Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan Shastriji - Let Us Never Forget him!


I had always admired our second Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastriji... since my school days.  I had already written about him, long back.  Let me remind you and myself those portions about Shastriji: 

'Our generations' patriotism came out when Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri became Prime Minister of our country (1964-66) and he is one of the best Prime Minister we had and most of us became familiar with him when we did not have TV or reading newspaper was not a day-to-day habit for children, in those days. During the war with Pakistan, Shastriji asked us to skip one meal a day at least once a week and our whole school children skipped Monday night dinner. It was unanimous.' He said, 'If one person skips one meal a day, another might get his only meal a day'.  I think I followed it until I started working! 

When the war with Pakistan was going on, our country was facing food scarcity.  To encourage the farmers to produce more and praise the soldiers who were in the war front, Shastriji introduced the slogan 'Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan'.  I remember reciting this slogan after our morning prayers in school and after saying the National Pledge.  The pledge is in my earlier post here. I think those days' influence is still there in me.  I get goose bumps whenever I hear 'Vande Mataram' or 'Jana Gana Mana', which has become very rare now.  My children don't get emotional or stand up when they hear 'Jana gana mana'. Sometimes they stand up glaring at me! But the patriotism will come out when we get into trouble, I think, e.g. Kargil war.  People talked about it and donations were pouring from everywhere for helping the soldiers.

Though Shastriji looked like a soft person, he had the inner strength to steer our country through the war period.  Nobody would have taken the step to declare war against Pakistan. And he became our Prime Minister after the charismatic Nehruji. Still he was respected by the world leaders.  He came from a middle class family which might be the reason for his honesty, integrity and humility.  He was always a down to earth person.  He was very close to his mother till the end.

Have a look at this video of  the Peace Treaty meeting at Tashkent after the 1965 war with Pakistan.  He looks so timid and baby-like in front of the Russian leaders who are huge in body structure! I like his smiling face:

After his mysterious death at Tashkent, a memorial was set up in his name.  The inscription on it was 'Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan'.

You can read more about him here, in the wikipedia link. It says that Shastriji was born in Mughal Sarai in Chandauli district of the United Provinces, British India, in British ruled India in 1904, Oct.2nd.  Reading the word British India is not a good feeling!

He lost his father when he was an year old.  His mother brought up the children - he had two sisters. He graduated from Kashi Vidhyapeeth in 1926 and their graduation degree was 'Shastri'! He removed his caste name 'Srivastava' because he hated casteism.  He always said that India is the only place where all religions are treated equally. Though we see some perverts here and there now.

I feel that he is not given due respect/importance for what he has done to our country.  Today is Gandhi Jayanthi (I am a great fan of Gandhiji also).  Shastriji also was born today.  Very rarely we hear his name anywhere. Thank god, he was honoured with Bharath Rathna atleast.   One more person - great national leader, is another ex Prime Minister, Narasimha Rao.  He is also not given the importance he deserves. I remember another name, Vallabh Bhai Patel! How many of us know about him?

Let us remember the true national leaders on these days, like Republic Day, Independence day, their birth days, etc. The current leaders should keep aside their egos when national interest is concerned.



P.S.: Would we or our children skip a meal because our P.M. asked us to, when our country is in danger? We don't have a P.M. like Shastriji who is himself a sincere person.  Other leaders like Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Narendra Modi...is it possible to count on them to be 'leaders'? Even Anna Hazare has lost his charishma.  What is your opinion?

Picture courtesy: Google


Ramakrishnan said...

Thank you Sandhya for reminding us about Sastri. The size of a "pygmy", the temperament of a lamb & the heart of a lion. A selfless Indian and a passionate Patriot.The likes of him is an extinct species now. Unfortunate he died at Tashkent - it is rumoured that the Pakistanis poisoned his food.
I was in high school when Sastri ascended the PM's chair.

Sandhya said...

R.RAMAKRISHNAN: We will never come across a person/leader like him in the future. Actually, we don't have a 'leader' at all, now!

Yes, I have read many articles about his death.

I was also in high school during that time! We used to hear news in the radio every half an hour. All of us used to sit silently and hear it.

Swaram said...

Very nice post Sandhya. Very very few ppl know that Shastriji was born on Oct 2nd too. Kudos to him!

Anonymous said...

very true mami... tried teaching my son abt shastri and he looked very bored thru my talk ... dont know how to instil the pride of being an Indian :(


ashok said...

great Indian...

R. Ramesh said...

great man gr8 post sandhyaji

SG said...

Mr. Shastri was a great leader. Also, a very honest person. Nowadays, we cannot see a leader like him.

Roshmi Sinha said...

Thank you for this post Sandhyaji!

I am no fan of that false saint. Sadly, today we are leaderless and rudderless.

Jai Jawaan, Jai Kisaan!

Sandhya said...

SWARAM: I read one tweet of Rajdeep about Shastriji. No other news. Half page ad was there from some Ministry about Gandhiji. Nothing for Shastriji. Feel sad.

ANONYMUS(!): He is too small to understand these things, Sandhya. Give him some time.

ASHOK: Yes, Ashok!

RAMESH: Yes, he is a great man, Ramesh!

SG: We will never see a leader like him in the future. All our leaders are contaminated.

ROSHMI SINHA: I agree 100% with you...we are rudderless now. Every small/big leader is selfish. Shastriji is one of a kind.

Destination Infinity said...

I don't know why you hold some respect for Nehru (Charismatic?). Perhaps he would have done better as a Cinema hero?

I absolutely respect people like Lal Bahadur Shastri, Moraji Desai, Vallabbhai Patel, Bhagat Singh, Netaji, P V Narasimha Rao and A B Vajpayee. These are the people who make India proud.

Even in these hopeless times, we have one Anna Hazare. Which is good, actually!

Destination Infinity

Kavita Saharia said...

I have always admired Shastriji, read many stories about him in my school days.Sad a country obssessed with Aishwarya'a weight and Sunny Leone's movie debut completely forgets to remember this great national hero's birthday.

Renu said...

Its really sad that people dont rememebr him as much as they should. Now its rare to find such a person..so simple, down to earth and honest..they dont make like them anymore..

Sandhya said...

DESTINATION INFINITY: I said 'charismatic', not respectable or capable. Vallabh bhai Patel should have become our first Prime Minister. Kashmir would have been saved. But one thing, he died early in 1950. He was the Dy.P.M.

Nehru, Cinema Hero? Good imagination, D.I.!

I don't know much about Morarji Desai, don't know why?! I respect all the others you have mentioned, even Vajpayee who was sincere in what he was doing inspite of pressures from his own party people.

Anna Hazare is good, but the surrounding people?

KAVITA SAHARIA: Hahaha, yes, you are right Kavita. Our country is obsessed with Aishwarya's weight gain and Kareena's conversion into a muslim!

I remember reading about him in my school book too, but my children didn't have a lesson about him!

RENU: Yes, we don't have anybody in the vicinity who is remotely like him. Current politicians do not know the spelling of patriotism!

Bhagyashree said...

My son came home on 1st saying that amma tomorrow is Gandhiji's birthday. I told him that it is Shastriji's birthday too. I told him about Shastriji and how though small in stature, he achieved great heights by his principles.
He was wide eyed. I hope he learnt his lesson.

Bikram said...

my opinion is that ALL khadi wearing leaders are the SAME.. one of two can be sincere but the rest are all doing what they do best , cheating and looting the nation ..
and we have all seen what ANNA and the people in his party have been upto ..

I dont think i will ever beleive in the khadi wearing brigade , I beleive in Gadar party and that the time is to bring the bhagat singhs out , and make a change in our nation


Sandhya said...

BHAGYASHREE: He must be too small for understanding these things, don't you think so? The school books should have lessons on him too like we had about Gandhiji.

BIKRAMJIT SINGH: Shastriji was a unique person. He never behaved like a politician, Bikram.

Yes, we need a good leader to cleanse the country. Anna is surrounded by selfish people.

BK Chowla, said...

History will never forgive us for forgetting this gem the way we have.We don't deserve lies of him

S. Susan Deborah said...

Glad to see this post. Somehow Gandhi hogs all the limelight and only a few would remember Shastri's birthday and his contribution to our country. His face itself speaks about his simplicity, humility and strength of character.

Joy always,

Sandhya said...

BK CHOWLA: We forget people who are sincere and this is the reason no good person comes into politics.

SUSAN DEBORAH: I love this photograph of his! His inner beauty is visible clearly!

Zephyr said...

Shastriji was born with the wrong surname and so is forgotten, Sandhya. That is the bitter truth and nothing will change it. I remember those ration days too. And the saturday evening upvas to save food for the jawans!

Krishna/കൃഷ്ണ said...

Great post and our great pm


Rahul Bhatia said...

Sandhya this was a very noble post and stands out! Can you believe that I still fast every Monday ever since I started working as a tribute to him as my parents followed what LBS said!

Sandhya said...

ZEPHYR: I didn't know that his surname was Srivatsava. Whatever his caste was, he became our Prime Minister and was the best one!

KRISHNA: Yes, Krishna!

RAHUL BHATIA: Great! I don't remember when and why I stopped fasting on Mondays. I too should have continued. He was the Best Prime Minister we ever had. No other leader will get the respect he got in his tenure. It is unfortunate that nobody remembers him now.

sm said...

shastriji was and is the no.1 pm India got
nice post

Zephyr said...

I didn't refer to his caste at all.

What I meant was that he was not born with the surname of Gandhi, which would have made him the beloved of the country. Look at all those with that surname!

Sandhya said...

SM: Thank you, SM! Yes, he was the best PM we ever had!

ZEPHYR: Sorry! What you say is right. The surname of Gandhi would have taken him places. Most of the current generation doesn't know about the war with Pakistan and we won it, which was not easy.

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