Just near the small artificial lake extreme north of landscaped gardens is Vijay Ghat, where India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri was cremated in 1966. Born in 1901, he was a great statesman and freedom fighter who led many defiant campaigns and spent a total of seven years in British jails. ‘Shastri’ was the bachelor’s degree awarded to him by the Kashi Vidya Peeth of Varanasi for his academic accomplishments. Remembered for his popular slogan ‘Jai Jawan and Jai Kisan’, he played a very constructive role in the governance of the country after independence. Acknowledged as a man of great integrity and competence, he occupied various important positions before finally becoming the head of the government. He was a man of vision who led the country towards socio-economic progress. It was due to his great inner strength and resolve that India emerged victorious in 1965 war against Pakistan.
This ‘little dynamo of a man’ died of a heart attack in 1966 when he went on to a peace mission to Tashkent, Russia. His last rites were performed at Vijay Ghat, which is also known as ‘Victory Bank’. He was the first person to be posthumously awarded the prestigious award ‘Bharat Ratna’. Known for his honesty and humbleness throughout his life, Lal Bahadur Shastri represented the common citizen of the country.