Lal Bahadur Shastri

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Shastri, Lal Bahadur

 

Born Oct. 2, 1904, in Mughalsarai, now in the state of Uttar Pradesh; died Jan. 11, 1966, in Tashkent. Indian statesman and politician.

Shastri was the son of a teacher. He was educated at a university in Varanasi (Benares) and took part in the national liberation struggle. As a follower of M. Gandhi and a comrade of J. Nehru, Shastri quickly moved into the ranks of the leadership of the Indian National Congress Party (INCP). From 1935 to 1938, Shastri served as general secretary of the INCP committee in Uttar Pradesh, and he became the party’s general secretary in 1951. After India won its independence in 1947, Shastri served in several ministerial positions in the central government from 1952 to 1963. After the death of Nehru, Shastri became the leader of a parliamentary faction of the INCP; in June 1964 he became prime minister, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission, and chairman of the Planning Commission. In 1965 he made an official visit to the USSR. Shastri died in Tashkent, where he was attending a meeting between the Indian and Pakistani heads of state that had been called to mediate the Indian-Pakistani conflict.