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"The life of Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-66), India's second prime minister and successor to Jawaharlal Nehru, is the saga of a little man who, while suffering the rigours of poverty in early life, rose to political eminence on the strength of moral principle. When Shastri died, he left no house, no land, and no money. But he did leave behind an example which is morally insp "The life of Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-66), India's second prime minister and successor to Jawaharlal Nehru, is the saga of a little man who, while suffering the rigours of poverty in early life, rose to political eminence on the strength of moral principle. When Shastri died, he left no house, no land, and no money. But he did leave behind an example which is morally inspiring. In an age riddled with political corruption, his career of exemplary integrity possesses a special relevance for readers in contemporary India as well as abroad." "Although Shastri's tenure as Prime Minister lasted only nineteen months, it was a period of high excitement and drama. Under Shastri's leadership India successfully fought a major war against Pakistan. The Indo-Pak war was followed by successful peace negotiations between the two countries at the famous Tashkent Conference, where, with the ink scarcely dry after all the momentous signatures, Shastri dramatically died of a heart attack." Several social and political issues of national importance and international interest emerged or found successful resolution during the time that Shastri held political power in Nehru's cabinet, as well as when he took over the premiership of India. There was the Kamaraj Plan; the question of Nehru's successor; the English-Hindi national language controversy; the problems of food scarcity and food grain imports; the Hazratbal episode of the stolen sacred relic from the shrine in Kashmir; the complicated diplomatic negotiations over Kashmir in the United Nations; the tangled web of tightrope relations with China, the USA and the USSR; the controversy and suspicion over the circumstances of Shastri's sudden death; and finally the heroism and acclaim that came to Shastri. All this is recounted in the book, which also unearths and sets many facts right for the first time. This is the first and only biography for the general reader based on detailed and impeccable scholarship.


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"The life of Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-66), India's second prime minister and successor to Jawaharlal Nehru, is the saga of a little man who, while suffering the rigours of poverty in early life, rose to political eminence on the strength of moral principle. When Shastri died, he left no house, no land, and no money. But he did leave behind an example which is morally insp "The life of Lal Bahadur Shastri (1904-66), India's second prime minister and successor to Jawaharlal Nehru, is the saga of a little man who, while suffering the rigours of poverty in early life, rose to political eminence on the strength of moral principle. When Shastri died, he left no house, no land, and no money. But he did leave behind an example which is morally inspiring. In an age riddled with political corruption, his career of exemplary integrity possesses a special relevance for readers in contemporary India as well as abroad." "Although Shastri's tenure as Prime Minister lasted only nineteen months, it was a period of high excitement and drama. Under Shastri's leadership India successfully fought a major war against Pakistan. The Indo-Pak war was followed by successful peace negotiations between the two countries at the famous Tashkent Conference, where, with the ink scarcely dry after all the momentous signatures, Shastri dramatically died of a heart attack." Several social and political issues of national importance and international interest emerged or found successful resolution during the time that Shastri held political power in Nehru's cabinet, as well as when he took over the premiership of India. There was the Kamaraj Plan; the question of Nehru's successor; the English-Hindi national language controversy; the problems of food scarcity and food grain imports; the Hazratbal episode of the stolen sacred relic from the shrine in Kashmir; the complicated diplomatic negotiations over Kashmir in the United Nations; the tangled web of tightrope relations with China, the USA and the USSR; the controversy and suspicion over the circumstances of Shastri's sudden death; and finally the heroism and acclaim that came to Shastri. All this is recounted in the book, which also unearths and sets many facts right for the first time. This is the first and only biography for the general reader based on detailed and impeccable scholarship.

30 review for Lal Bahadur Shastri: Life of Truth in Politics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Chander Govindarajan

    Good stuff. As much a story about the post-independence period and specifically the 1966 clash with Pakistan from the PMO point of view as it is about Shastri's personal life. Shastri seems to be a perfect embodiment of the disposition of a karma yogi, the ideals of Sanatana Dharma as expounded in the Bhagavad Gita. There is also a lament, back then, of the sense of completeness of the original mission (of the independence struggle) and a realization that new people coming into politics where in i Good stuff. As much a story about the post-independence period and specifically the 1966 clash with Pakistan from the PMO point of view as it is about Shastri's personal life. Shastri seems to be a perfect embodiment of the disposition of a karma yogi, the ideals of Sanatana Dharma as expounded in the Bhagavad Gita. There is also a lament, back then, of the sense of completeness of the original mission (of the independence struggle) and a realization that new people coming into politics where in it only for the money or power. Also, it looks like somethings have not changed in the last 60 years, stuff like: corruption, the obstinacy of Pakistan, the difficulties of inter-national agreements, the continuous bickering of the opposition, the tendency of the media to get ahead of the facts. Ironically, it sets my mind at rest - things have always been this bad, so we will probably turn out ok. I think we are lucky that Shastri was there when it mattered, on insisting on the switch of focus to Agriculture from Industry in the 4th Five Year Plan due to the food shortages. We were this close to following the socialist economic model of the Soviets down the path that China went. PS: While Nehru comes across as a complex character with conflicting traits and motivations, the little we see of Indira is not flattering, to say the least. That's all I am going to say.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Chakrapani Dutta

    really liked the book...a great book abt a great man....

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nawneet

    It paved da way for future politics....a great leader with humble character

  4. 5 out of 5

    Aniket Patil

    Never knew about shashtri ji before this book. read it. amazed to see man's dedication in different spehere's of life. A definite read for all who wants to know shashtriji. Never knew about shashtri ji before this book. read it. amazed to see man's dedication in different spehere's of life. A definite read for all who wants to know shashtriji.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Rupin Chaudhry

    This is the story of man who possessed remarkable qualities of humility, modesty, sincerity and honesty. By these qualities he lead the nation through very difficult times. It was the time when India lost Nehru and every citizen felt orphaned. He was the unanimous choice for the top post. his detractors did say "oh that dwarf frail man...what will he do? He can be easily manipulated and cowed down"...he was soon to prove them wrong. The story begins with the description of Lal Bahadur's childhoo This is the story of man who possessed remarkable qualities of humility, modesty, sincerity and honesty. By these qualities he lead the nation through very difficult times. It was the time when India lost Nehru and every citizen felt orphaned. He was the unanimous choice for the top post. his detractors did say "oh that dwarf frail man...what will he do? He can be easily manipulated and cowed down"...he was soon to prove them wrong. The story begins with the description of Lal Bahadur's childhood and the influence of his teachers. He was inspired from the early days to jump into freedom struggle. His devotion to the country and sincerity in the task at hand made him a blue eyed boy in Nehru's eyes. He was earmarked for high attainments. He had that rare devotional attitude to uphold the ideals of India, its people and improve the life of the common man. During tough times he had the quality of being imperturbable and acutely vigilant. Extraordinary blend of qualities made him an excellent candidate to lead the country in the time of crisis. Yes, he did listen to all opinions and many a times deferred to them, but when he found the opinions wrong and decisions incorrect he stood firm and resolute against them "he was not the slave of indecision" As a successor to Nehru, he was to tackle many serious issues from acute food shortages, volatile language problem in south India and the belligerent neighbor Pakistan. Most of the book is dedicated to the events that transpired in 1965 war with Pakistan. It shows how he reacted to the whole situation and acted on them and led the country. In my personal opinion, his decision to contain Pakistani incursion by intruding into Lahore was a brave one. Yet, when opportunity for peace came at Tashkent he was the first one to take the step. That voluminous responsibility that fate gave him in a very short period of time showed qualities which are not usually found in others. This is a life well lived and shall never be forgotten for Lal Bahadur Shastri shall continue to be a beacon of values, respect and humility

  6. 5 out of 5

    Shruti Sandeep

  7. 5 out of 5

    Pooja Mangutkar

  8. 4 out of 5

    George Cristescu

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ramsay

  10. 5 out of 5

    Geeta

  11. 5 out of 5

    Adi

  12. 5 out of 5

    Pillaikarthik

  13. 5 out of 5

    Parul

  14. 4 out of 5

    Avinash

  15. 5 out of 5

    Harshit Sanghavi

  16. 5 out of 5

    Amit

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sandeep

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shazmeen Saeed

  19. 4 out of 5

    Prerna Sharma

  20. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Bandri

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sandeep Kumar

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ashish Chetule

  23. 4 out of 5

    Harsh Bhandari

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mayur Popade

  25. 5 out of 5

    Saashwat Sinha

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rajkumar Gunasekaran

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tyagi83

  28. 4 out of 5

    Dr Sarasvati

  29. 4 out of 5

    Munna Paswan

  30. 5 out of 5

    Piyush Sharma

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