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Jawaharlal Nehru Biography
Born: November 14, 1889
Died: May 27, 1964
Achievements: Took active part in Non-Cooperation Movement; elected President of the Allahabad Municipal Corporation in 1924, and served for two years as the city's chief executive; Presided over Congress' annual session in Lahore in 1929 and passed a resolution demanding India's independence; elected as Congress President in 1936, 1937, and 1946; became first Prime Minister of independent India; was one of the main architects of Non Aligned Movement.
Jawaharlal Nehru, also known as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, was one of the foremost leaders of Indian freedom struggle. He was the favourite disciple of Mahatma Gandhi and later on went on to become the first Prime Minister of India. Jawahar Lal Nehru is widely regarded as the architect of modern India. He was very fond of children and children used to affectionately call him Chacha Nehru.
Jawahar Lal Nehru was born on November 14, 1889. His father Motilal Nehru was a famous Allahabad based barrister. Jawaharlal Nehru's mother's name was Swaroop Rani. Jawaharlal Nehru was the only son of Motilal Nehru. Motilal Nehru has three daughters apart from Jawaharlal Nehru. Nehrus were Saraswat Brahmin of Kashmiri lineage.
Jawaharlal Nehru received education in some of the finest schools and universities of the world. He did his schooling from Harrow and completed his Law degree from Trinity College, Cambridge. The seven years he spent in England widened his horizons and he acquired a rational and skeptical outlook and sampled Fabian socialism and Irish nationalism, which added to his own patriotic dedication.
Jawaharlal Nehru returned to India in 1912 and started legal practice. He married Kamala Nehru in 1916. Jawahar Lal Nehru joined Home Rule League in 1917. His real initiation into politics came two years later when he came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi in 1919. At that time Mahatma Gandhi had launched a campaign against Rowlatt Act. Nehru was instantly attracted to Gandhi's commitment for active but peaceful, civil disobedience. Gandhi himself saw promise and India's future in the young Jawaharlal Nehru.
Nehru family changed its family according to Mahatma Gandhi's teachings. Jawaharlal and Motilal Nehru abandoned western clothes and tastes for expensive possessions and pastimes. They now wore a Khadi Kurta and Gandhi cap. Jawaharlal Nehru took active part in the Non- Cooperation Movement 1920-1922) and was arrested for the first time during the movement. He was released after few months.
Jawaharlal Nehru was elected President of the Allahabad Municipal Corporation in 1924, and served for two years as the city's chief executive. This proved to be a valuable administrative experience for stood him in good stead later on when he became the prime minister of the country. He used his tenure to expand public education, health care and sanitation. He resigned in 1926 citing lack of cooperation from civil servants and obstruction from British authorities.
From 1926 to 1928, Jawaharlal served as the General Secretary of the All India Congress Committee. In 1928-29, the Congress's annual session under President Motilal Nehru was held. During that session Jawaharlal Nehru and Subhas Chandra Bose backed a call for full political independence, while Motilal Nehru and others wanted dominion status within the British Empire. To resolve the point, Gandhi said that the British would be given two years to grant India dominion status. If they did not, the Congress would launch a national struggle for full, political independence. Nehru and Bose reduced the time of opportunity to one year. The British did not respond.
In December 1929, Congress's annual session was held in Lahore and Jawaharlal Nehru was elected as the President of the Congress Party. During that sessions a resolution demanding India's independence was passed and on January 26, 1930 in Lahore, Jawaharlal Nehru unfurled free India's flag. Gandhiji gave a call for Civil Disobedience Movement in 1930. The movement was a great success and forced British Government to acknowledge the need for major political reforms.
When the British promulgated the Government of India Act 1935, the Congress Party decided to contest elections. Nehru stayed out of the elections, but campaigned vigorously nationwide for the party. The Congress formed governments in almost every province, and won the largest number of seats in the Central Assembly. Nehru was elected to the Congress presidency in 1936, 1937, and 1946, and came to occupy a position in the nationalist movement second only to that of Gandhi. Jawaharlal Nehru was arrested in 1942 during Quit India Movement. Released in 1945, he took a leading part in the negotiations that culminated in the emergence of the dominions of India and Pakistan in August 1947.
In 1947, he becamethe first Prime Minister of independent India. He effectively coped with the formidable challenges of those times: the disorders and mass exodus of minorities across the new border with Pakistan, the integration of 500-odd princely states into the Indian Union, the framing of a new constitution, and the establishment of the political and administrative infrastructure for a parliamentary democracy.
Jawaharlal Nehru played a key role in building modern India. He set up a Planning Commission, encouraged development of science and technology, and launched three successive five-year plans. His policies led to a sizable growth in agricultural and industrial production. Nehru also played a major role in developing independent India's foreign policy. He called for liquidation of colonialism in Asia and Africa and along with Tito and Nasser, was one of the chief architects of the nonaligned movement. He played a constructive, mediatory role in bringing the Korean War to an end and in resolving other international crises, such as those over the Suez Canal and the Congo, offering India's services for conciliation and international policing. He contributed behind the scenes toward the solution of several other explosive issues, such as those of West Berlin, Austria, and Laos.
But Jawahar Lal Nehru couldn't improve India's relations with Pakistan and China. The Kashmir issue proved a stumbling block in reaching an accord with Pakistan, and the border dispute prevented a resolution with China. The Chinese invasion in 1962, which Nehru failed to anticipate, came as a great blow to him and probably hastened his death. Jawaharlal Nehru died of a heart attack on May 27, 1964.
Lal Bahadur Shastri
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Lal Bahadur Shrivastav Shastri Je |
3rd Prime Minister of India |
9 June 1964 – 11 January 1966 |
President | Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan |
Preceded by | Gulzarilal Nanda |
Succeeded by | Gulzarilal Nanda |
Born | 2 October 1904(1904-10-02)
Mughalsarai, United Provinces, British India |
Died | 11 January 1966 (aged 61)
Tashkent, Uzbek SSR |
Birth name | Lal Bahadur Srivastava |
Political party | Indian National Congress |
Spouse(s) | Lalita Shastri nee Devi |
Occupation | Academic, Activist |
Religion | Hindu |
Lal Bahadur Shrivastav Shastri (Hindi: लालबहादुर शास्त्री , pronounced [laːl bəˈhaːdʊr ˈʃaːstriː]; 2 October 1904 - 11 January 1966) was the third Prime Minister of the Republic of India and a significant figure in the Indian independence movement.
Contents[hide] * 1 Early life * 2 In government * 3 Prime minister * 3.1 War with Pakistan * 3.2 Death at Tashkent * 3.3 Mystery of Shastri's Death * 3.4 Memorial * 4 Personal life * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links |
 Early life
Lal Bahadur was born in Mughalsarai, United Provinces, British India to Sharada Shrivastava Prasad, a poor school teacher, who later became a clerk in the Revenue Office at Allahabad and Ramdulari Devi. When he was three months old, he slipped out of his mother's arms into a cowherder's basket at the ghats of the Ganges. The cowherder, who had no children, took the child as a gift from God and took him home. Lal Bahadur's parents lodged a complaint with the police, who traced the child, and returned him to his parents.
His father died when he was only a year and a half old. His mother took him and his two sisters to her father's house and settled down there. Lal Bahadur stayed at his grandfather Hazari Lal's house till he was ten. He studied upto class IV in Railway School Mughalsarai. Since there was no high school in their town, he was sent to Varanasi where he stayed with his maternal uncle and joined the Harischandra High School. While in Varanasi, Shastri once went with his friends to see a fair on the other bank of the Ganges. On the way back he had no money for the boat fare. Instead of borrowing from his friends, he jumped into the river and swam to the other bank.
As a boy, Lal Bahadur loved reading books and was fond of Guru Nanak's verses. He revered Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter. After hearing a speech of Mahatma Gandhi at Varanasi in 1915, he dedicated his life to the service of the country. He also dropped his surname Shrivastav, as it indicated his caste and he was against the caste system. During the non-cooperation movement of Mahatma Gandhi in 1921, he joined processions in defiance of the prohibitory order. He was arrested but let off as he was a minor. He then enrolled at the nationalist Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi. During his four years there, he was greatly influenced by the lectures of Dr. Bhagawandas on philosophy. Upon completion of his course at Kashi Vidyapeeth in 1926, he was given the title Shastri ("Scholar"). The title was a bachelor's degree awarded by the Vidya Peeth, but it stuck as part of his name. He also enrolled himself as a life member of the Servants of the People Society and began to work for the upliftment of the Harijans at Muzaffarpur. Later he became the President of the Society.
In 1927, Shastri married Lalita Devi of Mirzapur. In spite of the prevailing hefty dowry tradition, Shastri accepted only a charkha and a few yards of khadi as dowry. In 1930, he threw himself into the freedom struggle during Mahatma Gandhi's Salt Satyagraha. He was imprisoned for two and a half years. Once, while he was in prison, one of his daughters fell seriously ill. He was released for fifteen days, on the condition that he not take part in the freedom movement. However, his daughter died before he reached home. After performing the funeral rites, he voluntarily returned to prison, even before the expiration of the period. A year later, he asked for permission to go home for a week, as his son had contracted influenza. The permission was given, but his son's illness was not cured in a week. In spite of his family's pleadings, he kept his promise to the jail officers and returned to the prison.
Later, he worked as the Organizing Secretary of the Parliamentary Board of U.P. in 1937. In 1940, he was sent to prison for one year, for offering individual Satyagraha support to the freedom movement. On 8 August 1942, Mahatma Gandhi issued the Quit India speech at Gowalia Tank in Mumbai, demanding that the British leave India. Shastri, who had just then come out after a year in prison, traveled to Allahabad. For a week, he sent instructions to the freedom fighters from Jawaharlal Nehru's hometown, Anand Bhavan. A few days later, he was arrested and imprisoned until 1946. Shastri spent almost nine years in jail in total. During his stay in prison, he spent time reading books and became familiar with the works of western philosophers, revolutionaries and social reformers. He also translated the autobiography of Marie Curie into Hindi language.
 In government
Following India's independence, Shastri was appointed Parliamentary Secretary in his home state, Uttar Pradesh. He became the Minister of Police and Transport under Govind Ballabh Pant's Chief Ministership. As the Transport Minister, he was the first to appoint women conductors. As the minister in charge of the Police Department, he ordered that Police use jets of water instead of lathis to disperse unruly crowds.
In 1951, he was made the General Secretary of the All-India Congress Committee, with Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister. He was directly responsible for the selection of candidates and the direction of publicity and electioneering activities. He played an important role in the landslide successes of the Congress Party in the Indian General Elections of 1952, 1957 and 1962.
In 1951, Nehru nominated him to the Rajya Sabha. He served as the Minister of Railways and Transport in the Central Cabinet from 1951 to 1956. In 1956, he offered his resignation after a railway accident at Mahbubnagar that led to 112 deaths. However, Nehru did not accept his resignation. Three months later, he resigned accepting moral and constitutional responsibility for a railway accident at Ariyalur in Tamil Nadu that resulted in 144 deaths. While speaking in the Parliament on the incident, the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, stated that he was accepting the resignation because it would set an example in constitutional propriety and not because Shastri was in any way responsible for the accident. Shastri's unprecedented gesture was greatly appreciated by the citizens.
In 1957, Shastri returned to the Cabinet following the General Elections, first as the Minister for Transport and Communications, and then as the Minister of Commerce and Industry. In 1961, he became Minister for Home. As Union Home Minister he was instrumental in appointing the Committee on Prevention of Corruption under the Chairmanship of K. Santhanam.
 Prime minister
Main article: Premiership of Lal Bahadur Shastri
Jawaharlal Nehru died in office on 27 May 1964 and left a void. The then Congress Party President K. Kamaraj was instrumental in making and installing Shastri as Prime Minister on 9 June. Shastri, though mild-mannered and soft-spoken, was a Nehruvian socialist and thus held appeal to those wishing to prevent the ascent of conservative right-winger Morarji Desai.
In his first broadcast as Prime Minister, on 11 June 1964, Shastri stated:
“ | There comes a time in the life of every nation when it stands at the cross-roads of history and must choose which way to go. But for us there need be no difficulty or hesitation, no looking to right or left. Our way is straight and clear – the building up of a socialist democracy at home with freedom and prosperity for all, and the maintenance of world peace and friendship with all nations. | ” |
Shastri worked by his natural characteristics to obtain compromises between opposing viewpoints, but in his short tenure he was ineffectual in dealing with the economic crisis and food shortage in the nation. However, he commanded a great deal of respect in the Indian populace, and he used it to gain advantage in pushing the Green Revolution in India; which directly led to India becoming a food-surplus nation, although he did not live to see it. During the 22-day war with Pakistan, Lal Bahadur Shastri created the slogan of "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" ("Hail the soldier, Hail the farmer"), underlining the need to boost India's food production. Apart from emphasizing the Green Revolution, he was instrumental in promoting the White Revolution. Greatly impressed by a visit to the Kaira district in October 1964, he urged the rest of the country to learn from the successful experiment at Anand. The National Dairy Development Board was formed in 1965 during his tenure as Prime Minister.
Though he was Socialist, Shastri stated that India cannot have a regimented type of economy. During his tenure as Prime Minister, he visited Russia, Yugoslavia, England, Canada and Burma in 1965.
 War with Pakistan
See Also: Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
The problem for Shastri's administration was Pakistan. Laying claim to half of the Kutch peninsula, Pakistan sent incursion forces in August 1965, which skirmished with Indian tank divisions. In his report to the Lok Sabha on the confrontation in Kutch, Shastri stated:
“ | In the utilization of our limited resources, we have always given primacy to plans and projects for economic development. It would, therefore, be obvious for anyone who is prepared to look at things objectively that India can have no possible interest in provoking border incidents or in building up an atmosphere of strife... In these circumstances, the duty of Government is quite clear and this duty will be discharged fully and effectively... We would prefer to live in poverty for as long as necessary but we shall not allow our freedom to be subverted. | ” |
Under a scheme proposed by the British PM, Pakistan obtained 10%, in place of their original claim of 50% of the territory. But Pakistan's aggressive intentions were also focused on Kashmir. When armed infiltrators from Pakistan began entering the State of Jammu and Kashmir, Shastri made it clear to Pakistan that force would be met with force. Just in September 1965, major incursions of militants and Pakistani soldiers began, hoping not only to break-down the government but incite a sympathetic revolt. The revolt did not happen, and India sent its forces across the Ceasefire Line (now Line of Control) and threatened Pakistan by crossing the International Border near Lahore as war broke out on a general scale. Massive tank battles occurred in the Punjab, and while Pakistani forces made some gains, Indian forces captured the key post at Haji Pir, in Kashmir, and brought the Pakistani city of Lahore under artillery and mortar fire.
On 17 September 1965, while the Indo-Pak war was on, India received a letter from China. In the letter, China alleged that the Indian army had set up army equipment in Chinese territory, and India would face China's wrath, unless the equipment was pulled down. In spite of the threat of aggression from China, Shastri declared "China's allegation is untrue. If China attacks India it is our firm resolve to fight for our freedom. The might of China will not deter us from defending our territorial integrity.". The Chinese did not respond, but the Indo-Pak war resulted in great personnel and material casualties for both Pakistan and India.
The Indo-Pak war ended on 23 September 1965 with a United Nations-mandated ceasefire. In a broadcast to the nation on the day the of ceasefire, Shastri stated:
“ | While the conflict between the armed forces of the two countries has come to an end, the more important thing for the United Nations and all those who stand for peace is to bring to an end the deeper conflict... How can this be brought about? In our view, the only answer lies in peaceful coexistence. India has stood for the principle of coexistence and championed it all over the world. Peaceful coexistence is possible among nations no matter how deep the differences between them, how far apart they are in their political and economic systems, no matter how intense the issues that divide them. | ” |
 Death at Tashkent
Shastri statue in Mumbai
the name is seen in the plaque in Mumbai in Maharashtra, India
After the declaration of ceasefire, Shastri and Pakistani President Muhammad Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan), organised by Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration.
The next day Shastri, who had suffered two heart attacks earlier, died supposedly of a heart attack at 1:32 AM..One perception of his death out of hysteria is also common among the masses. He was the only Indian Prime Minister, and indeed probably one of the few heads of government, to have died in office overseas.
 Mystery of Shastri's Death
Although officially it was maintained that Shastri died of heart attack, his widow, Lalita Shastri kept alleging that her husband was poisoned. Many believed that Shastri's body turning blue was an evidence of his poisoning. Indeed a Russian butler attending to him was arrested on suspicion of poisoning Shastri, but was later absolved of charges.
In 2009, when Anuj Dhar, author of CIA's Eye on South Asia, asked the Prime Minister's Office under an RTI plea (Right to Information Act), that Shastri's cause of death be made public, the PMO refused to oblige, citing that this could lead to harming of foreign relations, cause disruption in the country and cause breach of parliamentary privileges.
The PMO did inform however that it had in its possession one document related to Shastri's death, but refused to declassify it. The government also admitted that no post-mortem examination had been conducted on him in USSR, but it did have a report of a medical investigation conducted by Shastri's personal physician Dr. R.N. Chugh and some Russian doctors. Furthermore, the PMO revealed that there was no record of any destruction, or loss, of documents in the PMO having a bearing on Shastri's death. As of July 2009, the home ministry is yet to respond to queries whether India conducted a postmortem and if the government had investigated allegations of foul play.
Circumstances of Shastri's death do indeed make a case for close inquiry. On the night of 11 January, Shastri was awakened by a severe coughing fit. Dr. R.N. Chugh came to his aid. Shastri was unable to speak and pointed to a flask kept nearby. A staffer brought some water which Shastri sipped. Shortly afterward, Shastri became unconscious and attempts to revive him proved futile.
A cold case forensic enquiry which keeps these facts in consideration, could point to three causes - in order of probability.
1. Myocardial Infarction (ordinarily known as Heart Attack)
2. Café Coronary (impaction of food in windpipe - in this case, drops of water)
3. Poisoning by some very quick acting poison, say cyanide although its probability is minimal.
All his lifetime, Shastri was known for honesty and humility. He was the first person to be posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, and a memorial "Vijay Ghat" was built for him in Delhi. Several educational institutes, Shashtri National Academy of Administration (Mussorie) is after his name these were some examples. The Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute was named after Shastri due to his role in promoting scholarly activity between India and Canada.
In 2005, the Government of India created a chair in his honour in the field of democracy and governance at Delhi University
APJ Abdul Kalam
Born - 15 October 1931
Achievements - This eminent scientist and engineer has also served as the 11th President of India from the period 2002 to 2007. APJ Abdul Kalam is a man of vision, who is always full of ideas aimed at the development of the country. He firmly believes that India needs to play a more assertive role in international relations.
Apart from being a notable scientist and engineer, Dr APJ Abdul Kalam served as the 11th President of India from the period 2002 to 2007. He is a man of vision, who is always full of ideas aimed at the development of the country and is also often also referred to as the Missile Man of India. People loved and respected Dr APJ Abdul Kalam so much during his tenure as President that was popularly called the People's President. Read more about the biography of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam here.
APJ Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 at the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu and received honorary doctorates from about 30 universities globally. In the year 1981, the Government of India presented him the nation's highest civilian honor, the Padma Bhushan and then again, the Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and the Bharat Ratna in 1997. Before Kalam, there have been only two presidents - Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan and Zakir Hussain - to have received the Bharat Ratna before bring appointed to the highest office in India.
Read on about the life history of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who's also the first scientist and bachelor to occupy the seat of the Rashtrapati Bhavan. His perspectives on important topics have been enunciated by him in the book 'India 2020'. It highlights the action plans that will help develop the country into a knowledge superpower by the time 2020. One thing for which he received ample kudos is his unambiguous statement that India needs to play a more assertive role in international relations.
And Dr APJ Abdul Kalam regards his work on India's nuclear weapons program as a way to assert India's place as a future superpower. Even during his tenure as President, APJ Kalam took avid interest in the spheres of India's science and technology. He has even put forward a project plan for establishing bio-implants. He is also an ardent advocate of open source software over proprietary solutions to churn out more profits in the field of information technology in India.