“This typical Lutyen’s Bunglow at 1, Motilal Nehru place was the home of Lal Bahadur Shashtri since 1952 untill he passed away in Tashkent on 11th January, 1966. He lived here as a minister in the Government of India holding important portfolios like Railways, Communication, Commerce and Industry, and Home. In 1964 on assuming charge as India’s second Prime Minister he decided to live in this bunglow instead of shifting to a bigger house. The personality of Lal Bahadur Shashtri is intimately connected with the memorial dedicated to him. The building represents the life and work of Lal Bahadur Shashtri”
-Lal Bahadur Shashtri Memorial Authority
A unique memorial situated on 1, Motilal Nehru Place, New Delhi, is the Lal Bahadur Shastri’s memorial which pays homage to the great Shastriji; the second prime minister of India after Independence. The memorial after its renovations was inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime minister of India on 7th May, 2005.
Lal Bahadur Shastri had died in his office while he was negotiating peace in Tashkent, USSR, in 1966. And this Lutyen building, where Shastriji with his family had resided for 14 years was converted into a memorial to help reflect Shastrijis personality. His simplicity and humble nature can be felt in each and every corner and space of the building.
The memorial building along with Shastrij’s personal belongings also portrays his very traditional background and represents how his hard work, sincerity, integrity and commitment helped him climb up the ladder of success. Along with him his wife and better half Lalita Shastri’s contribution in his life is too is reflected. The whole building space is an amalgamation of the both Shastriji’s and Lalita Shastri’s personality merged together.
The building is covered on the outer by a big lawn, which also consists of an Orchard, a badminton court, a mandap that have Shastriji’s imprints. The Lawn was the place where Shastriji met people and discussed various matters, another section under the shadow of the trees was a more private lawn where he met his officials and did his paper works. The Orchard is a symbol of Lal Bahadur Shastri’s popular message for the Nation- ‘JAI JAWAN JAI KISAN’. At the back portico, his famous fiat car (1964 model) purchased by him against a loan from the Punjab National Bank, is displayed.
The building’s inner space is divided into multiple separate rooms, which are now transformed into display rooms to show the intimate personal ambience of Shastrijis with his belongings. The rooms reflect his very traditional and humble background from which he never did away. The interiors consist of a drawing room at the front, an anteroom, a bedroom, with a private verandah at the rear of the building.
Another section has a small bedroom with a cot and very simple furniture that totally denotes Shastriji’s ideal of simple living and High thinking. Other room includes Lalita Shastri’s prayer hall, her kitchen; restored to maintain its originality.
Some other interior spaces displays various other things relating with his socio-political life also portraying his foreign relations through photographs, souvenirs, art objects etc. Again, another section wholly displays Shastriji’s personal things including his Khadi dresses, a woolen coat gifted to him by Jawaharlal Nehru, a pen, his wooden slippers, pen and other valuable personal things.
There is also a office chamber with his desk and chair where he used to do his official work. And many important decisions were taken by Shastriji seated on that desk. Lal Bahadur Shastri because of his extraordinary contribution to the nation was honored with the highest award of Bharat Ratna.