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From the archives if the Hindustan Times: January 13

Important and interesting stories from HT Chronicles.

chronicles Updated: Jan 13, 2020 15:02 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
(HT file)

Gandhiji decides to fast from today (1948)

Mahatma Gandhi has resolved to go on fast for an indefinite period to bring about a change of heart among the people leading to real communal harmony in the country.

In his message read at the prayer meeting yesterday, he said that the calm restored by military and police action was only apparent because there was “storm within the breast” which might burst forth any day.

The fast begins today and will end when and if Gandhiji is satisfied that there is a reunion of hearts of all communities brought about by an awakened sense of duty.

The following is the text of Gandhiji’s message .

One fasts for health’s sake under laws governing health, fasts as a penance for a wrong done and felt as such. In these fasts, the fasting one ‘need not believe in ahimsa. There is, however a fast which a votary of non-violence sometimes feels impelled to undertake by way of protest against some wrong done by society and this he does when he, as a votary of ahimsa, has no other remedy left.

Such an occasion has come my way. When on September 9 I returned to Delhi from Calcutta, it was to proceed to West Punjab. But that was not to be. Gay Delhi looked a city of the dead. As I alighted from the train I observed gloom on every face I saw Even the Sardar, whom humour and the joy that humour gives never desert, was no exception this time.

The cause of it I did not know. He was on the platform to receive me. He lost no time in giving me the sad news of the disturbances that had taken place in the metropolis of the Union. At once I saw that I had to be in Delhi and do or die.

Shastri cremated near Shanti Vana (1966)


New Delhi- Thousands sobbed, many stood with heads bowed, others raised folded hands in respectful tribute as the body of the late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, was consigned to fire on the banks of the Jumna here today (January 12).

As the flames leapt from the sandalwood pile, enveloping the mortal remains of the late Prime Minister, there were anguished cries of “Lal Bahadur amar rahe.”

At 12-32 Mr Shastri’s eldest son, Mr. Hari Kishan lit the funeral pyre as the small arms fired three volleys in salute. Officers and men of the three Services, headed by the Chiefs of Staff, stood to attention and the army buglers sounded the Last Post. Priests chanted hymns from ancient scriptures.

Under a nearby shamiana world leaders looked sadly on as the last rites were performed. President Radhakrishnan led the mourners.

Earlier, it had taken three hours to bring the gun-carriage carrying the late Prime Minister’s body from his official residence to the cremation ground. It was a sad, solemn journey-his last.

Over a million had thronged the ground around the cremation site near Shanti Vana, while another million had lined the six-mile route of the funeral procession from No. 10 Jan Path.

Touching moment

About noon, the gun-carriage halted a few yards from the cremation platform. The bier was gently taken off by senior army officers and carried reverentially to the sandalwood pyre. The bearer party saluted and withdrew. It was a touching moment. Close relatives broke down and some of them had to be taken away by consoling friends. According to the ancient Hindu custom, Mrs Lalita Shhastri was not present at the time of cremation, but Mr. Shastri’s daughters and daughter-in-law were there.

The religious rites were conducted by the family head priest, Shri Raja Ram from Allahabad, assisted by Goswami Girdharilal of the Lakshmi Narain Temple, Delhi. Mr. Hari Kishan, with folded hands and bowed head, went round the pyre thrice. Prime Minister Nanda was among those who saluted the departed leader for the last time.

Mujib takes over as Prime Minister (1972)


Dacca- Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rehman stepped down from office as the nation’s first President and assumed office as Prime Minister today (January 12) in a chain of developments underlining the democratic character of the Government of Bangla Desh.

In a 90-minute ceremony this evening in the palatial lounge of Banga Bhavan, the entire structure of the Government went through vital and significant changes in the presence of members of diplomatic missions in the national capital, a large number of members of the Constituent Assembly and the world Press.

Mr. Justice Abu Sayeed Choudhury, who was leader of Bangla Desh delegation to the United Nations and Bangla Desh’s roving ambassador, was sworn in as the nation’s second President after Bangabandhu’s resignation was formally announced by the Cabinet Secretary, Mr. H. Z. Imam.

The new 12 member Cabinet headed by Sheikh Mujibur Rehman included all the outgoing members of the Ministry led by Mr. Tajuddin Ahmed, besides inducting the former Acting President Syed Nazrul Islam and Dr Kamal Hussain, constitutional adviser and close associate of the Sheikh. Dr Hussain was also in captivity in Pakistan and was released along with the Sheikh.

The day’s development, which began with the swearing-in of the new Chief Justice of the Bangla Desh High Court, Mr A. S. H. Sayeed, and ended with the complete reshuffle of the Government, came in the wake of the Provisional Constitution of Bangla Desh Order, 1972, which anchored the nation to a parliamentary form of democracy with a constitutional Head of State acting in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister.