Rich tributes paid to Lal Bahadur Shastri on birth anniversary

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New Delhi, Oct 2 (UNI) The values, honesty and sincerity in public life that former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri used to epitomise should reach the youth of today,said his son and MP Anil Shastri on his 103rd birth anniversary here today.

A programme of devotional songs by classical singer Subhadra Desai marked the birth anniversary of the late leader which was celebrated at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Memorial in Delhi.

The programme, organised by the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Memorial Trust, was attended by a large number of people including Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh, Defence Minister A K Antony, other Union Ministers, diplomats and MPs Anil Shastri and Sunil Shastri among others.

The occasion was marked by various programmes held in the capital today beginning with instrumental music at his Samadhi at Vijay Ghat organised by the Government of India.

Excerpts of the former Prime Minister's speeches were also played.

Besides, his two sons Anil Shastri and Sunil Shastri, those who visited the Samadhi to pay homage to the departed leader were President Pratibha Devisingh Patil, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil, Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, Congress Working Committee Members, MPs and MLAs.

Later, in the Central Hall of Parliament floral tributes were paid at the portrait of the late leader by MPs and Congress Working Committee members.

Small of stature, soft-spoken and unassuming, Lal Bahadur Shastri proved to be one of the heroes of of India. A great general in Gandhi's army of peaceful soldiers of freedom, he became the symbol of India's valour and self-respect. He was conferred the Bharat Ratna.

The singer, through her melodious voice, gave the message of brotherhood among the various religious communities. ''Hindus fight in the name of Ram, Muslims fight in the name of Rahim, but none of them know Religion,'' she said.

She ended the ceremony by singing famous song 'Vaishno jan to' which made the gathering remember the father of nation Mahatma Gandhi.

''Gone was the war hero and the messenger of peace, gone was the great statesman who restored India her honour and self-respect in the assembly of nations. Such was this man who had lived in our midst. He belongs to the race of heroes of India,'' said Ms Apra, one of the attendees of the ceremony.

UNI

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