The greatness of Lal Bahadur was
that he maintained his self-respect 'even in prison. Once when he was in prison, one of
his daughters fell seriously ill. The officers agreed to let him out for a short time but
on condition that he should agree in writing not to take part in the freedom 'movement
during this period. Lal Bahadur did not wish to participate in the freedom movement during
his temporary release from prison; but he said that he would not give it in writing. He
thought that it was against his self-respect to give it in writing. The officers knew that
he was truthful. Therefore they did not insist. Lal Bahadur was released for fifteen days.
But his daughter died before he, reached home. After performing the obsequies he
returned to his prison even before the expiry of the period.
A year passed. His son was laid up with influenza this time. Lal Bahadur was permitted
unconditionally to go home for a week. But the fever did not come down in a week. Lal
Bahadur got ready to go back to prison. The boy pleaded dumbly with his tearful eyes.
In a weak voice he urged his father to stay.
For a moment the father's mind was shaken. Tears rolled down from his eyes.
But the next moment his decision was made. He bade good bye to all and left his home
for prison. His son survived.
Two qualities, which the leader of any nation must have, are devotion and efficiency.
Lal Bahadur had both the qualities in a large measure. He would not swerve from his aim,
come what may. When the people of India. Were fighting for freedom he brushed aside all
thought of personal happiness and plunged into the freedom struggle. His daughter'sdeath,
his son's illness, poverty - none of these made him swerve from his selection path. Even
when he became a minister and, later, the Prime Minister he was never attracted to a life
of luxury and comfort.