Freely translated, Lal Bahadur Shastri means "Graduate Brave Jewel." He was born in 1904, the second son of a minor tax collector in the vil lage of Mughal Sarai, near the holy city of Benares. His father died when he was an infant. The child belonged to the Kayasth caste, who were disdained as quislings by other Hindus because they became clerks and officials under the Moslem rule of the conquering Mogul emperors. Their reputation for shrewdness is so great that an Indian saying runs, "If you meet a Kayasth and a serpent, kill the Kayasth first."

Lal Bahadur showed little of...

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