in her possession. When Lal Bahadur Shastry learnt about this from the poor-man, he was shocked as to where she would have gotten this money from. When he questioned her, she told him how she had saved the money, rupee by rupee, from what money was given to her for groceries. The very next day, Lal bahadaur Shastry is reported to have written to the then President of India, requesting to reduce his salary by an amount of Rs 100 as he no longer felt it necessary. This letter still exists in official records, as a proof of the sincerity of Shastry.

Once, when Shastry was out for a walk, some ruffians, bribed by some adversaries, to insult him, got hold of Shastry by his collar and threatened him. They continuously questioned him as to what good he had done to this nation. Shastry did not lose temper. Pointing at the hands gripping his collar, he humbly replied, "You see. Today you are free to get hold of the PM by his collar. This is the good I have done to India"

On being questioned by a friend, who seemed worried about Shastry not getting due credits for his accomplishments, Shastry replied "I would like to be the hidden-stones of the foundation, that support the Taj Mahal rather than the ones rendering beauty to it".

Shastry, who was unanimously elected the Prime Minister of India in 1964, regardless of the then pathetic economic condition of India, within a span of less than two years, achieved self-sufficiency of food-grains thereby bringing about the 'Green Revolution'. He is known to have introduced various (working) schemes for the farmers.

He was a perfect example for the old English proverb- "Filled vessels make no noise". Simple, humble by nature and at the same time daring, he did not think twice when the Pakistan army took pleasure in attacking the borders of India( Indo-Pak war, 1965). Within a short span of time, the Indian army not only succeeded in causing the Pakistan army to flee from our land, but also captured every square kilometre of land up-to Lahore. Had it not been for the intervention by U.N.O., Pakistan would not have lived to see this day. Shastry who had been to Tashkent to sign an agreement with the Pakistan PM, died a "Natural death" on 11th January, 1966. He was awarded the Bharata Ratna postumously. The whole life of Shastry is an ideal. Hopefully, one day our Politicians will learn a lesson from the life of Shastry.


Anonymous said...

Impressive is the least i can say!

Karee-Mangya said...

Wonderful post. Thanks for that.

ajaypaip said...