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.
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
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,
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.