Lal Bahadur Shastri
The wife of a railway minister of India was a very religious woman. She often used to go to Allahabad to take bath at Triveni Sangam.
On every occasion, her husband used to ask her to travel from third class onwards and buy tickets. On returning, the husband used to ask her whether she had done so.
She always answered ‘yes. Yet her husband was not free from suspicion. knew that no matter how high a railway official was, he would never dare to ask his minister’s wife to produce a ticket. He also knew that women have a tendency to save money.
So, once, when his wife left for Allahabad by train, the minister reached there before the car, standing in disguise until the train arrived. He found his wife getting down from the third class compartment and presented her ticket at the gate.
Ten He was completely satisfied. He was a meticulously honest Railway Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who later became the second Prime Minister of India. Lal Bahadur was born on 2 October 1904 in Mughal Sarai, Uttar Pradesh.
Lal Bahadur was born in a poor family. His father Sharda Prasad died when he was only two years old. Therefore, his mother, Lal Bahadur, along with his brother and sister moved to their ancestral home in Mirzapur. Here, his maternal uncle happily took up the responsibility of three orphans.
Lal Bahadur graduated from Kashi Vidyapeeth in 1925 and was awarded the title of ‘Shastri’ for his outstanding performance in Hindi. From his youth, Lal Bahadur felt sad to see the humiliation and suffering of Indians under British rule.
Therefore, he made up his mind to fight for the independence of India. So. He did not accept any job and became a member of the People’s Society of Servants started by Lala Lajpat Rai to serve the poor and fight for freedom.
Lal Bahadur joined active politics under the advice of Purushottam Das Tandon, who was then the vice-president of the society. That year he was elected as a member of the Allahabad Municipal Council, remained as a councilor for seven years, and did a lot of development work for the people of Allahabad. In 1930, Lal Bahadur was elected the President of the Allahabad District Congress Committee and held the post till 1936.
Within this period he made the Congress party very active and well organized. After India’s independence. Lal Bahadur was taken as a cabinet minister and allotted the portfolio of Railways. In 1956 there was a serious train accident in Arielas, South India.
Hundreds of passengers died. Though he was not directly responsible for that accident, Lal Bahadur felt himself morally guilty for the accident and resigned. He was the first Indian minister who set such a great example on the basis of moral values.
Everyone was amazed. Nehru personally requested him to withdraw his resignation. Shastri finally agreed on the condition that he would no longer be in charge of the Railways. So he was given the portfolio of Industry and Commerce.
When Nehru died in May 1964, the problem arose as to who would be his successor. Kamaraj, the then President of the Indian Congress, proposed the name of Lal Bahadur. Everyone else agreed. As Railway Minister Shastri always emphasized on the efficiency of the officers and took keen interest for the comfort of the poor.
It is for him that the third class coaches with electric fans, drinking water taps, and other facilities were provided. As the Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur put the problem of the poor masses above all other problems. He himself led a very simple life. Even when he was the Prime Minister. He had no servant.
His wife Mrs. Lalita used to cook simple food and wash utensils for her husband every day. Lal Bahadur expected similar behavior from his colleagues and top-ranking officials.
He prepared a code of conduct for all the Union and State Ministers under which they were to disclose the complete list of assets held by each of them and also provide clarifications if required. How can he earn it? He also asked them to exercise utmost vigilance
On the conduct and personal life of top-ranking officers. Therefore, corruption in India had reduced significantly during his prime ministership.
It is most unfortunate that he died suddenly on the night of January 10, 1966, when he went to Tashkent to sign a non-aggression pact with Pakistan. It was an unbearable blow and the damage is yet to be done.