The second Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri entered the political arena for the first time when he became part of the Indian national movement as a young teenager. After being a satyagrahi for long he joined independent India’s government under Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru and succeeded him as Prime Minister on June 9th, 1964. Reputed for his soft spoken nature and clean image, he is said to have practiced severe austerity measures at home before applying them for the country’s benefit.
As we celebrate the birth anniversary of Shastri, here is a collection of ten lesser known facts about the “man of peace”.
Watch Video: Ten lesser known facts about Lal Bahadur Shastri
1. Lal Bahadur got his degree ‘shastri’ while he was studying in Kashi Vidyapeeth university in Varanasi in 1926 as a mark of scholarly success
2. Shastri’s mother had lost Shastri while taking a bath in the Ganges when he was 3 months old. Following an FIR, a cowherd who had no children, unwillingly returned him to his mother
3. As a school boy, Shastri would swim across the Ganges twice a day with his books tied on top of his head. He did not have enough money to take a ferry to school
4. As Minister of police in Uttar Pradesh, Shastri was the first person who used jets of water to disperse crowd instead of a lathi charge
5. On the occasion of his wedding, Shastri took a khadi cloth and a spinning wheel as part of dowry
6. Jawaharlal Nehru had once described Shastri as “half-civilised” because he would frequently appear in a dhoti
7. Shastri’s family was surviving on a pension of Rs. 50 per month, when he was in jail during the freedom struggle. His wife informed him that she saved Rs.10 from that money. Shastri asked the Servants of People’s Society for his pension to be reduced and Rs.10 to be paid to some needy.
8. When his son was given an undue promotion at a department, Shastri had it reversed immediately
9. Shastri had a habit of revising drafts endless number of times. In 1964, he revised his speech for a conference in Cairo so many times that by the time he went to speak it could not be typed in full
10. On the occasion of his birth centenary in 2004, the RBI issued a Rs.100 coin with his portrait on it, commemorating his life. The coin is non-circulating and is available on order alone.