Jayaprakash Narayan

- An Icon of Freedom and Revolution

My objective of life is the freedom of my country. I will continue to flight for it file my objective is achieved or death interviews.

“Freedom of my country was the beacon light for my life. With time it has transcended into freedom of human sprit. I will not compromise this with anything else in my life, bread, money, wealth, power, position, name and fame, even life.

“I will fight dictatorship till the last drop of my body.”

Who else could have given such statements and practiced them till the last breath of his life, except Jayaprakash. He is definitely worthy of the praise endowed by the great souls.

  • “Jayaprakash is highly civilized and cultured, any country will be proud of him”
    – Mahtma Gandhi.
  • “JP will guide the destiny of the nation after my death”
    – Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.
  • “Ideally, we should have a personality like Jayaprakashji to guide us”
    – Shri Lal Bhadur Sashtri (before becoming prime minister).
  • “Jayaprakash Narayan was truthful and righteous”
    – Satya Sai Baba.

Jayaprakash himself considered his life a continuous search for revolution. He wanted to design a package of revolution to liberate people from miseries. He was always guided by light of freedom which never faded. During his last days he worked for total revolution.

Right from child hood JP was full of compassion. He wept when one of his pet dove died. His father wanted to remove a horse, which had hurt JP. JP fasted till his father changed the decision. The horse was retained. In high school when British principal deliberately conducted examination on Sarasawti Pooja, JP boycotted the exam and got a severe punishment.

As a student, JP came in contact with some young revolutionaries who used to sing - “kill the whites and sack them”. JP did not like the idea of killing British as he preferred Mahatma Gandhi’s belief in non co-operation.

In spite of becoming a brilliant student, a scholarship holder and having prospects of becoming an engineer he left the college just before the results of the Indian Civil Service examinations. Later, JP married Prabhawatiji who was like a daughter to Mahatma Gandhi.

He went to USA, the land of George Washington & Abraham Lincoln. He stayed in USA for 7 years, studied in 7 universities & completed MA in sociology. There was judged to be the best student of the year. In USA JP sustained himself and his studies through manual working in agro fields, fruit gardens, meat factories, Iron & steel plants, shoeshine parlors and hotels. He was a convinced Marxist and wanted to go to Soviet Russia for doing his PhD. In the meantime, his mother fell seriously ill in India and JP had to come back home.

After coming back to India, Gandhiji told him that Prabhawati had taken a vow of celibacy. If JP wanted he could have marry another girl but JP honored the personal freedom of Prabhawati and followed celibacy himself through out his life. Prabhawati looked after JP like a mother.

In spite of the offer of professorship of sociology, JP joined the Indian National Congress. He assisted Pandit Jawaharlal Lal Nehru as the secretary of the labor wing of congress. He stayed in Anand Bhawan of Allahabad with Pandit Nehru, Kamla ji and Indira Gandhi. JP and Prabhawati were very close to the Nehru family. They regarded Jawaharlal as elder brother, Kamla Nehru as bhabhi and Indira Gandhi as their daughter. Kamalaji used to trust only Prabhawatiji and shared with her all the problems she faced- both political and personal.

In 1932 when the Congress was banned and all the senior leaders were arrested, JP became the acting general secretary. He organized underhand Congress missions and conducted all the proceedings in disguise. On his arrest, the free press journal of Bombay wrote a banner-“Congress’ brain arrested”.

In Nasik jail, JP formed “Congress sociology part” within the framework of the Indian national congress. Great scholars and socialites like Acharya Navendra Deo, Dr Ram Mohan Lohia, Ashok Mehta, Achyut Patwardhan were the main leaders of the congress student party. The fact that only political freedom of Indian will not do, freedom from hunger, poverty, social and economic exploitation also must be achieved became the sole aim of the Congress. JP became the spokesman of Indian socialism. Nehru and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose also agreed to this.

In 1939 JP opposed India being forced to participate in Second World War as a slave of British Empire. He was arrested. He tried to send his instructions to his colleagues out side. He undertook a fast up to thirty-three days as a result he was transferred to Hazaribagh Jail.

In August 1942 Quit India Movement, all the senior leaders were arrested. In spite of his serious health condition JP escaped the Hazribagh Jail because of his ‘never say die’ spirit. British governor announced heavy award to find him alive or dead. In August that year he revolutionized the entire nation. Finally in September 1943 he was arrested and locked up in Lahore Jail. In Lahore Jail, a team of British officers subjected him to inhuman torture. But nothing could stop him from winning the hearts and the support of the Indians.

After the Second World War, the British announced their intention to free India. JP was released from Jail, Gandhiji wanted to make him congress president but in vain. Finally Pandit Nehru became the first prime minister of independent India on 15th august 1947. JP did not agree for the partition. He left Congress and formed socialist party along with his socialist colleagues like Acharya Navendra Deo, Dr Lohia etc.

In spite of so many brilliant leaders, socialist’s party did not fair well in 1952 general election, in 1953 Pt. Nehru proposed co-operation. He wanted to offer senior cabinet posts to JP, Achrya Navendra Deo and the other socialists but Dr Lohia did not agree for this.

JP under took 21 days fast in 1953. On 15th day he felt that he was a soul, not a physical body. After fast he met Vinobaji and decided to offer his life for Bahordra. He was disgusted by party politics and power politics. He realized that materialism couldn’t give any incentive to goodness. He always expressed his independent views on any national or international problems fearlessly. He denounced Chinese action on Tibet, Russian aggression on Hungary and Czechoslovakia. He was against confinement of Sheikh Abdullah. He wrote a these on the reconstruction of Indian Politely. He worked for relief of Bihar in draught. He worked for peace during riots. He denounces Pakistan army action in Bangladesh. He undertook world wide to plead in favor of Bangladesh.

Both Prabhawatiji and JP suffered severe health problems. Prabhawatiji did not care for her own health while taking care of JP. In 1974 JP started working for total revolution. His concept was to revolutionize every aspect of public life, social, economic educational cultural necessary in addition to provide faculties of living to the poorest and weakest. He worked against the dogmatic practices and corruption. A large no of young persons participated in this. However his dream of total revolution was not realized. The revolution was finally lost into party politics and power politics. Dictatorial attitude of the highest power became obvious. JP was arrested and emergency was imposed. His health broke down completely during his confinement. Finally dictatorship came to an end. Democracy was reestablished. On 8th October 1979 just before his seventy seventh birthdays the spirit of Jay Prakash left for his heavenly abode.

His life can be best described in the words of H.W Long fellow.

“Lives of great men all remind us, we can make ourselves sublime and departing, leave behind us, foot prints on the sand of time.”


More by :  G.P. Verma

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