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We observed the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on 2nd October. Indeed Mahatma was "one man army" who made the British empire yield and obtained freedom for India.It is believed that Mahatma is most "read about" and "talked about" person in the contemporary world.

However, the importance of 2nd October remains incomplete if we do not remember another great son of India - Lal Bahadur Shastri, who was born on the same date.

In my humble way, I would like to pay my tributes to Shastri ji by recalling a few facts of his life -

* His parents were quite poor. During his school days, LBS used to go across river Ganga ( near Varanasi ) to attend his classes. He did not have enough money to pay for boat,hence, he used to swim across, keeping the bag of books on his head.

* When he was Minister of Railways, a major train accident took place.Shastri ji owned up the moral responsibility and resigned.Despite requests for reconsideration from Pt JL Nehru, he did not budge.

* When he was Minister without portfolio, Nehru ji asked him to go to Kashmir, on the issue of holy relics. It was peak winter and Shastri ji did not have enough woolen clothes. Pt Nehru gave his own overcoat to Shastri ji.

* When Shastri ji was Prime Minister,India faced shortage of foodgrains. He appealed to all the Indians to skip evening meals every Monday. Such was the magic of his appeal that all restaurants, bakeries etc used to remain closed on Monday evenings in most cities.

* When he was Prime Minister, Shastri ji took loan to buy an Ambassador Car for his personal use. When he died, some part of the loan was still outstanding.

* It is still a mystery as to how Shastri ji died suddenly when he was attending Indo-Pak summit in Tashkent ( erstwhile USSR ). It is to the honour of this pint sized titan that the President Ayub Khan of Pakistan and Prime Minister Alexie Kosygin of USSR volunteered to be the pall-bearers of the mortal remains of Shastri ji when it was being taken out of the venue of summit meet.

My purpose of writing this mail is two fold -

* To remind all of us about this great man , Lal Bahadur Shastri

* To let the younger generation feel proud of being in the same country where such great men were born.

From India, Hyderabad
Hi Kiran,
Thanks for your wonderful posting. Yes! indeed it is ironical that everybody remembers Mahatma Gandhiji on 2nd October and there will be a small mention about Lal Bahadhur Shastriji! No doubt Mahatma Gandhi is a great son of India but Shastriji is no small man either! There may be few people even now who accuses Gandhiji for being instrumental in the evolution of Pakistan but there is nobody who say anything about Shastriji! I still remember, being a school child, when I heard his death at Tashkent, I wept! He is really a role model!

From India, Bangalore
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