Lal Bahadur Shastri Essay in English
The most honest and sincere leader, the one who was affectionately called ‘Nanhe’ and the one who believed in the slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” is none other than Lal Bahadur Shastri. He was a prominent leader our nation has ever known.
Early Life of Lal Bahadur Shastri
He was born on 2nd October 1904 at Mughalsaria in Varanasi district to Sharada Prasad and Ramdulari Devi. He belonged to an agriculturist’s family where his parents were poor but honest and dedicated. His father was a school teacher who did no earn much and died when Lal Bahadur was one year old.
His mother was devastated because now she was left alone with Bahadur and his two sisters, but luckily her father Hazari Lal took them under his wing, and they were brought up by him. He took good care of children and provided warmth and affection to them. He grew fond of Bahadur eventually and named him ‘Nanhe’. Bahadur always wore dhoti.
Since childhood, he was a good student and had a sense of responsibility. He always wore dhoti. He was aware of his financial status and therefore, never demanded anything. One day when he was six years old, he went to an orchard with his friends.
He did not climb the tree but plucked one flower from a bush. The orchardist came in the meantime and saw Bahadur with the flower. All his friends climbed down and ran away, but Bahadur stood still.
He was caught and beaten; he cried and told him that he is an orphan. On hearing this, the orchardist said because you are an orphan, you must learn to behave well. This incident had a significant impact on Bahadur’s life.
The words of orchardist kept on hitting him hard and so he decided and swore himself that he would manifest appropriate behaviour in future. Since then, he believed in righteousness and integrity.
Education and Marriage
He studied in a local school in Mughalsaria until the sixth standard. After this, he moved to Varanasi along with his family and enrolled in Harish Chandra High School and finished his schooling. He received the title of ‘Shastri’ when he completed his graduation from Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi in the year 1926. Courage and self-respect were his two crucial virtue.
He got married to Lalita Devi who was from Mirzapur on 16th May 1928. They lived in Allahabad for many years and later moved to New Delhi. They had with four sons and two daughters named, Kusum, Hari, Krishna, Anil, Suman, Sunil and Ashok. When Shastriji was arrested, she took good care of the children and the house.
Adherer to Gandhi’s Principles
Shastriji shared more than a common date of birth with Mahatma Gandhi. He was drawn towards the freedom struggle since his childhood. He admired Gandhiji’s simplicity, leadership and bravery. In 1921, when he was in 10th standard, he attended a public meeting in Benaras hosted by Gandhiji and Madan Mohan Malviyaji.
He was so inspired and moved by his speech that he left his school and heeded Bapu’s call to join the freedom struggle and became an active member of the congress by attending anti-government demonstrations and picketing.
Later he worked for the betterment of Harijan’s under Gandhiji’s tutelage. Mahatma Gandhi believed in Shastriji’s efforts and placed confidence in him. He gave him many vital responsibilities which he carried out effectively.
Contribution in Freedom Movement
Shastriji was a stalwart who opposed the British at every step. He considered prison his second home and fought fearlessly. He gave up his family over freedom. His daughter’s death, son’s illness and poverty, nothing made him deviate from his chosen path. He actively participated in ‘Salt Satyagraha’ started by Gandhiji and took a leading role in it.
He carried activities like informing the masses not to pay land revenue and taxes. He was jailed several times, but he did not care and kept on marching ahead with zeal and enthusiasm for getting Independence. He was determined and adamant to free India of the foreign tyranny.
While in prison he utilized his time in the pursuit of his literary interests and even translated Madame Curie’s biography in Hindi. Apart from this he also studied books of various other revolutionaries, reformers and foreign thinkers.
In 1947, finally, all the hard work of freedom fighters paid off, and India got Independence. Shastriji was made the Transport and Home Minister. Govind Vallabh Pant was appointed the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh. In his speech, he praised Shastriji by saying that he did not witness a more likeable, hardworking, reliable and trustworthy man. As a transport minister, he brought discipline in the mobility of public transport, and he was the first person to appoint women conductors.
Later he was appointed as the Railway and Transport Minister. In his endeavour, he implemented changes in the railway where were damaged due to partition of India. The old compartment system was withdrawn, and a new system was introduced to eliminate the disparity between rich and poor. He only made the first and second class and provided facilities to the third class that even exists today.
When Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru passed away, he became Prime Minister. Despite the important position, he led a simple life and called himself an ordinary man and not a bright man. He never misused the power his position accorded him and followed simplicity.
He was a person of strong will and robust energy. He never winced from the challenges and accepted them valiantly. Though he was of short height, he often made jokes of his stature and was loved by all because of his sweet nature. During the Indo-Pakistan war, he took firm control and instructed the soldiers to go forth and strike. The Indian Army was honoured to have a leader who fought bravely and heroically.
Shastriji was battered mentally and physically due to the strain during the war. Sadly he passed away due to heart attack on 10th January 1966 and was conferred upon with ‘Bharat Ratna’ posthumously for his constructive role. India lost the man who was the epitome of a plain and basic lifestyle. He never had a thirst for fame and luxury but a vision to free India and bring revolution in the nation.