“Lal Bahadur Shastri : A Life of Truth in Politics:” by C.P. Srivastava

I was in my teens when Lal Bahdur Shastri served as India’s Prime Minister, the second to hold this high office, becoming Prime Minister at a time when the million dollar question was, “Who can step into the huge shoes left by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru?” It’s only after reading, “Lal Bahadur Shastri: A Life of Truth in Politics” by his long time aide C P Srivastava, a senior Officer of the Indian Administrative Service, that I now realize how little we knew of this great man.  This book was first published in 1995 and has been re-published recently.

Lal Bahadur was by nature modest and humble which perhaps made him seem more effacing than he actually was. Added to this he was only 5′ 2″ in height, which made him seem diminutive when he stood with other world leaders of his time. To start with I didn’t know his family name was Verma and that Shastri was actually a title accorded to him when he passed the “Shastri” degree examination in the first division in 1925 . Srivastava writes, “On the basis of this degree “Shastri” was added to his name. It was an educational suffix, which in course of time became assimilated to his name. He now came to be known to the world at large as Lal Bahadur Shastri, or just Shastri.”  Continue reading ““Lal Bahadur Shastri : A Life of Truth in Politics:” by C.P. Srivastava”

“JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA & The Sino-Indian War” by Bruce Riedel

Historians, writers and the American people, at large, have given more attention to the Bay of Pigs incident and the Cuban crisis during John F. Kennedy’s presidency than the happenings in  South East Asia, especially the Sino-Indian War of 1962. This was only to be expected as the Cuban crisis saw the two global super powers, the United States and the then USSR virtually on the brink of a nuclear war. However, as Bruce Riedel writes in his book, events in far away South Asia nearly dragged the US into another conflict, this time between the two most populous countries in the World, China and India. Riedel has therefore very aptly named his book, ” JFK’s Forgotten Crisis: Tibet, the CIA  & The Sino-Indian War.” This will soon be published by the Brookings Institution Press.

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