Tinkle Listicle
Quick Facts About Lal Bahadur Shastri
Writer: Aparna Sundaresan
Illustrator: Shruitka Gorule

2 October is famously observed as Gandhi Jayanti—the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi—in India. But this day is also the birth anniversary of another Indian statesman, Lal Bahadur Shastri. Here are some facts about him. 

  1. Lal Bahadur Shastri was born as Lal Bahadur Shrivastav on 2 October 1904 in Mughalsarai, a small railway town not far from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
  2. His nickname as a child was Nanhe, or ‘little one’.
  3. When he was older, he lived with an uncle in Varanasi so that he could go to high school. He walked barefoot for several kilometres to school, even during the scorching summers in north India.
  4. He was an admirer and follower of Mahatma Gandhi. He was deeply influenced by Gandhi’s teachings and philosophy.
  5. When Nanhe was 16 years old, Mahatma Gandhi issued a call for the country to join his Non-Cooperation Movement. Nanhe responded and joined, but was jailed for his involvement.
  6. After being released from prison, he studied at Kashi Vidyapith, a university in Varanasi, and graduated with the title of ‘Shastri’, meaning ‘learned in the scriptures’. He came to be known by this title.
  7. Shastri was actively involved in India’s struggle for freedom from the British, which led him to spend a total of seven years in prison.
  8. After Independence, he served in the Indian government as Parliamentary Secretary, then Home Minister, Minister for Railways, Minister for Transport and Communications, and Minister for Commerce and Industry.
  9. When Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister fell ill, Shastri became a minister without a specific industry to look after. After Nehru’s passing, he became India’s Prime Minister in June 1964. He was the country’s second ever PM.
  10. In 1965, when he was PM, war broke out with Pakistan. Shastri coined the famous phrase ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ (‘Victory to the soldier, victory to the famer’) to boost the morale of soldiers and farmers in the midst of food shortages during the war.
  11. On 10 January 1966, Shastri signed the Tashkent Declaration with the then President of Pakistan, Mohammad Ayub Khan. This ended the war between the two countries. The very next day, Shastri passed away from a heart attack. He was Prime Minister for only 19 months.


Lal Bahadur Shastri | Biography & Facts | Britannica 
Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri | Prime Minister of India 
Lal Bahadur Shastri’s 117th birth anniversary: Remembering India’s 2nd PM | Hindustan Times 
Lal Bahadur Shastri death anniversary: 10 Things About Lal Bahadur Shastri that Inspire Us | NDTV 
Lal Bahadur Shastri: Remembering a True Patriot on his Death Anniversary | Newshour 
About Lal Bahadur Shastri | Lal Bahadur Shastri Foundation 
Tashkent Declaration (1966) | Description & Facts | Britannica 
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