Saluting Lal Bahadur Shastriji

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Remembering him through some of his childhood stories (collected from resources with heartfelt credits to the creators)

Strong and Self-respecting:

Courage and self-respect were two virtues, which took deep root in him from his childhood. While in Kashi, he went with his friends to see a fair on the other bank of the Ganga. On the way back he had no money for the boat fare. His self-respect did not allow him to ask his friends for money. He slipped from their company without their knowledge. His friends forgot him in their talk and boarded the boat. When the boat had moved away, Lal Bahadur jumped into the river; as his friends watched breathlessly he swam to the other bank safely.
Though Lal Bahadur was, a man of small build, he was unusually strong. His moral strength was even greater. As in water so in life he swam quite successfully. Twice he was about to be drowned but was saved. It is said that when he was saved the second time, he had his teacherís three-year-old baby on his shoulders.
Lal Bahadur acquired virtues like boldness, love of adventure, patience, self-control, courtesy and selflessness in his-childhood.
Even as a boy he loved to read books. He read whatever books he came across, whether he understood them or not. He was fond of Guru Nanak's verses.
He used to repeat the following lines often:
"0 Nanak! Be tiny like grass,
For other plants will whither away, but grass will remain ever green."

A Lesson:

An incident, which took place when he was six years old, seems to have left a deep mark on his mind. Once he went to an orchard with his friends. He was standing below while his friends climbed the trees. He plucked a flower from a bush.
The gardener came in the meantime and saw Lal Bahadur. The boys on the trees climbed down and ran away. The gardener caught Lal Bahadur. He beat him severely.
Lal Bahadur wept and said, "I am orphan. Do not beat me."
The gardener smiled with pity and said, "Because you are an orphan, you must learn better behavior, my boy."
The words of the gardener had a great effect on him. He swore to him, "I shall behave better in future. Because I am an orphan I must learn good behavior."
Though short he was not timid at school. All boys were friendly with him. Like the grass he always looked fresh and smiling. Not only during his school days but also in his later life he did not hate anyone. It seems he used to act in plays at school. He played the role of Kripacharya in the play 'Mahabharatha'. Kripacharya was in the court of Duryodhana and yet was loved by the Pandavas. Lal Bahadur Shastri had acquired the same worth.

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