During his tenure as Prime Minister, Shastri visited many countries. Incidentally while returning from the Non Alliance Conference in Cairo on the invitation of then President of the Pakistan, Mohammed Ayub Khan to have lunch with him, Shastri made a stop over at Karachi Airport for few hours and breaking from the protocol Ayub Khan personally received him at the Airport and had an informal meeting during October 1964. After the declaration of ceasefire with Pakistan in 1965, Shastri and Ayub Khan attended a summit in Tashkent (former USSR, now in modern Uzbekistan), organized by Alexei Kosygin. On 10 January 1966, Shastri and Ayub Khan signed the Tashkent Declaration. Shastri died in Tashkent, at 02:00 on the day after signing the Tashkent Declaration, reportedly due to a heart attack, but people allege conspiracy behind the death. He was the first Prime Minister of India to die overseas. Shastri’s sudden death immediately after signing the Tashkent Pact with Pakistan raised many questions in the minds of Indian citizens. The Prime Minister of India going to Tashkent for a pact and never coming back has not been accepted easily by Indian citizens. His health was fit according to his doctor, R. N. Chugh, and he had no sign of heart trouble before. Shastri’s sudden death has led to persistent conspiracy theories that he was poisoned. It was maintained that Shastri had died of cardiac arrest but his family insisted he was poisoned. After Shastri’s death, his wife Lalita Shastri had alleged he was poisoned. His son, Sunil Shastri, asked the government to unravel the mystery behind Lal Bahadur Shastri’s death. Raising doubts about the dark blue spots and cut marks on the abdomen of his father’s body after his death in 1966, Sunil asked how the cut marks appeared if a post-mortem had not been conducted. When Shastri went to the USSR for the Tashkent talks, he wanted a promise from Ayub Khan that Pakistan would never use force in the future. But the talks did not proceed and followed Shastri’s death on the next day. Later, Gregory Douglas, a journalist who interviewed former CIA operative Robert Crowley over a period of 4 years, recorded their telephone conversations and published a transcription in a book titled Conversations with the Crow. In the book, Crowley claimed that the CIA was responsible for eliminating Homi Bhabha, an Indian nuclear scientist whose plane crashed into Alps, when he was going to attend a conference in Vienna; and Lal Bahadur Shastri. Crowley said that the USA was wary of India’s rigid stand on nuclear policy and of then prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, who wanted to go ahead with nuclear tests. He also said that the agency was worried about collective domination by India and Russia over the region, for which a strong deterrent was required.
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During the Quit India Movement, his daughter was ill and he was released on parole from jail. However, he could not save her life because doctors had prescribed costly drugs. Later on in 1963, on the day when he was dropped from the cabinet, he was sitting in his home in the dark, without a light. When asked about the reason, he said as he no longer is a minister, all expenses will have to be paid by himself and that as a MP and minister he didn’t earn enough to save for time of need.
Story when Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s Government conducted nuclear tests with utmost planning & confidentiality
In May 1998, India conducted five underground nuclear tests in Pokhran desert in Rajasthan, 24 yrs after India conducted its first nuclear test (Smiling Buddha) in 1974. This test is called Pokhran-II. The tests were held just a month after the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government had been in power. Two weeks later, Pakistan responded with its own nuclear tests making it the newest declared nation with nuclear weapons. While some nations, such as Russia and France, endorsed India’s right to defensive nuclear power, others including the United States, Canada, Japan, Britain and the European Union imposed sanctions on information, resources and technology to India. In spite of the intense international criticism and the steady decline in foreign investment and trade, the nuclear tests were popular domestically. Effectively the international sanctions failed completely in swaying India’s decision to weaponize their nuclear capability, something that was planned for and anticipated by the Vajpayee administration.
Story of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who remained honest and even bought a car on installments
Although Lal Bahadur Shastri had been a cabinet minister for many years in the 1950s, he was poor when he died. All he owned at the end was an old car, which he had bought in installments from the government and for which he still owed money. He was a member of Servants of India society which asked all its members to shun accumulation of private property and remain in public life as servants of people. He was the first railway minister who resigned from office following a major train accident as he felt moral responsibility.
In April 1906, When Shastri was hardly one year old, his father, had only recently been promoted to the post of deputy tahsildar, died in an epidemic of bubonic plague. Ramdulari Devi, then only 23 and pregnant with her third child, took her two children and moved from Ramnnagar to her father’s house in Mughalsarai and settled there for good. She gave birth to a daughter, Sundari Devi, in July 1906. Thus, Shastri and his sisters grew up in the household of his maternal grandfather, Hazari Lal. However, Hazari Lal himself died from a stroke in mid-1908, after which the family were looked after by his brother (Shastri’s great-uncle) Darbari Lal, who was the head clerk in the opium regulation department at Ghazipur, and later by his son (Ramdulari Devi’s cousin) Bindeshwari Prasad, a school teacher in Mughalsarai. Thus, the greatness of the traditional Indian joint family system, and the traditions of family responsibility and kinship, are deeply evident in Shastri’s case, where the orphan child of a penniless widow was raised by his distant relatives in a manner which enabled him to become Prime Minister of India.