Legacy of the Makers of Modern INDIA: Lal Bahadur Shastri

Lal Bahadur Shastri was ‘apparently’* the second Prime Minister of the Republic of India. A Gandhian by ideals, he was an honest and simple personality.

In this post, some light will be thrown on the considerable contribution and thoughts. beliefs and principles of this jewel of the independent INDIA.

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  • Was an active part of the national movement. He served as a young Satyagrahi beginning from 1921 till independence.
  • An ardent follower of Gandhian policies and philosophy of Gandhiji.
  • Worked for the upliftment of Harijans as a part of the Servants of India Society(of Gokhale) and also as a Gandhian Satyagrahi(Gandhi Ji upheld truce between mass movements to serve and include the Harijans).
  • Spent around 9 years in jail during independence activism.

Post-independent India:

The major political role of Shastri Ji began after the independence of India in 1947. The following shows the roles played by Shastri Ji in various spheres.

  • Political sphere:
    • Served as the Railway Minister under the Nehru cabinet. Resigned from the cabinet after a railway accident. This depicted the sense of moral responsibility and accountability imbibed in him.
    • He was a near unanimous choice for the role of Prime Minister after the demise of Pandit Nehru.
    • His decision making was a perfect combination of idealism and realism.
  • Economic Sphere:
    • White Revolution took place under his term–> supported the initiatives of Amul Co-operative society and facilitated setting up of the National Dairy Development Board.
    • In 1960s, India was suffering from food shortages. Here, Shastri invoked his idealist policy and urged the citizens to give up one meal of the day. Reduced demand of food could  per facilitate pita availability of food to masses. Hailed as “Shastri Vrta“, it had a considerable impact in short-term.
    • Promoted the Green Revolution(which was intended to make India self-sufficient on food production).
    • Food Corporation of India was setup under his term.
    • Believed in ending License Raj(a socialist policy).
  • Foreign Policy:
    • The policy of Non-alignment in a more realistic manner–> built up ties with the Soviet Union.
    • Enhanced the defence budget looking at the increasing enmity against India amongst the neighbours.
    • Highlight: War with Pakistan in the year 1965 –> gave Indian forces a free hand–> Indian forces aggressively occupied a major area of Pakistan–>a war in favor of India–> ended with an agreement at Tashkent to restore status quo.
  • Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan:
    • This was the highlight of all his actions and policies.
    • Jai Jawan: Hail the soldier–>particularly relevant to 1965 war.
    • Jai Kisan: Hail the farmer–> 1960s –> famines and food shortages–> farmer had to play a key role in sufficing the food needs.

Lal Bahadur Shastri is considered to be one of the very important cogs in the wheel that is called INDIA. His contribution in the economic(in particular agriculture) and foreign policy spheres is still relevant and acclaimed by the people from all walks.

*Gulzari Lal Nanda, though, was the acting PM for the hiatus period between Nehru and Shastri, but generally Shastri is considered to be the apparent second PM.



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