Shastri was born on October 2, 1904, 35 years after Gandhi, in Mughalsarai (Uttar Pradesh). He is primarily renowned for his slogan, “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan.”
He died on 11 January 1966 in the then USSR’s Tashkent due to heart failure. However, but his death has always been shrouded with mystery.
As PM, Shastri helped resurrect the nation after its defeat against China in the 1962 war.
Here are some other interesting facts about his life and legacy:
1. Lal Bahadur got the title ‘Shastri’ in Kashi Vidyapeeth university after graduating from there in 1925 as a mark of scholarly success.
2. Shastri used to easily cross the Ganga river, several times daily, with a bag and cloth on his head during his school days.
3. As the Minister of Police and Transport Control in Uttar Pradesh, Shastri was the first person who used jets of water to disperse crowds instead of a lathi charge. During his tenure as the Transport Minister, he took the initiative of appointing women as conductors.
4. He integrated the idea of White Revolution, a national campaign to increase the production and supply of milk, by supporting the Amul milk co-operative of Anand, Gujarat, and creating the National Dairy Development Board in 1965.
5. Shastri also promoted the Green Revolution to boost demand and propel India’s food production.
6. During his time as the Home Minister, he set up the first committee to tackle corruption.
7. When his son received an undue promotion at his job, it irked Shastri and he immediately released an order to reverse the promotion.
8. After the war with Pakistan in 1965, there was a severe drought in the country. To emerge from these conditions, Shastri requested the countrymen to fast for a day and gave us the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’.
9. A car loan of Rs 5,000 taken by Shastri from the Punjab National bank was repaid after his sudden death by widow Lalita from her pension.
10. He was the first posthumous awardee of the Bharat Ratna, which is India’s highest civilian award.