When whole India started 'fasting' at the behest of Shastri Ji, but did not give up 'self-respect'

After the death of the country's first PM Jawaharlal Nehru in 1964, Lal Bahadur Shastri took over as the PM. But during his tenure, due to excessive rainfall and drought somewhere, there was a food crisis in the country. At that time America offered to give food grains to India with some conditions. Shastri Ji knew that if he took food grains from America, then the self-respect of the country would be badly broken. In such a situation, he asked his family to fast one day. His wife and children including Shastri Ji did not eat anything for the whole day. This convinced Shastri that even if food is not eaten for a day, a person can tolerate hunger. After experimenting on the family, he called upon the countrymen in this regard.

Shastri Ji told the people of the country that to maintain the self-respect of India, we have to work with the grain available to the country. We cannot spread our hands in front of any country. If we accept the offer of food grains by any country, then it will be a big blow to the country's self-respect. That is why the countrymen should fast for one day a week. With this, the country will save so much food grains that till the next harvest, the availability of food grains will remain in the country. He called upon the countrymen and said, 'Tie a rope on the stomach, eat more greens and vegetables, fast once a day in a week, give respect to the country.'

His call had a great impact on the countrymen. People without hesitation believed their PM's call and gave up one meal a week to save the country's self-respect. From cities to villages and towns, women, children, men, the elderly all endured hunger and sacrificed their share in this "grain sacrifice" for the nation. No one complained, no one questioned. Even those whose homes had enough grain would fast and starve for the nation. After all, the whole of India lived with self-respect till the next crop came and there was no need to take food grains from any other country.

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