Recently, Zee Studios launched a movie trailer named ‘The Tashkent Files’. It revolves around the mysterious death of Lal Bahadur Shastri and throws light on the fact that little attention had been given to this case, until now.
Since the movie will be released in the peak of the election season, here is a propaganda check so that your decision (vote) doesn’t get biased after watching it.
Who was Lal Bahadur Shastri?
Born on 2nd October 1904, Lal Bahadur Shastri was the 2nd Prime Minister of Independent India. He rose to this rank from very humble roots.
When he was just 16, he joined the Non-Cooperation Movement on Mahatma Gandhi’s call. Since then he actively participated in the freedom struggle.
Shastri’s mettle was recognised by the Congress because of which he held several important posts in the Union Cabinet like that of Ministry of Railways, Transport and Communication, Home Ministry etc.
After Pt. Nehru’s death, Lal Bahadur Shastri was asked to fill his seat by the party members.
What makes Shastri so great?
Mr. Lal Bahadur Shastri was a very humble and hardworking man. Even after serving as a Cabinet Minister at the Centre several time, he lived in a rented house.
People used to call him ‘the homeless Home Minister’. Numerous examples of similar kind can be quoted from his life.
He took up the post of Prime Minister of India when the country was not in a comfortable position. We had just lost the Indo-Sino war in 1962.
The public morale was at an all time low and his predecessor had left big shoes to fill, yet he was exceptionally calm and efficient. His 18 months stint as the PM is still a model that politicians fail to follow.
To fight food shortage, he asked the people to skip a meal in the evening. But he did so only after trying it first with his own family.
For long term solution, he laid the foundation for the Green Revolution. Not to forget the slogan, ‘Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan’.
Shastri was of short stature, but was brave; he was soft spoken, but his actions were decisive.
Being a visionary, he saw Pakistan and China teaming up against India after the Indo-Sino war, so he increased the defence budget and tried to modernise Indian army.
During the Indo-Pak war of 1965, Shastri ordered the army to cross the LoC when infiltrators entered India. All this culminated into India’s win over Pakistan.
The Climax of Tashkent
When India and Pakistan were at war, international intervention made the two to agree for ceasefire.
Soviet Union (integrated Russia) mediated peace talks under which the Indian PM, Lal Bahadur Shastri and his Pakistani counterpart, General Ayub Khan went to Tashkent.
Tashkent is currently the capital of Uzbekistan, but back then it was a part of USSR.
Shastri died mysteriously, shortly after signing the peace deal which was not taken well by India as well as Pakistan.
What makes his death so suspicious?
- It was an untimely death
Both his wife and his personal doctor said that he was perfectly healthy.
- Sketchy circumstances
As the movie points out, there was no bell or buzzer in his room.
The government claimed that a post-mortem had not been conducted, but his son revealed that Shastri’s body had multiple cuts, including at his abdomen – which means post-mortem was conducted.
His wife and son revealed that his face was blue, which is an indication of poisoning.
- Death of immediate witnesses
2 witnesses, Shastri’s servant and doctor, who were present around this time died mysteriously too. The former died after said he wanted to reveal something that was burdening him since Shastri’s death while the latter died in a road accident when he was on his way to meet a parliamentary committee.
- CIA and the USA
USA has had a habit of meddling in the matters of other countries.
Back then, India was getting closer to USSR while the USA favoured Pakistan. Remember, this was the Cold War era. India was also developing in the nuclear front which was opposed by the USA.
Shastri played an integral part in both these incidents so the CIA must have thought to nib the evil in the bud before the US’s hegemony could be challenged.
What’s stranger is how prominent Indian nuclear scientists die when India doesn’t have warm relations with USA. For instance, Prof. Homi Bhabha died shortly after Shastri’s death; again, mysteriously.
- Did the Congress conspire?
Another conspiracy theory says that some Nehru loyalists wanted his dynasty to continue, so they killed Shastri.
Personally, I don’t believe in this set of conspirators because Indira Gandhi (she started the perpetuation of Gandhi-Nehru dynasty) was not active in the political scene, it was Shastri who himself made her a Cabinet Minister.
Also, before becoming the PM, Indira Gandhi wanted to be transferred to the high commission of England to be close to her sons.
So why would the party cadres do something against the wish of their ‘monarch’?
Another theory says that Shastri was going to reveal that Subhash Chandra Bose was alive, which was against the will of the Congress, so he was killed.
RTI or Right To Information (passed by the Congress) aims to increase transparency in the working of the government.
A scene in the movie shows that no one responded to the RTI. If the movie blames any party (before 2014 means Congress and after means BJP) then remember that it was probably due to the fact that RTIs are not answered if they come under the domain of internal/ external security, relations with other countries etc.
A person did file one such petition and was told by the PMO that the file cannot be disclosed because it might hamper India’s relation with some countries. This reinstigates my belief in the CIA conspiracy theory.
Anyway, the better thing is people’s awareness about RTI will increase.
We will get to know if the movie is truly politically motivated only after watching the movie.
By that time remember these facts in case any hashtag related to the movie trends on Twitter and you feel obliged to tweet in the name of nationalism.
Image Credits: Google Images
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