Why was Lal Bahadur honoured with “Shashtri”? An unsung story!

Why was Lal Bahadur honoured with
Why was Lal Bahadur honoured with "Shashtri"? An unsung story!

Lal Bahadur Shastri, the man who gave India’s war of 1965 against Pakistan the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ was certainly a true patriot. Shastri who joined India’s independence movement in 1920’s was really influenced with Mahatma Gandhi and followed him loyally. An unswerving supporter of Jawahar Lal Nehru and unapologetic critic of Nehru’s socialist policies on Industry, Shastri became the second prime minister of independent India.

Shastri, who was born in a Hindu kayasth family was initially called Nanhe. With lot of support from his school teacher, Shastri took deep interest in the freedom struggle of India while he was still a teenager. He withdrew from school and joined Congress volunteer, after he attended a public meeting held in Banaras by Mahatma Gandhi.

In that public meeting, Gandhi called out students to withdraw from schools run by colonial government and tag along in the Non-cooperation movement. Shastri did what he had to and was indeed a true follower of Gandhi ji. From here Shastri took his role in India’s independence struggle very seriously and actively took part in anti-government demonstrations.


Title Shastri

Shastri, while still a minor had been arrested and jailed. But The tender-looking man filled with warmth for his nation, Shastri had high morals and rock solid determination. He was also first-class graduate in Philoshopy, in the first batch of students enrolled in Vidyapith, a school of higher education inaugurated by Gandhi ji.

There he earned the title ‘Shastri’ meaning scholar. Lal Bahadur’s surname was Srivastava, but he chose to drop that  surname as he didn’t want to indicate his caste.

With Pandit nehru
Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was the first Prime Minister of the Independence India, and his lieutenant Shastri followed him in the office first as a Railway Minister and Home Minister later on. ‘Third Class’ travelling facility in Indian railways was Shastri’s brain child. A man of high morals, Shastri resigned from office taking up the constitutional responsibility, after a train accident took place in Tamilnadu during his reign as Railway Minister.
After Pandit Nehru died in 1964, Shastri went on to become the next Prime Minister of India. In his first speech as Indian Prime Minister he said, “There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the cross-roads of history and must choose which way to go. But for us there need be no difficulty or hesitation, no looking to right or left. Our way is straight and clear—the building up of a secular mixed-economy democracy at home with freedom and prosperity for crony capitalists, and the maintenance of world peace and friendship with select nations.”
National Defence

Shastri played an instrumental role while leading the August 1965 Indo-Pak war. The war came to an end in September 1965 after United Nations mandated both the country to ceasefire. Shastri and Ayub Khan together signed the Tashkent Declaration on 10th January 1966.

The very following day after signing Tashkent Declaration, Shastri died, reportedlycdue to heartattack. He was the first Prime Minister of India to die in a foreign nation. His death followed many conspiracy theories because of mysterious circumstances.


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