October 2, is the 150th birth anniversary of the ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi and celebrations are in full swing with various events being planned but it is also the birth anniversary of another great leader and fighter of the freedom struggle. Along with Mahatma Gandhi, it is the second Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri 116th birth anniversary too.
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Shastri was noted by many to be soft-spoken and humble
Noted by many to be a soft-spoken and humble, Lal Bahadur Shastri was an important figure during the freedom struggle and rose to prominence after Independence. Under the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, he was part of his cabinet and held various portfolios in the Government such as Railway Ministry and Home Ministry to name a few. Shastri became the Prime Minister of India in June 1964 after Jawaharlal Nehru died in while still the PM on May 1964.
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Here are nine interesting facts about Lal Bahadur Shastri:
- He was born on October 2, 1904, as Lal Bahadur Varma who got the title of “Shastri” after his graduation from Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi.
- He was the man behind the iconic slogan 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan'.
- He actively encouraged and promoted the White and Green Revolution movements. To the point that he himself ploughed his lawns in his official residence to set an example.
- Known for his dedication to the people and honesty, he once reversed his son's promotion in a department when he came to know that the decision was unfairly influenced.
- During his time as the Home Minister, he set up the first committee to tackle corruption.
- Kuldeep Nayar, a known journalist; then Press advisor to Shastri Ji recollected in a radio interview that Shastri Ji was so humble that whenever he used to get his monthly salary; they both used to visit a sugar cane juice vendor as Shastri Ji loved to utter- aaj jeb bhari huyi hai ! (Today, my pockets are full).
- As a large part of his salary was always donated to various Gandhian causes, thus he used to run his household expenses on a limited budget. Thus, electricity, motor vehicle and official space were used in a very spartan manner.
- In 1965, the Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadur Shastri bought a Fiat car after taking a loan of ₹5,000 from Punjab National Bank. When his loan was approved early, Shastri told the bank, "The common man should have the same privilege".
- While taking part in the Non-Cooperation movement of Gandhi, he went to jail but was released as he was minor then.
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