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Ethical Values from the Life of Lal Bahadur Shastri

  • 04 Oct 2022
  • 3 min read

For Mains: Ethical Values from the Life of Lal Bahadur Shastri

    Why in News?

    In 2nd October, India celebrates the 118th birth anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the nation’s second Prime Minister.

    How can we Learn from Shastri's Life?

    • Against the Caste System:
      • Lal Bahadur Shrivastava was the son of Ramdulari Devi and Sharada Prasad Shrivastava. However, being against the prevailing caste system, he decided to drop his surname.
      • The title ‘Shastri’ was given after he completed his graduation at Kashi Vidyapeeth, Varanasi in 1925.
      • The title ‘Shastri’ refers to a ‘scholar’ or a person, adept in the holy scriptures. Shastri in this way showed a broad outlook at a very young age.
    • Taking Responsibilities during Adverse Times:
      • He was one of the giants in public life, who always took the country’s myriad responsibilities on his shoulders.
      • In adverse situations, too, he came forward, held himself accountable, and demonstrated the qualities of a true leader.
      • He served as the Railway Minister in Jawaharlal Nehru’s Cabinet and was so conscientious that he resigned following a train accident at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu in 1956.
      • His gesture was hailed by all including Nehru, whom he considered as his “hero”.
    • Inseparable Public and Private Life:
      • In 1965, India was embroiled in war with Pakistan and the country was facing acute food shortage.
        • There was added pressure with the United States threatening to cut supplies.
      • Faced with the crisis, Lal Bahadur Shastri announced to his family one evening that for the next few days they would all give up on their evening meal.
    • Morality:
      • It is said that he had a Chevrolet Impala car for official use, which his son once used for a drive.
        • When Shastri learned about it, he asked his driver to check the distance the car was used for and later deposited the money in the government account.

    What Makes Shastri's Values Relevant Today?

    • Indians should emulate the simplicity, humility, humanism, austerity, hard work, dedication, and nationalism displayed by the unassuming second prime minister of India today.
    • Shastri's maiden Independence Day speech in 1964 is as relevant today as it was then, as he emphasized character and moral strength, which has acquired special significance as we witness all-round degeneration of values.


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