Answer by Aarush Nandal:
Shiri Lal Bahdur Shastri
"If Pakistan has any ideas of annexing any part of our territories by force, she should think afresh. I want to state categorically that force will be met with force and aggression against us will never be allowed to succeed."
The simple man who died a mysterious, unknown death.
He was the railway minister under Jawaharlal Nehru’s tenure. He resigned under moral responsibility when a train accident took place at Mahbubnagar.
He took a loan from the government to buy a car and when he died some installments were still left.
When Pakistan army crossed the International border with 100 battle tanks, Shastri surprised everybody by taking the challenge upfront and asked his army chief to retaliate with full force. During the independence day speech, he said “Hathiyaron ka jawab hathiyaron se dange. Hamara desh rahega to hamara tiranga rahega (Weapons will be replied with weapons. Our national tricolor flag will survive only if our nation survives).
This was a great morale booster for the whole of India and he also further played a great role in motivating the army (which was morally depressed after the humiliating defeat by China in 1962). The way in which he led the war to victory made him an overnight hero in India and it left Pakistan trembling for the next few years.
Around the same time, Shastri had begun to observe a revolutionary movement in a village in Gujarat in the form of milk cooperatives while Amul was still in infancy. He personally invited Kurien, who was the General Manager at Amul & was leading the milk revolution in Gujarat, and requested him to replicate it across India as well and ensured him full support. This triggered the White Revolution (also called “Operation Flood”)
The next major challenge was that of food crisis. India was facing a severe drought situation in 1965 & literally “begging” for grains from USA. This was the time when Shastri took up the challenge upfront & created large teams of agricultural scientists & motivated them to come up with solutions. In the meantime, Shastri gave up one meal every day so that it could be given to the needy and motivated his countrymen also to do the same. For long term solution, had personally identified M.S.Swaminathan’s pioneering work in agriculture & requested him to head the team and ensured him full support. This triggered the Green Revolution which made India self sufficient in grains within a decade!!
Shastri ji was in power for just 17 months, the kind of work and inspiration he instilled among Indians could not have been possible by any other PM even if they were given 17 years. He was truly “Farmer’s PM”, deserves to be called the architect of self-sufficient India and is the epitome of ethics, integrity, honesty, hard-work, simplicity & austerity.
Credits – Mr. Guruparsad