Lal Bahadur Shastri, a noted freedom fighter and country's second Prime Minister, was born on October 2, 1904. Incidentally, he shared his date of birth with 'Father of the Nation' Mahatma Gandhi. Shastri's ascent to power in the early political history of independence India remains a story of inspiration. The son of a farmer went onto become the leader who instilled confidence across the nation with his slogan of 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'. On the 116th birth anniversary of Shastri, here are 11 lesser known facts about him. Lal Bahadur Shastri Birth Anniversary: 6 Values Today’s Politicians Can Learn from the Ex-Prime Minister of India.
- When Shasti was born, he was named as Lal Bahadur Shrivastava. The surname was dropped by him amid the prevailing caste system.
- The title of 'Shastri' or scholar was conferred upon him after he graduated from Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi in 1925.
- During the freedom struggle, Shastri was jailed on a number of occasions. He was once released on 15-day parole when his daughter's health condition had deteriorated. When he was released, his daughter succumbed to the disease shortly. Despite days of parole still being left, he decided to return back to the prison.
- When Shastri was in the prison, the People’s Society provided a pension of Rs 50 to his wife. Upon learning from her that she was able to save Rs 10 from the same amount, Shastri wrote to the Society and asked them to slash the pension amount by Rs 10. The depreciated amount should be used for another needy, he had said.
- In 1947, when the first government was formed under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru, Shastri was appointed as the Minister of Police and Transport.
- Among reforms introduced by him as the Minister included the use of water jets instead of lathis to disperse unruly mobs.
- Shastri, during his tenure as the Minister of Transport, approved the appointment of female conductors in government buses.
- After taking over as the Prime Minister in 1965, Shastri emphasised on increasing milk production, and promoted White Revolution. The National Dairy Development Board was formed in the same year.
- According to reports, Shastri's family had asked him to buy a car after he took over as the Prime Minister. The Fiat car that he chose to buy valued Rs 12,000. Since he had only Rs 7,000 in his bank account, he had taken a loan of Rs 5,000 from the Punjab National Bank.
- According to reports, Shastri's son had once used the Chevrolet Impala car that was assigned to him for official use. After learning about the same, he asked the driver how much distance his son had travelled using the car, and decided to deposit an equivalent commutation cost in the government account.
- In 1966, Shastri became the first person to be posthumously awarded the the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian honour.
Tragically, the nation suffered a shock on January 11, 1966, when Shastri died in Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan. The death was reported a day after he signed a peace agreement with the Pakistani counterpart to end the Indo-Pak war.