Jayaprakash Narayan



     October 8 marked the 42nd death anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan.

    Image Courtesy:mkgandhi.org


    • He was a freedom fighter of great courage and one of the pioneers of the socialist movement in the country. 
    • Early Life: He was born on  October 11, 1902 in Sitabdiara, a quiet village susceptible to floods, situated near the confluence of the Ganga and Saryu rivers, nearly 118 km from Patna. 
    • Jayaprakash Narayan whose name means, “Victory to the light” was born in the early hours of October 11, 1902 in the remote Bihar village of Sitabdiara
      • Thereafter, his family moved to a small village in Uttar Pradesh’s Balia district.
    • Education : He was a brilliant student. He completed his matriculation with distinction, but quit college to take part in the non-cooperation movement.
    • He later went to the University of California, Berkeley, where he was exposed to Marxism. 
    • JP returned to India in 1929, influenced by Marxism and radical thought to some extent and joined the Indian National Congress (Congress Party).
    • Contributions in freedom struggle  :  In 1932 he was sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for his participation in the civil disobedience movement against British rule in India. 
      • Upon release he took a leading part in the formation of the Congress Socialist Party, a left-wing group within the Congress Party, the organization that led the campaign for Indian independence. 
      • He was imprisoned by the British again in 1939 for his opposition to Indian participation in World War II on the side of Britain, but he subsequently made a dramatic escape and for a short time tried to organize violent resistance to the government before his recapture in 1943.
      • In 1948 he, together with most of the Congress Socialists, left the Congress Party and in 1952 formed the Praja Socialist Party
      • Soon becoming dissatisfied with party politics, he announced in 1954 that he would thenceforth devote his life exclusively to the Bhoodan Yajna Movement, founded by Vinoba Bhave, which demanded that land be distributed among the landless. 
        • He galvanised support for the Bhoodan movement, worked relentlessly for the poor and the underprivileged and, above all, became a symbol of the national conscience in the fight against corruption, anti-democratic conduct and repressive practices of Indira Gandhi’s government in the 1970s. 
      • He grew from socialism to Sarvodaya, becoming the leader of resistance against a repressive, anti-democratic regime. 
      • He set up the Azaad Dasta in the Terai region of Nepal to resist British rule.
      • Narayan, who had launched a ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ (total revolution) in 1974 against corruption in public life, is the third person to get the prestigious award this year.

    Awards and Honours

    • Socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan was posthumously conferred with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, for his “invaluable contribution to the freedom struggle and upliftment of the poor and downtrodden”.