The next day when the match began, the students got furious to see the policemen. They complained to Shastri that he had gone back on his promise. Smilingly, Shastri told them that he had fully honoured his word as their sole demand was that no red turban should be on the ground. That day, on Shastri’s orders, the policemen were wearing khaki turbans. The students realised that he had played a prank on them and had saved the situation from taking an ugly turn.
In 1964, the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Naik, was very critical of the policies of Prime Minister Shastri for the dearth of food grains in his state. In the same year, the Bombay Municipal Corporation held a reception for Shastri at Kamla Nehru Park. It was a splendid party with dry fruits, sandwiches, coffee, etc. Addressing the people there, Shastri said: “Today one thing has become absolutely clear that there is no problem of eatables in Maharashtra. I have never seen and relished such tasty items in any state.” Naik was all smiles.
Once Shastri attended an inter-university students’ meet. There he entertained the students by telling them various anecdotes. He was almost reduced to tears of laughter when he narrated how once Nehru asked him to accompany him to a function in churidar-pyjama. When he reached home after the function, he found it difficult to take it off!
Addressing Congress workers, Shastri told them that after becoming the Prime Minister he had requested his staff not to buy things to decorate his residence. The old available commodities should be used for the renovation of his residence. But even then, the new flashy carpets were laid out and he wondered how to tread on such soft rugs. This reveals his simplicity as well.
Many times, he himself became the butt of humour. He could laugh at himself. When Pakistan attacked India, Shastri declared in a press conference: “Ayub Saheb would not have attacked India if I had not been short in stature.”
The irrigation and power minister of Uttar Pradesh was also short. Once when he came to welcome Shastri at the airport, Shastri remarked: “Very nice. At least you are my size!”
-- Sanjeev Suri
Lal Bahadur Shastri
Born: October 2, 1904, Mughalsarai
Died: January 11, 1966, Tashkent, Uzbekistan[/img]