My last shake hands with Shastri ji

Prof. Bhim Singh


It was probably January 6, 1966 when I called on the Indian Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri at his residence in New Delhi. I had managed to dodge Jammu Police following me with arrest warrant under National Security Act. I was the Chief Organizer of Indian Students’ Congress in J&K which had organized a campaign to destroy school textbooks in J&K carrying a chapter for the students which read that J&K was an independent state and situated in the north of India. The Students’ Congress had collected tones of school textbooks carrying this chapter and made bonfire of them in the Parade Ground, Jammu. Times of India had carried the story on the front page. I also called on Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the then President of India with the school textbooks which were taught in the Govt. Schools in J&K with the abovementioned remarks. The President of India expressed his surprise and appreciated my efforts to take up that cause in the national interest. It was the President who had advised me to meet the Prime Minister in this regard.

When I met Shastri ji I also gave a presentation to him on the corrupt ministers in J&K. Shastri ji told me that he was leaving for Tashkent, USSR and advised me to stay back in Delhi till his return from Tashkent. When I told Shastri ji that I had nowhere to stay in Delhi and that I could not go to Jammu because the J&K Govt. was after my blood. I remember that a senior journalist associated with the Current English Weekly published from Bombay was standing there. Shastri ji told him to talk to me on the situation in J&K. (Later the Current had carried a full-page story).

Shastri ji introduced me to Shri Gupta ji (I didn’t collect his full name) a sitting Member of Parliament who was standing there with the Prime Minister. Shastri ji told Gupta ji to look after me during my stay with him. Gupta ji was staying in South Block. Shastri ji further told me that I should stay with Gupta ji in Delhi till his return from Tashkent.

It was in the morning of 11th January, 1966 when Gupta ji gave me the shocking news that Shastri ji was no more as he died in mysterious circumstances in Tashkent.

I visited Shastri ji’s house to join the family in their pain and agony. His elder son Hari Shastri treated me as a brother and I remained in touch with the whole family for several years.

I had no alternative, no one to support me and therefore I finally took up a train after couple of days for Pathankote to reach Jammu. The Jammu police arrested me on reaching Jammu. I moved a writ petition in the Supreme Court from the special jail Jammu (This jail at Canal Road was originally established for Sheikh Abdullah and his colleague Mirza Afzal Beg during their trial). It was on the direction of the Supreme Court that I was released from the Special Jail after eight months’ detention.

My experiments with practicing National Integration being a resident of J&K never came to an end. It started in 1959 when I was put in jail by the then Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohd. for having demanded equitable treatment to the children of the refugees from Pakistan and POK studying in the Govt. Colleges in Jammu.

It is an interesting experiment of life that I was in Aligarh District Jail in 1965 when Indo-Pak war broke out after Pakistan dropped its troopers and commandoes in J&K to fight India. I was Secretary of the AMU Students’ Action Committee seeking protection of the minority status of the University. About 150 student leaders were jailed including myself. After about eight months in jail, I was released by the orders of the Allahabad High Court. I was not allowed to enter the University as all the jailed students appeared in the Final Examination from behind the bars and they were not allowed to enter the University premises. I left for Jammu where the Students Congress was carrying a campaign against corruption and disparity.

Shastri ji was a great leader I had ever met in my life who had given me inspiration to continue my fight against corruption and for strengthening the bonds of National Integration. My last shake hand on January 6, 1966 with Shastri ji the then Prime Minister of India remains a lasting imprint in my memory. One of the reasons in my life to continue fight against injustice, corruption and anti-national elements has been Shastri ji’s last shake hand in 1966.


NPP pays tributes to Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Describes him as the greatest saintly leader

PP activists paid tributes to the second Prime Minister of India, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri on his 48th death anniversary. Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri died in a mysterious death in Tashkent, USSR on the night between 10/11th January, 1966 after signing Tashkent Agreement with General Ayyub Khan, military dictator of Pakistan. Shri Shastri was the only leader of India who had re-conquered Indian Territory in J&K from Pakistan in 1965. He was the only leader in India who raised the slogan for the glory of farmers and soldiers. ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’ shall be everlasting and ever-living slogan on the political history of India which was glorified by Lal Bahadur Shastri himself.

Addressing the memorial meeting on the 48th death anniversary of the second Prime Minister, Prof. Bhim Singh, Chief Patron of NPP described Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri as a noble saint in Indian politics who lived in poverty and died in rags yet the foot-prints which he has left for the coming generations in India shall remain a living strength to inspire the people of India and the world. Prof. Bhim Singh reminded NPP activists about his last shake hand with Shastri ji on 6th January, 1966 in New Delhi while Shastri was getting ready to depart for Tashkent Summit.

The Panthers Party leaders appealed to the youth of the country to imbibe that political and human culture which Shastri ji left for us as a legacy. Had Shastri survived for a decade the entire J&K situation would have been resolved with honour and dignity.

The meeting was presided over by Delhi Pradesh National Panthers Party President, Mr. Rajiv Jolly Khosla, others who addressed the memorial meeting Mrs. Sudesh Dogra, Sahdev Singh, Hem Raj, Ghanshyam, Suram Chand Sharma and others.

Bhim Singh invites AAP Legislators to join a school for fresh legislators’ schooling

Prof. Bhim Singh, Chief Patron of National Panthers Party in a communication to Delhi’s fresh Chief Minister Mr. Arvind Kejriwal has offered free coaching/schooling for AAP legislators in Delhi relating to the responsibilities, duties and conduct of business in the house. Prof. Bhim Singh has been one among the best parliamentarians during his two tenures as a Member of the Legislative Assembly and one tenure as a Member of the Legislative Council. He has also conducted coaching for the legislators in J&K, Punjab, Delhi and other states.

Prof. Bhim Singh has conveyed to Shri Kejriwal that the AAP legislators have been facing difficult time to deal with their function and duties as such and need to undergo serious exercise in picking up the Code of Conduct essential for the legislators inside and outside the Legislature. He also felt that a government after swearing to uphold the dignity of the Constitution should have acted otherwise in accordance with the rule of law to run a smooth governance to deliver goods to the public. He said that demonstrating/conducting government business on the streets would not behoove the ministers who have been lawfully chosen/appointed as ministers. The legislators/ministers have to function differently when they hold the office of a minister than when they sit in the opposition benches.

Prof. Bhim Singh in his invitation to Mr. Kejriwal said that he shall be holding free coaching for Saturday and Sunday in the afternoon for the fresh legislators so that they can come to the expectations of the people.