The Bold Voice of J&K

Lal Bahadur Shastri a Man of wisdom and Values

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G.L Khajuria

Men may come and men may go, but gems like Sh. Lal Bahadur Shastri stay forever in the history. Rightfully has as thus Oscar wilde remarked, “It is not selfish to think for one self. A man who does not think for himself does not think at all”. Born on October 2nd,1904 at Moghalsaria (UP) in a below the mediocre family, Shastri ji was really to be a gem second Prime Minister of India after Pt. J L. Nehru. His father, who was a school teacher died when Shastri ji was barely two years old and as such he was being brought up by his maternal grandfather. Though his earlier days of childhood were poverty-ridden and as a corollary, he had to encompass many odds and he faced, all these valiantly with due devotion and dedication being not ever afraid of multihued obstacles those came in his way. A simple man with multi faced cultural and religious affiliations attached to his magnanimity, was Shastri ji who compromised in the crucial and challenging intricate squabbles. When Shastri ji was barely 17, he was attracted towards freedom movements and as such plunged into the freedom arena most boldly keeping body and soul in togetherness and unambiguously took part in various movement started by the father of Nation, “Bapu Gandhi”, and on most of occasions he was arrested along with other freedom fighters. Amidst the fiery freedom struggle movements, he occasioned to join ” Kashi Vidyapith,” where he studied under the renowned scholar Dr. Bhagwan Dass, which ultimately made him to secure his “Shastri Degree” and in later stages it became a part and parcel of his name and fame. “Jai Jawan’ Jai Kisan” was the slogn of Shastri ji and he enshrined ‘Jawan’ and ‘Kisan’ are the fountainheads of a nation upon when rests the foundation of the nation. In the words of A.S. Raman. “There is no doubt that Shastri ji has all essentials if not externals of man of destiny, however, shy and self-pitying, he may appear to be. Physically he has obvious handicaps, intellectually, he is modest, politically he is almost passive. But he has certain qualities which distinguish with his statesmanship and its mellow-west!’ Shastri ji continued to take part in freedom movement very actively with his contemporaries of the time et.al. Lala Lajpath, Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and many of their ilk and the ensuing period spanning 1952-1964, Shastri ji had remained a member of India’s Council of Ministers. He left an indelible print in the Indian history when in 1952, he had been the Railway Minister and voluntarily resigned because of a ‘Rail-accident’ taking the onus of responsibility on his shoulders. Such were the rarer of rarest qualities bestowed upon him. In May 1964, on the sad demise of Mr. Nehru, Shastri ji was unanimously chosen to succeed Mr. Nehru as the second Prime Minister of India and during his shorter-spell of prime minister ship, he lead India on the path of progress. Work, for him was worship and rest, the rust. He worked indefatigably without and fear or favour, with due dedication and devotion. Shastri ji was a silent worker and he tackled multifarious off-shooting problems skillfully and in the most meticulous design of things. He was ever been a genius of integrity and cohesiveness and his expounding diabolical courage camouflaged incipiently by his silken smile. His main aim was to look far ahead for the generation and generation to come and his edifying humility, pragmatism and humanism were in amalgamation. He maintained during his Prime Minister ship an equilibrium between his thoughts and open mindedness and this goes true with saying of Emerson ” Man is a piece universe made alive”. Shastri ji has had utmost regards for ‘Jawan’ & ‘Kisan’ and on one occasion, called ‘Manoj’ and ‘Shashi ji,’ duo film maker as to whether they can produce a film of twin forces of the nation-‘Jawan’ & ‘Kisan’. With utter emotion that appeared on their faces, they assured, it is quite possible and that is how’ upkaar’ was produced and directed by Manoji.
And, of course, in another occasion his son Sunil who was all along watching Shastri ji of his late coming from office….one night lie kept waiting till late night and asked I father, “you are always over-burdened in the office matters and you have least regards for the family members”. Smilingly, Shastri ji replied,” My dear boy…don’t ever think so … i whole India is my family…and perhaps you are luckiest that I sleep with you…? Upon this Sunil ji had to apologize. Such is the rarer of rarest qualities imbibed in Shastri ji which perhaps none of his contemporaries ever possessed. In mid seventies, the writer amongst other fellow colleagues have had an occasion visit Shastri ji’s residence, congested rooms and though of course, I can say a national heritage A small home with all traditional ‘Dhooties’ & caps the old traditional pens and holders and the ink-pots which really touched my inner voice vehemently In 1965 Pak invaded India and in dealing with upspring situation, Shastri ji did not make hurry but very meticulously dealt with Pakistan to come to negotiable settlement and offered him a chance to talk in terms of peace but when she could not understand t language of peace, he hit hard and the entire nation stood as a one man to meet the challenge and the enemy had to bear the retreat bootlessly with humiliation. This was the sort of courage and boldness shown by hint under his dynamic politburo. After the cease fire was drawn and in its aftermath followed “Tashknt’ agreement” in Jan 1966, then President of Pakistan proceeded Russia. After great deal of deliberations, Shastriji was to sign agreement to the effect that the Indian forces who had occupied Pak territory were withdraw To his utmost zeal and disappointed degree of emotion, Shastri could not bear the burden of signing the agreement. And ill luck had it that left soon Shastri ji was jolted to the cruel hands of death. The sudden and untimely demise of Shastriji shook and utterly shocked the nation a whole and a holocaustic scenario pervaded over Indian horizon. It was perhaps the m unfaithful and deadening day for all Indians. Shastriji was truly the real son of India. I was a greater gem amongst gems who never ever yielded to power or pelf. He possessed t qualities of head and heart. His name shall remain in the History of India till the sun shines, Moon soothes and stars remain glittering in cosmos. And with this is added “Down with your pride of birth, and your golden Gods of trade, a man is worth his mother Earth, all that a man has made.” (J.G. Neilardt-cry of people).
(The author is former
Deputy conservator of Forest).

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