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India Personalities

'Lok Nayak' Jayaprakash Narayan

 

'lok nayak'jayaprakash narayan,lok nayak jayaprakash narayan,jayaprakash narayan
 
Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan, or JP, as he was fondly called by his followers was born on October 11, 1902, in Sitabdiara, a village on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, where the rivers Ganges and Sarayu meet. His father Harsudayal worked in the canal department of the State government and was often touring the region. There was no high school in the village, so Jayaprakash was sent to Patna to study in the Collegiate School.
 
In Patna, he stayed with relatives at a hostel called Saraswati Bhavan, which was a meeting place for students who would normally discuss the political scene. Nationalism was at its highest and the people had woken up to the call of fearless leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak and Aravinda Ghose. Young Jayaprakash became inspired by their speeches.
Jayaprakash was also fond of reading and excelled in his studies. He joined the Patna College on a Government scholarship.
Jayaprakash got married to Prabhavati in October 1920. Prabhavati was the daughter of lawyer and nationalist Brij Kishore Prasad and was greatly influenced by Gandhiji's ideology and went to stay at his ashram while Jayaprakash pursued his studies.
The Non-cooperation movement launched by Gandhiji in 1919 was gaining momentum. Jayaprakash too became involved and was inspired when he listened to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad speech. Maulana was a great orator and his call to give up English education had a deep impact on Jayaprakash and he left Patna College with just 20 days remaining for his examinations. He joined the Bihar Vidyapeeth, a college run by the Congress.
The movement was withdrawn after it turned violent at Chauri Chaura in UP. The disappointed students returned to college. The Vidyapeeth had no more courses to offer. So Jayaprakash decided to go to America to pursue his studies. Meanwhile Prabhavati remained at Sabarmati in Gandhi's ashram.
Jayaprakash faced many hardships in America. He was forced to shift to different universities as he did not have enough financial resources to cope with the increasing fees. He did odd jobs like picking grapes, packing fruits at a canning factory, washing dishes, a mechanic at a garage etc. to pay for his education.
He pursued Sociology and his paper, "Social Variation", was declared the best of the year. In Wisconsin, Jayaprakash was exposed to the theory of communism as laid out in Karl Marx's book "Das Capital" and was much influenced by Marxism. However, Jayaprakash had to cut his doctorate short when news came that his mother was seriously ill and returned to India in November 1929.
While Jayaprakash became a believer in Communism, Prabhavati became an ardent Gandhian. In 1929, Jayaprakash joined the Congress upon Jawaharlal Nehru's invitation. For Jayaprakash it was not enough that the nation attain political freedom. To him, the definition of freedom was freedom from hunger, poverty and ignorance.
When most of the top Congress leaders were arrested after the Dandi March in 1930, Jayaprakash set up underground offices all over the nation and organized secret meetings to continue the work of the Congress. After an underground meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Banaras, Jayaprakash was arrested. He was released from jail in 1933.
Soon after his release in 1933, Jayaprakash formed the Congress Socialist Party, functioning as the social wing of the Congress party and promoting the ideas of socialism.
Jayaprakash was arrested several times for his activities to overthrow the British. He even organised a guerrilla army called the "Azad Dasta" after escaping to Nepal from prison. However the British were able to take him in when he was on his way to Rawalpindi and was taken to Lahore Fort where he was subjected to 16 months of mental and physical torture and was put in solitary confinement. Finally, Jayaprakash was released from jail on April 12, 1946.
Independence finally came on August 15, 1947. Within a year Gandhiji was assassinated. Prabhavati hid her sorrow behind the spinning wheel, but Jayaprakash's mind "churned with grief and horror." He began to see the wisdom in Gandhiji's insistence on truth and non-violence.
The 1952 elections saw the Socialists lose to Congress. Nehru invited Jayaprakash to join the Cabinet. However, Nehru could give no assurances on the implementation of Jayaprakash's 14 point plan to reform the Constitution, the Administration and Judicial system, nationalize the banks, redistribute land to the landless, revive Swadeshi, and set-up cooperatives, Jayaprakash refused the offer.
Jayaprakash fought for the rights of trade unions and was able to get a minimum wage, pension, medical relief and housing subsidy introduced. At the same time, Jayaprakash was keenly watching events in Russia. The bloody purges and imprisonment convinced Jayaprakash that communism was not for India. On April 19, 1954, at a meeting in Gaya, Jayaprakash made the dramatic announcement of dedicating his life to Vinoba Bhave's Sarvodaya movement. He set up an ashram at Hazaribagh, a poor and backward village.
Jayaprakash blended Gandhian-philosophy and modern Western democracy. His book, "The Reconstruction of Indian Polity," won him the Ramon Magsaysay Award.
In 1971, Jayaprakash set out to find out and alleviate the problems of the Naxalites and was also a key person in acquiring the surrender of dacoits in the Chambal Valley.
1974 ushered in a year of high inflation, unemployment and lack of supplies and essential commodities. So on April 8, 1974, at the age of 72, he led a silent procession in protest, at Patna. The procession was lathi charged. On June 5, 1974, Jayaprakash, while addressing a big crowd at Gandhi Maidan in Patna declared, "This is a revolution, friends! We are not here merely to see the Vidhan Sabha dissolved. That is only one milestone on our journey. But we have a long way to go... After 27 years of freedom, people of this country are wracked by hunger, rising prices, corruption... oppressed by every kind of injustice... it is a Total Revolution we want, nothing less!"
On June 12, 1975, the Allahabad High Court held the Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, guilty on charge of corrupt practices in the election. Jayaprakash asked Mrs. Gandhi to resign until the Supreme Court cleared her name. However, she declared Emergency. Jayaprakash was arrested and sent to Chandigarh where he was kept prisoner in a hospital, sick and old.
Finally in January 1977, Emergency was lifted. Fresh elections were declared. Under Jayaprakash's guidance several parties united to form the Janata Party. The party incorporated all of Jayaprakash's goals in its manifesto and came to power. As his health worsened, Jayaprakash was but a mute witness to the collapse of the Janata Party.
Jayaprakash breathed his last on October 8, 1979 leaving the nation bereft of one of its greatest leaders. He will always be fondly remembered as "Lok Nayak" or leader of the people.
 

 
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