Remembering Lal Bahadur Shastri: Interesting facts about India's former PM

As the nation remembers second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri on his death anniversary, we look at some of the interesting facts of the man of a great courage and will

Birthday special: Interesting facts about Lal Bahadur Shastri
Andre Malraux (L), French novelist, adventurer, art historian and minister for cultural affairs for 11 years (in 1958-69), confers 09 August 1965 in New Delhi with India's Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Pic/AFP

>> Lal Bahadur Shastri was born in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh to Sharada Prasad and Ramdulari Devi. His father Sharda Prasad was a clerk in the Revenue Office of Allahbad but died due to bubonic plague when Shastri was only a year old. He was raised along with his two sisters by his mother.

>> Shastri's birth name was Lal Bahadur Srivastava. In 1917, aged 12, he decided to drop his caste-derived surname of 'Srivastava'.

>> He studied at the East Central Railway Inter College in Varanasi and later graduated from Kashi Vidyapeeth in 1926 where he was given the title of Shashtri (scholar).

>> Shastri married Lalita Devi from Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh in 1928. He had six children with her—Kusum, Hari Krishna, Suman, Anil, Sunil and Ashok.

>> Lal Bahadur Shastri was elected the Prime Minister of India in 1964. Under his tenure as the Prime Minister, Shastri lead the country during India-Pakistan war in 1965 and it was during this war that he coined the slogan 'Jai Jawan Jai Kishan'. It soon began the national slogan.

>> Shastri dealt with many basic problems during his tenure in various ministries - food shortage, unemployment and poverty. To overcome the acute food shortage, he devised a long-term strategy - 'Green Revolution'. Apart from the Green Revolution, he also helped in promoting the White Revolution.

>> The National Dairy Development Board was formed in 1965 during Shastri reign as Prime Minister.

>> Varanasi International Airport is named after him.

>> Prime Minister Shastri died in Tashkent, on the day after signing the Tashkent Declaration, reportedly due to a heart attack. However, his death was surrounded by controversies where people allege conspiracy. He was the first Prime Minister of India to die overseas. He was eulogised as a national hero and the Vijay Ghat memorial was established in his memory.

>> Lal Bahadur Shastri was the first person to be posthumously awarded India's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna.



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