Gandhi made Lal Bahadur, Shastri


 

Anagha Telang

Second of October is the Birthday of two Indian legends. Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and the second Prime Minister of India Lal Bahadaur Shastri. 

Although Gandhi was 35 years old when Shastri was born, but Gandhi played a major role in shapping the life of this prominent leader. 


Shastri as Gandhi's Student

Shastri's family had no link with the independence struggle of the country but Shastri as a teenager took deep interest in it. his school teacher  Nishkameshwar Prasad Mishra was intenselly patriotic and imspired by his patriotism, Shastri took a deep interest in the freedom struggle, and began to study its history and the works of several of its noted personalities, including those of Swami Vivekananda, Gandhi and Annie Besant. 

In January 1921, when Shastri was in the 10 standard and three months from sitting the final examinations, he attended a public meeting in Benares hosted by Gandhi and Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya. Inspired by the Mahatma's call for students to withdraw from government schools and join the non-cooperation movement, Shastri withdrew from Harish Chandra the next day and joined the local branch of the Congress Party as a volunteer, actively participating in picketing and anti-government demonstrations. He was soon arrested and jailed, but was then let off as he was  a minor.

Shastri's immediate supervisor was a former Benares Hindu University lecturer named J.B. Kripalani, who would become one of the most prominent leaders of the Indian independence movement and among Gandhi's closest followers. Recognising the need for the younger volunteers to continue their educations, Kripalani and a friend, V.N. Sharma, had founded an informal school centered around "nationalist education" to educate the young activists in their nation's heritage. With the support of a wealthy philanthropist and ardent Congress nationalist, Shiv Prasad Gupta, the Kashi Vidyapith was inaugurated by Gandhi in Benares as a national institution of higher education on 10 February 1921. Among the first students of the new institution, Shastri graduated with a first-class degree in philosophy and ethics from the Vidyapith in 1925. He was given the title Shastri ("scholar"). The title was a bachelor's degree awarded by the Vidyapith, but it stuck as part of his name.


Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth 

Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith is a public university located in Varanasi Uttar Pradesh, India. It was established in 1921 as Kashi Vidyapith and later renamed, it is administered under the state legislature of the government of Uttar Pradesh. The university has more than 400 affiliated colleges spread over six districts. It is one of the largest state universities in Uttar Pradesh, with hundreds of thousands of students, both rural and urban. It offers a range of professional and academic courses in arts, science, commerce, law, computers and management. 

Babu Shiv Prasad Gupta and Bhagwan Das established the university in Varanasi, on 10 February 1921, during the non-cooperation movement of the freedom struggle. Originally named Kashi Vidyapith, the university was renamed Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith in 1995. It was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi. 

Inspired by Gandhi's call for self-reliance and swaraj, the Kashi Vidyapith was the first modern university organised by Indians in British India. The university was outside the control and support of British authorities, supported and managed entirely by Indian nationalists and educationalists. Attracting young Indians from across the country, its faculty included prominent nationalists and scholars such as Acharya Narendra Dev, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, Jivatram Kripalani, Babu Shriprakash and Babu Sampurnanand. Gandhi and Indian nationalists encouraged Indians to boycott British-run institutions in favour of institutions managed entirely by Indians. Many prominent Indian industrialists and politicians provided financial and administrative support to the university.

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