When just over a five feet tall man took over the job of the Prime Minister of India on June 1964 not many thought he would be considered as one of the most dynamic PM this country ever saw by the writers of Indian history. The man who in his term of 2 years as PM of this nation worked day in and day out to make India self-sufficient, A PM who could go to any extent to protect the integrity of his nation. He to this day is considered as one of the bravest PM India ever saw and the man who coined the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan”. He is none other than Lal Bahadur Shastri.
When the 1965 war broke out between India and Pakistan, Pakistan army was blessed with high-tech artilleries and tanks by the United States. The Patton tanks were a huge boost to Pakistan army since these tanks were modern and soldiers could target Indian soldiers by sitting Inside the tank while on the other hand, India used the native European tanks which were originally used in world war 2 and was absolute no match for the Patton tanks. However, Indian army did give a befitting reply to Pakistans Patton tanks using the recoilless guns. The war intensified while the world watched to see India being defeated by Pakistan then Indian’s prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri held an emergency meeting with Indian army officers to only boost their morale. The officers were stunned when PM said “Enough, we have only been seeing Pakistan infiltrating into Indian territory and it is now time to show the world our power, I need Lahore and you will get it. I will stand by my nation and answer the international community, You go ahead and capture Pakistan” . These were the words uttered by a PM who could not see his country bow down in front of anyone. Post this meeting with PM Shastri, Indian army handed over the operation to Lieutenant Colonel A. B. Tarapore who’s bravery won India 1965 war.
When Lal Bahadur Shastri took over as a Prime Minister in 1964, India used to be a food importing country then. It depended on food imports from North America under the PL-480 scheme. In 1965, when we were at war with Pakistan, India faced drought as well. Keeping in mind, the food situation and the prevailing hunger, Shastri had urged the entire country to hold a fast for a day and he fasted on every Monday along with his wife. Even to this date, many families fast on Monday and I suggest they question their grandparents to understand how it all begun.
It is impossible to put together every contribution of Lal Bahadur Shastri in few words. For me, Lal Bahadur Shastri was one of the greatest PM India will ever see. His legacy should be told to every Indian Kid. It is very unfortunate that his death was not probed irrespective of the fact that he died under mysterious circumstances and his body turned blue which normally happens while a person is poisoned to death. His wife cried that Shastri was poisoned but her cry fell on deaf ears. It’s time that the Government of Indian declassifies files related to Shastri’s death to understand what really transpires.