Jai Prakash Narain

Date: December 19, 2014

Contributions of JAI PRAKASH NARAYAN  

 Recently 112nd birth anniversary of Jai Prakash  Narayan is celebrated. He was an Indian freedom fighter, social reformer and political leader.

Introduction-  Jayaprakash Narayan was born on October 11, 1902, in Sitabdiara, a village on the border of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Contributions of Jai Prakash Narayan to pre-Independence India

Jaya Prakash was  a believer of the Communist school of thought. For him it was not enough that the nation attain political freedom. To him, the definition of freedom was freedom from hunger, poverty and ignorance.

Following the 1930 Dandi March, most of the top Congress leaders were arrested. Jaya Prakash immediately set up an underground office at Bombay to continue Congress work. He traveled all over the nation, printing, distributing and organizing secret meetings.

In the Nasik jail, he met politicians and reformers like Ram Manohar Lohia, Ashoka Mehta, Minoo Masani, P. Dantawala and Achyut Patwardhan. They all were impatient for freedom and agreed to steer the Congress toward the goal of socialism. Jaya prakash was released from jail in 1933.

In 1934, Jaya prakash and his friends formed the Congress Socialist Party under the Presidentship of Acharya Narendra Deva and secretaryship of Jaya Prakash himself. The group intended to function as the Socialist wing within the Congress party and aimed to make socialism the goal of the Congress.

In a book “Why Socialism?” (1932), Jaya Prakash explained why socialism would be right for India. He was adored by the youth for his idealism.

He was imprisoned by the British again in 1939 for his opposition to Indian participation in World War II on the side of Britain, but he subsequently made a dramatic escape and for a short time tried to organize violent resistance to the government before his recapture in 1943, And participated in Civil Disobedience Movement.

Contributions of Jai Prakash Narayan to Post – Independence India-

The Socialists lost to the Congress in the 1952 elections. Nehru invited Jaya prakash to join the Cabinet. When Nehru could give no assurances on the implementation of Jaya prakash’s 14 point plan to reform the Constitution, the Administration and Judicial system, nationalize the banks, redistribute land to the landless, revive Swadeshi, and setup cooperatives, Jaya prakash refused the offer.

Jaya prakash believed that every village should be like a small republic – politically independent and capable of taking its own ecisions. It was a marriage of Gandhian-Indian concepts and modern Western democracy. His thoughful, well-researched and brilliant book, “The Reconstruction of Indian Polity,” won him the Ramon Magsaysay Award.

After independence and the death of Mahatma Gandhi, Jaya prakash Narayan, Acharya Narendra Dev and Basawon Singh (Sinha) looked after the CSP out of Congress to become the opposition Socialist Party, which later took the name, Praja Socialist Party.

On April 19, 1954, Jaya prakash Narayan declared in Gaya that he was dedicating his life (Jeevandan) to Vinoba Bhave`s Sarvodaya movement and its Bhoodan campaign, which promoted distribution of lands to Harijans (untouchables). He gave up his land, set up an ashram in Hazaribagh, and worked towards uplifting the village.

He called for total revolution.

Conclusion- Jai Prakash narayan is called by people as ‘Lok Nayak’ which means ‘Leader of the people’. He contributed immensely to the pre and post independence India.

He participated in various freedom struggle movements like Dandi march, civil disobedience movement, Quit India movement etc.

His important contributions to the post – Independent India – Spread of socialistic ideas, bhoodan movement, sarvodaya movement etc.

In 1999, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in recognition of his social work.