Lal Bahadur Shastri's 116th Birth Anniversary: 10 facts you should know about India's second PM

While the nation celebrates the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, it will be the 116th birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri who was the second person to hold the office of Prime Minister of India.

The second Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, was born on 2nd October 1904. A Nehruvian Socialist and lifelong Congressman, Shastri continues to inspire India's farmers and soldiers as he is the man behind the iconic slogan of "Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan".

Noted by many to be a soft-spoken and humble, Lal Bahadur Shastri was an important figure during the freedom struggle and rose to prominence after Independence. Under the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, he was part of his cabinet and held various portfolios in the Government such as Railway Ministry and Home Ministry to name a few. Shastri became the Prime Minister of India in June 1964 after Jawaharlal Nehru died in while still the PM on May 1964.

Here are some interesting facts about Lal Bahadur Shastri:

1. Shastri is not his real surname. 'Shastri' was the Bachelor's degree awarded to him in Kashi Vidya Peeth in Varanasi. He got the title of "Shastri" after the completion of his graduation at Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi in 1925. The title "Shastri" refers to a person who accomplishes "scholar" in the "Holy Scriptures".

2. He was the lifetime member of the 'Servants of the People Society' also known as Lok Sevak Mandal founded by Lala Lajpat Rai.

3. Shastri, similar to many other pupils of the era, received a crucial portion of the elementary schooling from a maulvi - Budhan Mian. The Muslim cleric taught Shastri Urdu and Persian -- the two languages used as official medium in India before the introduction of English as the compulsory language.

4. Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was Prime Minister during 1965 Indo-Pak war, stopped drawing his salary after India faced food scarcity.

5. Lal Bahadur Shastri gave the slogan 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' at the time of the Indo-China war in 1965 when the country was facing a scarcity of food grains to inspire confidence in soldiers, and to encourage farmers to increase production of food grains.

6. In 1920, Lal Bahadur Shastri joined the Indian Independence Movement. He also participated in the non-cooperation movement. In 1930, he participated in the Salt Satyagraha, for which he was imprisoned for more than two years. He became a loyal follower, first of Gandhi, and then of Jawaharlal Nehru.

7. As a large part of his salary was always donated to various Gandhian causes, thus he used to run his household expenses on a limited budget. Thus, electricity, motor vehicle and official space were used in a very spartan manner.

8. During his time as the Home Minister, he set up the first committee to tackle corruption.

9. In 1928, Shastri officially joined the Congress party. For the next 20 years, he was actively involved in the movement which played the primary role in securing independence from the foreign regime.

10. Shastri died on January 11, 1966 in Uzbekistan's Tashkent, where he signed a peace treaty with the then Pakistan President Ayub Khan. Cardiac arrest is stated as the official reason for his demise.

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Free Press Journal