Lal Bahadur Shastri
The first day I saw him I knew he was a very highly evolved soul and to have such a person in the politics itself was a great vision for Me.
As you know, I am full of compassion and Mr. Shrivastava has seen how I used to cry seeing people being starved and in, living in conditions which not even animals can manage. So when I saw Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, I felt now, after Gandhiji, here is a man. Normally, you’ll be surprised. Most of these people, martyrs, even My father, mother, even Gandhiji, they never cared for politics, they never wanted to do anything with politics. They said, ‘We don’t want to do anything,’ but here was a man who ventured himself into politics and who was a Realized Soul, was a very big combination for Me. And I could see the potential of this. (...)
I looked at Shastriji, I said, ”Now here is someone!” I wanted someone to be like that because there were so many I knew who were very sacrificing, very detached, very honest, very dharmic, but somehow they didn’t want to do anything with these assemblies and elections and all that.
Shastriji was already in office when I saw him first and I think he recognized Me very well, no doubt about it. They're two, three incidents I remember. First of all, he showed tremendous respect for Me, tremendous respect. I always used to go to the airport to receive him, always. Once I was not well, so I didn’t go. So he was coming with all the cars and everything, suddenly he stopped in front of our building and walked up to our flat, all alone. 'Why didn’t You come to the airport? Are You not well?' I said, “I’m all right, Sir, but little unwell.” ‘Na, na, every time You must come.’ So very sweet, he was so very sweet. Such small, small things he used to notice. (...)
He would talk to Me on subjects – I was just an ordinary housewife at that time – subjects like economics. He would say, ‘What are Your priorities? You run Your household very well. Your husband is so busy, what is, what are Your priorities?’ I said, “The first priority: that My children must get their food. First. Second: A house. Third: Education and the foremost is their character. They must have good character. And I really didn’t start Sahaja Yoga till My daughters got married because that was also My responsibility. (...)
But Shastriji also looked after My children very much and he felt they were sacrificing so much because their father was never at home, he was always busy, you see. He could understand Me, that I’m a sensible woman and that I’m dedicated to this country and that I feel very happy that My husband is doing the work of the country. He understood that, but still he used to feel for Me.
One day, though I am very fond of music, but I had stopped going for music because I would not go without My husband, so one day I told him that somebody has come and I would like to hear that music. He said, ‘All right. What time is the program?’ I said, “Nine o’clock, you should come we’ll be going.” So at nine o’clock little bit, I think, he got disturbed and started looking at the watch. So Shastriji asked him, ‘What’s the matter? What are you doing? What’s the matter?’ He said, ‘My wife had asked to go for a music program. It’s nine o’clock.’ ‘Then get up. What are you doing? Come along.’ He brought him in his own car and dropped him there. He said, ‘If She asked you once to go to this thing, what business you have got to sit down?’ (...)
I saw the Union Jack coming down and I saw the Tricolor going up. That was the moment – it’s beyond Me - even now I remember those days. Many of you who are Indians here may not have seen those days. That’s why you’re so careless. That’s why some of you do not understand out of what sacrifices this freedom we have got. It’s not an easy freedom. It was very, very difficult one and Shastriji was one of them who gave up everything to join and he had a mother to look after. He was another one who just gave up all those things. Any young man would have ambitions: do this, do that -nothing. He gave up everything just to join Congress. Those were the days where people were charmed. (...)
Gandhiji was also a very short man. This gentle man had really charmed all the young people. So many young people gave up their studies, gave up everything, not for something wrong, but for, to fight for your country and they sacrificed their lives. So many of them were extremely honest, pure, with a love for your country itself, made them so beautiful, I think. There we were young girls, there were young boys, there were old men, old women, we never had any, any such things which we call as corruption or any kind of bad feelings. We’re all working together, day and night. (...)
He had a tremendous memory. I too have so I used to wonder there’s another one I found out, who has such a tremendous memory because to Me it is sometimes embarrassing to have such a memory but to him, it was such a blessing, I should say for people because he would ask them for such small things. ‘How is your mother now?’ or ‘How, did you get your house?’ See, so much subtle. It was like I tell you the motherly type of a love. Of course, he has been extremely, extremely kind to Me, except that he didn’t take Me to Tashkent. He was to take Me; things would have been different, but it is all fated, you know. Can’t help it. And once I did tell him that you should little bit take rest also, do a little meditation. ‘We have no time.’ He said, ‘It’s better to shine like a shooting star.’ I said, ” Shooting stars are those which are no good as stars. But you are so important. You have no idea as to how important you are. And if you realize how important you are, you’ll look after yourself.”
He used to live in the last part of the houses, so humble, so very humble. Whatever you gave him, he would eat. His ordinary what you call Khatiya in our language, he used to sleep on that. I said, ‘Why are you such a saint? Why can’t you sleep on a proper bed, after all, we need you, for our sake, you have to do it.” So, he would say, ‘I feel more comfortable in this.’ See, he’s just a man who is so detached. He was going to Russia and they all felt that the, he wore the coat he was wearing is not sufficient for Russia and must change it. So they told Me. I said, “You better tell him. I won’t be able to talk to him about it,” so they approached C.P. They said, ‘C.P. told him that, ‘Sir, don’t you think we should make another coat for you?’ He said, ‘Ah, so they have come to you now?’ He said, ‘Whatever it is, but I think we have to make a coat for you.’ To make one coat for him was impossible.
He never carried any money with him. You’ll be surprised and he didn’t know what were the new coins are. So at the airport I would always be there, you see, and he would tell Me. So he said, ‘This lady is coming to me to put that piece of the flag on me. I have no money. What to do?’ So I said, “All right. I’ll give her something.” So I gave her one rupee. He said, ‘You have no coin?’ I said, “The coin is for ten p.” ‘What is that?’ he says. I said, ” It is one tenth of a rupee nowadays.” ‘Oh, I see. It is better then you give her a note.’ But he wanted to give her a coin as an auspicious thing. So detached from things, so much.
At the same time he was so diligently working out, you know, because the way he used to ask Me questions, I was surprised, I was surprised how diligently and subtly he wanted to improve everything. He said that, ‘What should we do?’ I said, “First of all we must have water.” ‘I know that. We must have water in every village. Gandhiji always used to say. He told his wife that, ‘You go to the well and bring the water to me.’ I told her one day. ‘Ba, let me do it. Why are you doing it? So now my husband will be very angry. He has told me, ‘Till every village gets water, you fill in the water for me and bring it. So I remember that we have to supply water. (ASIDE HERE…not too sure about who is saying what here.)
Shastri was very much on that. Also, he said that these people who travel by third class there’s no fan, nothing. We put fans, we put fans in the third class waiting rooms. He, I mean he, you see, he started you can say, he was a communist in a way, because he was a capitalist. He was so full of love and so full of patriotism, that if his love would not allow him to see people suffer, so whatever he could do, he tried to do. He was really only for eighteen months he lived. Like a shooting star as he said and, there are so many things one can talk about it which C.P. has kindly put it in his book also. (...)
Socrates talked about a benevolent King and Shri Rama was that benevolent King once upon a time and when I saw Lal Bahadur Shastri, I said, ” Here is a benevolent King who has come.” He has lived very short. I don’t know. That’s our fate; we Indians don’t have a very good fate, I think; doesn’t matter. (1994-12-03)
And we had a very great prime minister for a short time, called Lal Bahadur Shastri. He was in the image of Mahatma Gandhi, I would say – quite a lot. And he remembered his words. And he was so much worried that we need not have big plants just now, but let us supply water to the people of Rajasthan. You see, so much anxious about it that, “You have big plants then you have to do this, you have to do that. By that time so many people will die of thirst and hunger.” A very practical and matter of fact gentleman was Mahatma Gandhi. (1988-06-08)
Lal Bahadur Shastri (2 October 1904 – 11 January 1966) was the Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a leader of the Indian National Congress party.
Shastri joined the Indian independence movement in the 1920s. Deeply impressed and influenced by Mahatma Gandhi (with whom he shares his birthday), he became a loyal follower, first of Gandhi, and then of Jawaharlal Nehru. Following independence in 1947, he joined the latter's government and became one of Prime Minister Nehru's principal lieutenants, first as Railways Minister (1951–56), and then in a variety of other functions, including Home Minister. Shastri while a staunch supporter of Nehru, differed from his socialist policies on Industry
Shastri as Prime Minister continued Nehru's policies of non-alignment but disregarded socialism as he believed in ending license raj. He led the country during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. His slogan of "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" ("Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer") became very popular during the war and is remembered even today. The war formally ended with the Tashkent Agreement of 10 January 1966; he died of a heart attack the following day, still in Tashkent.
C.P. Srivastava, Lal Bahadur Shastri: a life of truth in politics (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995)
John Noyce, Lal Bahadur Shastri: an English language bibliography (1996)
M.H.Syed, et al, Lal Bahadur Shastri (Mumbai: Himalaya Books, 2011)