While we were in our schools, we were taught about our freedom fighters, who fought to free the nation from the British rule. A few of them took charge of the nation after Independence and worked towards making India filled with communal harmony and free of poverty. While coming across various names, one man who is known for dedication, ethics, honesty, integrity, responsibility, and austerity is Lal Bahadur Shastri, who took the chair of Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru.
Unfortunately, the man of such calibre took his last breath in foreign soil, Tashkent in 1966. Shastri was known to be a diligent person who never compromised on his responsibility. Let it be in flight or office he never let a minute go by without thinking about the betterment of this country. Well, it is hard to imagine such a picture while we are living in an era where the politicians are busy in mudslinging at each other and being opportunists.
Integrity and Responsibility
When it comes to integrity and responsibility, one fine incident can clear all the doubts. In the 1950s there was a major railway accident that took place. Shastri who was railway minister back in the time, after getting to know about this, took all the blame on his own and gave resignation from the post. However, Nehru did not accept it. This exhibits the moral standards that he maintained throughout his life.
Honesty and Ethics
Shastri was a man of his word. Shastri was jailed by the British during the freedom struggle. While he was in jail, he got to know his daughter was sick. He asked for 15 days permission for leave to look after his daughter. He was permitted on a condition that he would not join the freedom struggle movement. Sadly, when he reached home, his daughter had died. He took three days to complete her funeral, and he immediately returned to the jail. He had 12 days, but he chose not to differ from his ideology.
Another such incident happened. One day Shastri, still in jail was informed that his son was sick. This time he was granted seven days leave from prison. He stayed with his son throughout these seven days and returned to jail as promised.
An Austere Man
It will not be wrong to say that Shastri was a minimalist. He is popularly known as “The politician who made no money”. Shastri, who was born in a low-income family. Throughout his life, he followed simplicity and austerity. He never bothered to take advantage of his post. For instance, even after becoming the Prime Minister he did not own a car for a long time. His family members kept on pestering.
He finally asked his secretary to find out the cost of a Fiat. The price was found out to be Rs 12,000, but at that time he only had Rs 7,000. He took a loan of Rs 5,000 from the Punjab National Bank to buy the car. His loan was approved immediately, to which he told the bank that common man should also have the same privilege. After his death, his wife paid every Rupee of the Rs 5,000 to the bank. The car is still parked at his home.
The Logical Indian salutes a man of such dignity and honesty. His work will forever live among us.