Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lal Bahadur Shastri

About 32 years ago, the second Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, passed away, but his life story continues to interest people. He lived a life of honesty and service to his countrymen and had become a legend in his own time. Many people had often wondered if Lal Bahadur Shastri could become the Prime minister of India. To many he was an enigma. He was one of the most astute and non-offending politician in the country. Everybody wondered how this diminutive man could rise to such eminence.
Lal Bahadur Shastri had a humble beginning in life, and remained a poor man for about 40 years. He did not have a good university education and physically too he was not particularly striking. Yet he rose to the highest position in the country. He was by no chance a scholar, but he had read the book of life thoroughly well. He was neither a powerful speaker nor an eminent writer, his knowledge of international affairs was limited but he knew his country well and understood its problems. Shastri lacked glamour, but had plenty of goodness in him. He was craftsman of compromise. He had a technique of his own which very few people understood. He tackled difficult problems with understanding and ability. During the conflict with Pakistan, he showed unusual poise and strength.
The best thing about him was that he was never in hurry to achieve fame. He had great poise and a very strong will. Seeing his modesty, the people did not believe that this tiny figure concealed a lot of determination. He was a devoted and dedicated worker. He was always willing to make sacrifices and never eager to get material gains. During the Quit India Movement, Shastri did remarkable work.
Shastri was profoundly meek and proved the Biblical saying that “the meek shall inherit the earth”. He became the Prime Minister of the world’s biggest democracy when senior leaders were available in the Congress. He had, “patience and perseverance which are monumental enough to move mountains.” Nehru trusted him completely and once said, “No one can wish for a better colleague in any undertaking. A man of the highest integrity, loyalty, devoted to ideals, a man of conscience and a man of hard work.”
He had great sympathy for the lowly and the lost, Shastri rose to great eminence by dint of sheer merit, hard work and integrity. He was at the height of his success when he died. The career of many statesmen in history have ended in failure for one reason or another. It was not so with Shastri. His life drama ended in a blaze of glory.

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