'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan' And Other Famous Speeches Of Lal Bahadur Shastri On His Birth Anniversary

| October 2 , 2018 , 11:18 IST

We pay tribute to our hero and great leader Lal Bahadur Shastri on his birth anniversary, who is famous for giving India the slogan, 'Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan'. India’s second prime minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, shares his birth anniversary of October 2 with the great Mahatma Gandhi.

Shastri was born in 1904 in Mughalsarai in Uttar Pradesh and served as prime minister for just 18 months. Despite his brief tenure, he has left a memorable imprint on the country as a politician, administrator and war leader.

Shastri placed the country’s interests above everything else. He displayed a broad outlook at a very young age and dropped his caste-based surname when he was in the seventh standard. His progressive attitude came to the fore when he asked for khadi cloth and a spinning wheel as dowry.

Shastri’s love for the motherland was evident when he responded to Mahatma Gandhi’s call to join the Non-Cooperation Movement at the young age of 16.  Before appealing to the countrymen to skip one meal a week in the wake of the foodgrain shortage, he implemented the measure at his house. His appeal had an electrifying impact and many households across the country responded positively to his call.

He was a seasoned freedom fighter who spent a total of 9 years in jail. After independence, he held various ministerial and party positions. Apart from being general secretary of the Congress, he held the railways, transport and commerce portfolios before becoming Union home minister following the death of Govind Ballabh Pant in 1961.

Shastri showed what dignity and integrity in public life are all about. Following a train accident at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu, in which more than 140 people were killed, he resigned as railway minister taking moral responsibility for the incident. Lauding him for his integrity, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru said that he was accepting his resignation because it would set an example in constitutional propriety, although Shastri was in no way responsible for it.

In his first Independence Day speech in 1964, Shastri said: “We can win respect in the world only if we are strong internally and can banish poverty and unemployment from our country. Above all, we need national unity. Communal, provincial and linguistic conflicts weaken the country. Therefore, we have to forge national unity. I appeal to all to work for national unity and usher in a social revolution to make our country strong. In the ultimate analysis, the strength of the country does not lie in its material wealth alone. It requires people like Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rabindranath Tagore. It requires the force of character and moral strength. I appeal to our young men to inculcate discipline in themselves discipline and work for the unity and advancement of the nation”.

During the Indo-Pakistan war in 1965, Shastri gave the undying slogan, “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan,” which continues to inspire every Indian even today. During his prime ministerial life, his vision for self-sufficiency in foodgrains led to sowing the seeds of the Green Revolution, and promotion of the White Revolution. The country owes it to him in no small measure that we are self-sufficient in foodgrains production today.

In his speech at the 83rd death anniversary of Swami Dayanand Saraswati in Delhi on October 24, 1965, he said: “The nation cannot afford to relax. It is difficult to say what the future holds for us. Pakistan had not yet given up her policy of aggression. The duty of the nation is therefore clear. The country’s defences have to be strengthened. The people should spare no efforts to strengthen the defences. Side-by-side, food production has to be increased. Food self-sufficiency is as important as a strong defence system. It was for this reason that I raised the slogan, ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’. The Kisan is as much a soldier as the jawan”.

Former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee also added “Jai Vigyan” to Shastri’s slogan in order to hail achievements of Indian scientists.

The present times require every Indian to simulate the simplicity, humility, humanism, austerity, hard work, dedication and nationalism displayed by the unassuming second prime minister of India. Following his ideals would be a fitting tribute to him on his birth anniversary.