Former Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was one of the most trusted politicians. His diminutive physique and quiet nature belied his strong resolve, determination and incisive political vision. He led India to a military victory against Pakistan, notwithstanding the external pressures.
It is often said that ‘Nehru died too late, while Shastri’s end came too early.’ Reporting on Shastri’s death, New York Times wrote: Lal Bahadur Shastri died at a pinnacle of popularity that no one in India believed possible when he succeeded the late Jawaharlal Nehru as the Prime Minister barely nineteen months ago.”
As a pragmatic politician, Shastri was embarking on a massive economic reform, a departure from Nehruvian model, to put India on a growth trajectory by promoting private enterprises instead of public sector. Several observers suspect his plans for India has not gone down well with certain world powers which led to his ‘death’.
How did Shastri die? The mystery around Shastri’s death continues to baffle us even today – it is likely to remain so for long, despite the mounting body of evidence leaves enough room for suspicion and speculation. Had the successors of Shastri shown the will, the puzzle could have been solved. But there was a concerted effort to hide the facts from public.
There are several unanswered questions. Going by the official accounts, Indira Gandhi’s Government that succeeded Shastri’s short-lived administration -- though it brought out a white paper on the turn of events -- did more to manipulate information rather than bringing facts to the fore. The white paper had several discrepancies, deficiencies and contradictions. It did not have the most important aspect – the medical report. Later, the then Cabinet Minister Swaran Singh, who did the fire-fighting for the Government in the Parliament, admitted that the medical report was taken out from the white paper. The Government failed to give answers to some of the questions raised by Opposition leaders such as Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Ram Manohar Lohia.
Quoting Press reports, Vajpayee told the Parliament that the last thing that Shastri consumed before retiring to bed was a glass of milk. But the Government’s statement did not have any mention of this. Till this date, there is no clarity as to who offered the glass of milk to Shastri. On this, Swaran Singh, the then foreign minister who accompanied Shastri to Tashkent, told the Parliament: “I can’t deny or confirm it. Because I don’t have any information as to what was the last thing he took and who gave it to him.”
Dr Lohia always maintained that Shastri did not die, he was killed. He had demanded an investigation which the Government did not accept. Lohia had indicated that Dr E G Yeremenko, who was the Russian attending doctor and the first Russian doctor to arrive, did not sign the medical report. Moreover, there were two medical reports – one in Russian and the other in English -- and the signatories on them varied. The content of the reports are not identical. The Government had hid this fact for four years. There were questions on whether oxygen was administered when Shastri complained of breathlessness.
Then there were suspicions on the role played by external agencies such as KGB, CIA and foreign powers. The Government of India refused to declassify certain files because it thought the move would spoil relations with some friendly countries.
Whatever might have been the compulsions, India deserves to know the truth.
Download Organiser Mobile App:
Mobile App: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de...
Visit Us At:
Follow us on:
Background Music Credits: https://www.bensound.com
Speaking on occasion, Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma said, 'The Sanatani civilisation and culture inspire us to move forward in life in the quest of knowledge and wisdom." Guwahati: "The ideology of Indian civilisation and culture is an exploration of knowledge. The Sanatani civilisation and culture inspire us to move forward in life in the quest for knowledge and wisdom. Our folk culture has shown us the path of living a powerful life with strong determination. The scie ...