Today in History


Jayaprakash Narayan (Hindi:जयप्रकाश नारायण,Jayprakāśh Narāyan) (11 October 1902 – 8 October 1979), widely known as JP Narayan, Jayaprakash, or Loknayak, was an Indian independence activist and political leader, remembered especially for leading the opposition to Indira Gandhi in the 1970s and for giving a call for peaceful Total Revolution. His biography, Jayaprakash, was written by his nationalist friend and an eminent writer of Hindi literature, Ramavriksha Benipuri. In 1999, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in recognition of his social work. Other awards include the Magsaysay award for Public Service in 1965. The airport of Patna is also named after him.

Jayprakash (J.P.) Narayan was born on 11 October 1902 in the village of Sitabdiara, Saran Chhapra, Bihar, India. He came from a middle-class Kayastha family. He was Harsu Dayal and Phul Rani Devi’s fourth child. His father had boasted about J.P., “My son will be a great man, some day.” When J.P. was 9 years old he left his village to enroll in 7th class of the collegiate school at Patna. He was a serious student and by 1918 completed school and undertook the ‘State Public Matriculation Examination’ and won a District merit scholarship to Patna college. J.P. was not very religious but he began to read regularly some of the most basic Hindu scriptures starting with Bhagavada Gita, deriving heroic inspiration from the great battle of the Mahabharata described in the book which enlightens the concept that the essence of man is immortal. J.P. then also acquired a “Swadeshi” (indigenous) attitude, using handmade village shoes instead of the British manufactured ones and cleaning them with Indian mustard oil instead of with British shoe polish. He dressed himself in a Kurta, a home-spun, hand-woven material and an ascetically short dhoti. At 18, J.P. was married to Braj Kishore Prasad’s daughter Prabhavati,14 in October 1920. Then Braj Kishore sent Prabhavati to live with Kasturba Gandhi as a daughter in Gandhi’s ashram at Amdavad. Gandhi’s nation-wide strike in response of the Rowlatt Act, 1919, paralyzed economic life in April 1919. This was followed by the Khilafat movement together with his call for the non-co-operator movement on a nation-wide scale. J.P. wanted to appear for his second year science examination at Patna college. However J.P.’s being part of the nationalist movement against the British rule in India left the college being funded by the British Government and joined the Bihar Vidyapith, a tertiary institution set up by Bihar Congress for all non-co-operation students. In the meanwhile, Gandhi called off the non-co-operation movement in horror because the violent mob had killed twenty-two policemen in Uttar Pradesh at Chauri Chaura. The Indian National Congress was outlawed and the non-co-operation subsided. J.P. felt completely crushed.

When Indira Gandhi was found guilty of violating electoral laws by the Allahabad High Court, Narayan called for Indira to resign, and advocated a program of social transformation which he termed Sampoorna kraanti [Total Revolution]. Instead she proclaimed a national Emergency on the midnight of June 25, 1975, immediately after Narayan had called for the PM’s resignation and had asked the military and the police to disregard unconstitutional and immoral orders; JP, opposition leaders, and dissenting members of her own party (the ‘Young Turks’) were arrested on that day.

Jayaprakash Narayan attracted a gathering of 100,000 people at the Ramlila Grounds and thunderously recited Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’‘s wonderfully evocative poetry: Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai.

Narayan was kept as detenu at Chandigarh even after he had asked for a month’s parole for mobilising relief in areas of Bihar gravely affected by flood. His health suddenly deteriorated on October 24, and he was released on November 12; diagnosis at Jaslok Hospital, Bombay, revealed kidney failure; he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life.

The “Free JP” campaign was launched in the UK by Surur Hoda and chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Noel- Baker for the release of Jayaprakash Narayan.

After Indira revoked the emergency on January 18, 1977 and announced elections, it was under JP’s guidance that the Janata Party (a vehicle for the broad spectrum of the anti-Indira Gandhi opposition) was formed.The Janata Party was voted into power, and became the first non-Congress party to form a government at the Centre.[citation needed] On the call of Narayan many youngsters joined the JP movement.

I will love to have your view

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s