The year was 1966, the month- January, and the date, which was to turn ominous -11th. We had winter vacations in school, and it was all fun and frolic for two long winter months as we had already been promoted to the next class after annual exams. . A maternal uncle , who happened to be a first cousin of my mother, and lived just at a stone’ s throw came early in the morning , with a drawn face and sad expression and started telling that he had had a bad dream that Shastriji , was no more. Shastri ji had become such an icon that death happening to him was not acceptable even if it were a dream. On an impulse, the radio set was switched on and there was the shocking news of Shastriji’s death in Tashkent, where he had gone to have peace talks with General Ayub Khan , then President of Pakistan , after successfully handling the 1965 war. Every one of us was virtually drawn to tears. Later it transpired that uncle had already heard the news on radio set and was too shocked to make a direct mention of the sad event. Even as a school child, I read every thing about Shastri ji from whatever source I could lay my hands upon. He was simplicity and honesty personified. Little wonder that inspired by his slogan of “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan “ , a movie “ Upkaar ” was made as a tribute and his name was added to the National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie .
Forty four years on , he remains the ideal for most of us.
In every sense he was a true son of the Bharat Mata.
Can we have another one like him !