New Delhi: Lal Bahadur Shastri, who served as the Prime Minister of India from 1964 to 1966, passed away on January 11, 1966. His sudden demise is one of the most talked about things about him.
Shastri was born into a poor household on October 2, 1904 and got interested in India’s freedom struggle at a young age. He was greatly impressed by Mahatma Gandhi and decided to give up his studies to join the Non-Cooperation Movement.
Known as a man of discipline, integrity and extreme will power, Shastri supported the cause of the common man and the farmers. He gave the slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ along with many others. He even held several portfolios in the Union Cabinet after the Independence.
Let’s look at why the manner of his death continues to be spoken about even today, 56 years after he passed away.
It is believed that Shastri suffered a massive heart attack that led to his death in Russia’s Tashkent where he signed a peace agreement between India and Pakistan post the 1965 war.
But, the story of his death continues to be shrouded in mystery as the government refuses to release any documents related to his death. This led to people coming up with their own conspiracy theories regarding Shastri’s death but the government remained tight lipped.
Lal Bahadur Shastri’s son and senior Congress leader Anil Shastri requested the government to declassify all documents related to the death of his father including the findings of the Raj Narain Committee, which was constituted in 1977 to look into the mysterious death of the leader. His efforts however failed to yield any results.
In 2019 a film titled ‘The Tashkent Files’ by Vivek Agnihotri aimed to uncover the mystery of his death. The film had Shweta Basu Prasad, Mithun Chakraborty, Naseeruddin Shah and Pankaj Tripathi in the lead roles.
Agnihotri found it strange that India, the biggest democracy in the world, has no information and documents to uncover the mystery behind Shastri’s death.
Agnihotri reportedly said, “This issue has been raised in the Parliament for the last 50 years and yet, we are trying to find out the truth. I picked up the gauntlet and tried finding the truth, and hence I filed RTIs, but I was shattered. The RTI said there is no information”.
As we witness the 56th death anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri, we still do not have answers to questions related to his death.