Why first class arrangements for third class person: Lal Bahadur Shastri, India’s most humble PM

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Today amidst the talk of shunning the Lal Batti culture, one must not forget that Lal Bahadur Shastri whose birth anniversary we are celebrating today was the most humble Prime Minister of India.

Lal Bahadur Shastri

There are various instances to show that Shastri hated the VIP culture and remained a modest PM through his tenure. There was one instance when he had to cancel a visit to a state. The CM of the state begged Shastri not to cancel the programme and said that he had made first class arrangements. However Shastri refused to oblige and said, " why do you make first class arrangements for a third class person."

During the 1964 Pakistan war there was acute food shortage. The US had threatened India that it would cut off supplies. This is when Shastri told all members of his family that for a week none shall cook a meal in the evening.

Speaking of his modesty, it must be noted that Shastri who passed away in 1966 had no house or land in his name. He had a government loan which he had obtained to buy a fiat car after he became the Prime Minister. The loan was repaid by his wife using the family pension.

There was another instance when Shastri deposited money into the government's account. This he did after his son used his official car.

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