‘Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan’ was born on October 11, 1902, in Sitabdiara village, Bihar. His father Harsu Dayal Srivastava was a junior staff in the State Government. He married to Prabhavati Devi in 1920.
Popularly known as ‘Lok Nayak’, Jai Prakash Narayan was a great freedom fighter and a vibrant political leader. He was a leader (Nayak) of the people (Lok). He was a social activist and he participated actively in the ‘Bhoodan Movement’ led by great Acharya Vinoba Bhave, who started the movement for land rights of the poor and landless people of India.
JP was a freedom fighter and he was also very much active in the underground movement of during one of the phases of Quit India Movement (1942).
Conflict with Indira government:
JP led the opposition against the Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi in the 1970s and later given a call for a nationwide peaceful ‘Total Revolution’.
Jaiprakash call for ‘Total Revolution’ shook the Congress(I) government at the center and it sparked up the political protest against the Indira Gandhi government all across India, especially left its footprints in North India which gave platform to leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Lalu Yadav, Sharad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Ramvilas Paswan, and many others; they are at the forefronts of Indian politics and rearing their chances and opportunities with different alliance partners in the national politics.
Indira Gandhi declared emergency in the country on 25th June 1975. She put all the leaders of opposition’ along with Jaiprakash Narayan behind the bar. Top leaders of all the opposition parties spent around 18 months in jails and many of them faced tortures. They were released from the jail one by one in December 1976 when Indira Gandhi declared General Election.
However, it’s clear that he was a Socialist in principle and a contemporary of Ram Manohar Lohiya’s political idea of socialism in India. He rejected the electoral politics of India duped in corruption and fought against corruption and authoritarianism of elected government.
The significance of Jayprakash Narayan in wider united opposition against the government
JP’s idea of Total Revolution created spark among the ongoing national protest against the misrule of Congress (I) government. He stood up against the authoritarian government and became a strong symbol of resistance against the central government.
He was very influential and his political will to uproot the Indira Gandhi were the major highlights of his movement and played a key role in ending “one-party rule” by uniting the fragmented opposition, first time ever since independence in India.
‘Lok Nayak’ Relevance today
The united opposition is demanding for a fair election and many among them demand ‘Ballot Paper’ electoral politics. JP’s faith in democracy and especially multiparty democracy paved the democratic way to achieve power and also an alternative to ongoing Naxalbari Movement of change of power.
His ideas have been instrumental in the change of power from state to center and it started a new journey social transformation and change of power structures in existing electoral democracy. following his example, the likes of Anna Hazare and his followers were able to launch a state-level protest with national significance and his anti-corruption movement against the Delhi government sparked a wave of uproar and successfully win the power by the people who participated during his Jan-Lokpal movement for a corruption-free government.
Later Arvind Kejriwal won the Delhi assembly elections by huge popular mandate of Delhi people, who vote against the Congress Government who was facing the charges of corruption.
JP’s basic idea was to make the government accountable to act in public interest. “Right to recall” philosophy seems to be partially modeled on JP’s philosophy of rejecting an unresponsive government “Goongi Behri Sarkar”, a famous quote of his was in vogue during the emergency rule period. The philosophy of Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narayan is not obsolete yet but, it can be modified to suit today’s needs.
He was awarded posthumously India’s highest civilian award, the ‘Bharat Ratna’ in 1999. He also received the ‘Ramon Magsaysay Award’ in 1965.
Jai Prakash Narayan died on 8 October 1979 in Patna, Bihar. He was a leader who worked on the ground among the masses and led the social movement of change that followed later by the many of his followers who later had a nationwide impact on socio-political condition and currently trying to build a greater alliance against the Bhartiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government.
JP will always be remembered as the true socialist and a Sarvodaya leader of India.