Lal Bahadur Shastri

(1904—1966) prime minister of India

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(b. 2 Oct. 1904, d. 11 Jan. 1966).

Prime Minister of India 1964–6 Born in Moghalsarai, he joined Gandhi's call for non-cooperation in his first satyagraha in 1921, and dropped his studies. He resumed his degree afterwards, and graduated in 1926 with a first-class degree (Shastri), from which he took his name. Deeply impressed and influenced by Gandhi's ideals, he became a loyal follower, first of Gandhi, and then of Nehru. He joined the latter's government and became one of Nehru's principal lieutenants, first as Minister for Railways (1951–6), and then in a variety of other functions, including Minister of Home Affairs. He was chosen as Nehru's successor owing to his conciliatory manner. Shastri was a remarkably skilful politician, and defended India well against attack in the second Indo-Pakistan War of 1965. The war was formally ended in the Tashkent Agreement of 10 January 1966; he died the following day, still in Tashkent, of a heart attack.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945) — World History.

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