Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Man of one Coat - Late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri.

""Nanak nanhe ho raho, jaise nanhi doob,

Aur ghaas jar jaye hai, doob khoob ki khoob"

Foundation of this country is laid by the great leaders who exhibited both their values and their ethics in their leadership style and actions. Here, I am talking about man of the highest integrity,our second Prime Minister Late Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. Man who impressed global leaders with his "Simple Living and High Thinking" approach .He impressed his Soviet Union counterpart with his coat but in a different way..I am sharing two incidents from his life, i think important to read by all. It has a great connection with our great but self obsessed leadership of present time.

First Incident
Once Lal Bahadur Shashtri was sent to Kashmir by Nehru to help resolve the theft in the Hazaratbal shrine. Nehru asked him whether he had enough woolens for the trip. "Are you aware Kashmir must be having snowfall at this time?" asked Nehru.
Shastri Ji showed him his only jacket he was wearing and Nehru immediately gave his own mink overcoat. Shastri Ji was short in stature so he told Nehru the coat was quite long. But Nehru said woolen overcoats were always longer. That no one would know it was a borrowed one. On his return from Kashmir Shashtri Ji went to him to return the overcoat, Nehru asked him to keep it and but he refused.

Second Indecent
When Shastri left or Tashkent on January 3, 1966 for his meeting with Pakistan President Gen Ayub Khan, it was very cold and he was only carrying his usual khadi woollen coat, the book says.
Kosygin then Soviet Union counterpart realized that the coat Shastri wore was not warm enough to ward off the snowy winter winds of central Asia and wanted to present him a Russian overcoat but was not sure how to do so, it says.
"Finally at a function, he presented a Russian coat as a gift to the Prime Minister hoping that he would wear it in Tashkent. Next morning, Kosygin noticed that Shastriji was still wearing the khadi coat which he had brought from Delhi.
Hesitantly, he asked the Prime Minister whether he liked the overcoat which he gave to him," the authors say.
"Shastriji replied in the affirmative and said, 'It is really warm and very comfortable for me. However, I have lent it to one of my staff members who was not carrying a good woolen coat to wear in this severe winter. I will surely use your gift during my future trips to cold countries'," they wrote. Kosygin narrated this incident during his welcome address at a cultural programme organised in honour of Shastri and Khan.
He remarked, "We are Communists but Prime Minister Shastri is a super Communist."

Jai Hind

Navdeep Asija


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