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      Lok Nayak JP Narayan was a freedom fighter of India, social reformer, political thinker, political leader and a gentleman.  He was well respected by all political parties and people.   He is famous for the role he played with Janata Party during the infamous emergency period and later during 1970s.  He was one of the prominent leaders that brought down Indian National Congress from power and brought Janata Party to power after the emergency.  Now Indian government proposes to celebrate this day as “Save Democracy Day”.

    He was born on 11th October, 1902 in Sitadiara village in Bihar in a not-so-rich family.   He was very brilliant in academics and a good reader.   Like great persons, he was impressed with stories of valour of Rajuput Kings and Bhagawd Gita.  He married very early in his life at the age of 18 yrs, a freedom fighter “Prabhavati Devi”.   She lived in Mahatma Gandhi’s ashram in Gujrat participating freedom struggles and social activities of Kasturba Gandhi.   She participated in the activities of the Ashram.

   He was impressed by Maulana Azad and left English school and joined Vidyapeeth run by the Congress.  In 1922 JP went to USA to Berkley.  He did a lot of small and odd jobs to fund his studies himself.   He was a hard worker.  He plucked grapes, washed dishes, taught lessons, sold articles and worked as a mechanic repairing automobiles.  He completed BA and MA in politics, economics and Sociology.  He studied in the universities of Berkeley, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio state Univ.  He was impressed by Marxism,  M.N. Roy and Rajani Palme Dutt.

    He returned to India in 1929 as more of a Marxist.
  He joined the Indian National Congress on the call of Pandit J L Nehru.  Gandhiji was his mentor and guide.  He was jailed many times during the independence struggle.  He was tortured by British, unlike other national leaders.  He participated in activities along with Ram Manohar Lohia, Minoo Masaani, Ashok Mehta, and Yusuf Desai.   He was jailed during the civil disobedience movement initiated by Gandhiji in 1932.  Then he became the general secretary of the new “Congress Socialist Party”, within the Congress party.

   During the Quit India movement in August 1942, he participated at the frontline as one of its leaders.  He along with Yogendra Shukla and others escaped the Jail to start underground activities for Freddom struggle.   After the death of Gandhiji, CSP became the first socialist opposition party to ruling congress, due to the differences in the political philosophies, capitalism vs socialism.

     In 1960s he participated in the politics of Bihar.  He was called to participate in a national movement in Gujrat.  In 1970s He called for change in the people and politics when there was a lot of selfishness, corruption, inflation, shortage of food and supplies of essential commodities and exploitation by public servants, middlemen and contractors.

    During 1960s and 1970s, he called for a “Sampoorna Kranti” in the Indian political system.  He wanted the political and administration system to be cleaned from corruption and illegality.  He was a fearless person who had fought Mrs Indira Gandhi against the National Emergency in 1975.  He was also jailed by congress government.

   He was called Lok Nayak for his credible work for people in terms of social reforms of the ignorant and innocent people of Bihar and India.  He was a people’s man and not after power for power’s sake.   He was more of an Independent activist.  He remained a selfless leader even after independence and did not exploit people with his popularity.

    One of his famous quotes is “True politics is about promotion of human happiness.”   What that means is that the politics must be aimed at making the people happy and make their living better.  It should not be aimed at depriving them of freedom taking away their rights and passing laws that create difficulty for them.   The politics must not play with the innocence of people and exploit them.  It should treat people the humanitarian way.  His ideas match mostly with those selfless and God-sent leaders who got independence for India.  He died due to illness on 8th October, 1979.

     JP Narayan was awarded the Bharat Ratna award posthumously in 1999.  He was awarded the Magsaysay award in 1965 for his contributions to people, their causes and social services.  There are many roads, buildings, colonies named after him.   He was a good, honest, friendly and selfless person, who stood for the benefit of Indian people.

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