Apostle of peace

As nation paid homage to Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi on October 2, the day had one more apostle of peace, the second Prime Minister of India Lal Bhadur Shastri, who made the nation proud by giving jawan and Kisan the place of respect through his slogan ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. Shastri entered the political arena for the first time when he became part of the Indian national movement as a teenager. After being a Satyagrahi for a long time he joined independent India’s government under Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and succeeded him as Prime Minister on June 9, 1964. Reputed for his soft-spoken nature and clean image, Shastri is said to have practised severe austerity measures at home before applying them for India’s benefit. Shastri led the country during India-Pakistan war in 1965 and it was during this war he coined the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ to honour the two biggest pillars–soldiers and farmers–of the Indian democracy. The former Prime Minister strongly believed that soldiers and farmers are the backbones of Indian society and the nation needs to respect them and take care of their issues. In few days the slogan became the national slogan revolutionising the agriculture sector. He led the nation out of a grain importing nation to a surplus one under the Green Revolution and asked the country men to forego onetime meals as the nation was facing grain shortage due to the restrictions imposed by America. The slogan, which took birth during 1965 India-Pakistan war following the threat by the then American President to stop export of wheat to India if the war was not stopped, had made entire nation stand united such was the stature and voice of Shastri. During his reign as Prime Minister India saw the white revolution taking place by forming the National Dairy Development Board in 1965. The ideals and principles followed by the late Prime Minister were above political, caste and religious affiliations. He was instrumental in changing the British laws implemented in the country by setting up a committee to suggest administrative reforms. He died in Tashkent due to heart attack, on the day after signing the Tashkent Declaration. Lal Bahadur Shastri was the first person to be posthumously awarded Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award.

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