Chennai, India info@chakrafoundation.org +91

Lal Bahadur Shastri

(1904 – 1966) – (Uttar Pradesh)

Lal Bahadur Shastri (Aged 62) was born on 2 October 1904 in Mughalsarai, Uttar Pradesh, India to Sharada Prasad Srivastava and Ramdulari Devi. He served as the second Prime Minister of India and was a prominent statesman. Shastri’s contributions to the country include promoting the White Revolution, a campaign aimed at increasing milk production and supply in India by supporting the Amul milk co-operative of Anand, Gujarat, and creating the National Dairy Development Board. He also supported the Green Revolution in 1965, which led to increased food grain production, especially in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

Shastri left his studies to join the Indian independence movement and worked for the betterment of the Harijans at Muzaffarpur. He dropped his caste-derived surname of “Srivastava” and was influenced by reading about Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi and Annie Besant. He joined the Indian National Congress and held prominent positions in the party. After India gained independence in 1947, he became one of Prime Minister Nehru’s key cabinet colleagues, serving as Railways Minister (1951–56), and then in various other positions, including Home Minister.

He led the country during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, and his slogan “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan” (“Hail to the soldier; Hail to the farmer”) became very popular during the war. The war formally ended with the Tashkent Agreement on 10 January 1966. However, Shastri passed away the following day in Tashkent, and the cause of his death remains disputed. His family was not satisfied with the reported cause of his death, which was a cardiac arrest. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna.

Shastri’s portrait, painted by Vidya Bhushan, hangs in the Central Hall of the Parliament House of India. It was unveiled by the then President of India, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma, on 2 October 1993.