Lal Bahadur Shastri: An Idol of a Leader
Almost every city in India has statues of political leaders, with Bapu Gandhi taking the lead in the same, closely followed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi. So I was pleasantly surprised to find a statue of a true son of the soil and 2nd Prime Minister of India Shree Lal Bahadur Shastri in outskirts of Varanasi, very close to Ramnagar Fort. The statue still had a few withered marigold garlands from some function some weeks back, perhaps from his birth anniversary.
Later I did some research and found that Shashtri jee had a long association with Benaras, he was born in Ramnagar ( now almost a suburb of Benaras), studied in Mugalsarai and Benaras, he got his degree of Shastri from Kashi Vidyapeeth. This degree of Shashtri ( literal meaning Scholar), stuck to his name and everybody started calling him Lal Bahadur Shastri. The name was also adopted by his kids and became formal last name of his family members.
Incidentally, Shastri jee shared his birthday with Mahatma Gandhi on 2nd October and today 11 January is his death anniversary. I thought of writing this post as a tribute to the true son of the soil and honest leader. There is not even a single leader in any political party today who has the leadership qualities, honesty, integrity and humility that Shastri jee personified. He was the leader who gave us the slogan
“Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”
The slogan given during the Indo-Pak war of 1965, in essence, cheers for our soldiers who protect our borders, and cheers for our farmers who produce food for our people. Just like the leader who gave us this slogan, we have also forgotten our farmers and our soldiers, what with hundreds of farmers committing suicides every year and our soldiers being the last on any politicians list as they rarely get a chance to vote. I do hope and pray that we have more leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri in India, who will work for the people of this country. Fortunately, Varanasi has not forgotten her son and not just this statue, the city has also named its airport as Lal Bahadur Shastri International Airport ( code: VNS).
Do you know of any other statue of Lal Bahadur Shastri anywhere else in India? If so please share in the comments section.