Finally, the much awaited meeting between Indian and Pakistani PM took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on 29th Sept. 2013 against the backdrop of fresh heartburns in bi-lateral relations in recent weeks due to known reasons.
And as expected, Pakistani media on Monday termed the meeting between Manmohan Singh and Nawaz Sharif as a "minor miracle" and noted that the dialogue held amidst a tense atmosphere yielded "words" but "no action', reported PTI.
Earlier this year, you may recollect, how Pakistani soldiers indulged in a barbaric act of beheading the body of two Indian army personnel. The Central Govt. routinely assured the agitating nation to give a befitting reply to Pakistani establishment, but cross border infiltration and terrorist attacks continued regularly posing a serious threat to the national security. In such moments of crisis, the absence of leaders like Lal Bahadur Shastri is felt with greater intensity by the country.
Yes, today is 109th birth anniversary of country’s second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri who, for more than anything else, is always remembered not only for his heroic leadership as far as teaching the real lesson to the then Pakistani rulers during India- Pakistan war of 1965 is concerned but also for his extraordinary initiatives to make the country stronger in many respects.
Please see how the modest looking Shastriji roared before 1965 war actually begun.
"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 (Hathiyaron ka jawab hathiyaron se denge) and aggression against us will never be allowed to succeed."
And, India won the war very decisively to the great surprise of all the countries of the world including the super powers.
Lal Bahadur Shastri was born on 2nd October, 1904 at Mughalsarai near Varanasi. His father was a school teacher who died when Lal was only one year old. He spent his childhood in and around Varanasi. Lal Bahadur joined Kashi Vidyapeeth and studied philosophy for four years and was awarded the degree of Shastri in 1926.
Thereafter he actively worked for "The Servants of the People Society", an organisation which was started by Lala Lajpat Rai. He participated in freedom movement and was jailed more than once. After the first general election in 1952, he was inducted in union cabinet by Nehru as Minister of Railways and Transport. He did a lot to improve the facilities for passengers travelling in lower class and also rationalised the disparity between 1st class and 3rd class.
Shastriji tendered his resignation as railway minister owning the moral responsibility of a major train accident. In later years, he handled the portfolio as minister of Transport and Communications, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and in 1961 took over charge of Home ministry after the death of Govind Ballabh Pant. Shastriji proved his calibre and competence during those trying times of Indo-China war in 1962 by managing the internal security.
After the sudden demise of Nehru, Lal Bahadur Shastri became the Prime Minister of the country. The time was very critical as the country was facing all kinds of challenges including shortage of food. But, as a man of strong will, dedication, commitment and integrity, he rose to the occasion like a true statesman and made us proud by addressing major issues of the country. Acknowledging and complementing the vital role of farmers and soldiers of the country, he coined the famous slogan JAI JAWAN, JAI KISAN.
His views on some of the important issues as enumerated below give us the opportunity to know and appreciate his perspective and his action oriented personality:
"The basic idea of governance, as I see it, is to hold the society together so that it can develop and march towards certain goals. The task of the Government is to facilitate this evolution, this progress. It must provide proper conditions and a proper climate for this purpose. While governing, the administrator must, therefore, keep certain trends in view. He should be aware of the policies which he has to implement and of the methods which are open to him for their implementation. He should know what the Government wants and at the same time be attuned to the needs of the people".
"The economic issues are most vital for us and it is of the highest importance that we should fight our biggest enemies – Poverty, unemployment. Whether it is agriculture or industrial development, or for that matter, development in other fields, the basic fact remains – that it would serve the largest number of our people".
"In this vast country of ours, people profess different religions, speak different languages, dress differently and observe different customs; but we are one nation; the history of our struggle for independence and our faith in our future development are our common bonds".
"Among the major tasks before us none is of greater importance for our strength and stability than the task of building up the unity and solidarity of our people. Our country has often stood as a solid rock in the face of common danger and there is a deep underlying unity which runs like a golden thread through all our seeming diversity
Truly, if you combine determination, dedication, simplicity, honesty, integrity, sincerity, austerity and nationality, you get a short heighted, but one of the tallest leaders named Lal Bahadur Shastri. India is in dire need to have at least one at this very trying time.
Milan K. Sinha is a freelance writer. He has worked in Banking and Insurance sector for three decades following three years of active writing in various newspapers and magazines. Presently he is engaged in stress management, wellness and awareness activities besides freelance writing.