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Jayaprakash Narayan

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Subject: Yogendra Shukla, Janata Party, The Emergency (India), List of people from Bihar, Loknayak (film)
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Jayaprakash Narayan

Jayaprakash Narayan
Born (1902-10-11)11 October 1902
Sitabdiara, Bengal Presidency, British India (Now in Saran, Bihar)
Died 8 October 1979(1979-10-08) (aged 76)
Patna, Bihar
Nationality Indian
Other names JP, Lok Nayak
Organization Indian National Congress
Janata Party
Movement Quit India
JP Movement
Religion Hinduism

Jayaprakash Narayan (   ; 11 October 1902 – 8 October 1979), popularly referred to as JP or Lok Nayak (Hindi for The People's Hero), was an Indian independence activist, social reformer and political leader, remembered especially for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for whose overthrow he called a "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 Patna airport is also named after him. The largest hospital run by the Delhi government and the teaching hospital of the famous Maulana Azad Medical College, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Hospital, is also named after him. It was formerly called Irwin hospital. There is also a park in his name, situated on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, in New Delhi, just opposite to Maulana Azad Medical College. On August 1, 2015, the Chhapra-Delhi-Chhapra Weekly Express was renamed as "Loknayak Express" in his honor.[1]


  • Early life 1
  • Higher education in the USA 2
  • Politics 3
  • Bihar Movement and Total Revolution 4
  • Emergency 5
  • Death 6
  • Family 7
  • Awards 8
  • Artistic depictions of JP 9
  • Bibliography 10
  • References 11
  • Further reading 12
  • External links 13

Early life

Jayprakash Narayan was born on 11 October 1902[2] in the village of Sitabdiara in Saran district of Bihar, India.[3] He came from a Kayastha family.[4] He was the fourth child of Harsu Dayal Srivastava and Phul Rani Devi. His father Harsu Dayal was a junior official in the Canal Department of the State government and was often touring the region. When Narayan was 9 years old, he left his village to enroll in 7th class of the collegiate school at Patna. While in school, Jayaprakash read magazines like Saraswati, Prabha and Pratap, books like Bharat-Bharati, and poems by Maithilsharan Gupta and Bharatendu Harishchandra which described the courage and valour of the Rajput kings. Jayaprakash also read the Bhagwad Gita. His essay, "The present state of Hindi in Bihar" won a best essay award. He excelled in school and by 1918 completed school and undertook the 'State Public Matriculation Examination' and won a District merit scholarship to Patna college.

In October 1920, Narayan was married to Braj Kishore Prasad's daughter Prabhavati Devi, a freedom fighter in her own right.[5] At the time of marriage, Jayaprakash was 18 years and Prabhavati was 14 years of age, which was a normal age for marriage in that period. After their wedding, since Narayan was working in Patna and it was difficult for his wife to stay with him, on the invitation of Gandhi, Prabhavati became an inmate at the Ashram of Gandhi.[6] Jayaprakash, along with some friends, went to listen to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad speak about the Non-co-operation movement launched by Gandhi against the passing of the Rowlatt Act of 1919. The Maulana was a brilliant orator and his call to give up English education was "like leaves before a storm: Jayaprakash was swept away and momentarily lifted up to the skies. That brief experience of soaring up with the winds of a great idea left imprints on his inner being”. Jayaprakash took the Maulana’s words to heart and left Patna College with just 20 days remaining for his examinations. He joined the Bihar Vidyapeeth, a college run by the Congress.

Higher education in the USA

"After exhausting the courses at the Vidyapeeth, Jayaprakash decided to continue studies in the United States."[5] At age 20, Jayaprakash sailed aboard the cargo ship Janus while Prabhavati remained at Sabarmati. Jayaprakash reached California on 8 October 1922 and was admitted to Berkeley in January 1923. To pay for his education, Jayaprakash picked grapes, set them out to dry, packed fruits at a canning factory, washed dishes, worked as a mechanic at a garage and at a slaughter house, sold lotions and taught. All these jobs gave Jayaprakash an insight into the difficulties of the working class. Jayaprakash was forced to transfer to The University of Iowa when fees at Berkeley were doubled. He was forced to transfer to many universities thereafter. He pursued his favourite subject, sociology, and received much help from Professor Edward Ross

In Wisconsin, Jayaprakash was introduced to Karl Marx's Das Kapital. News of the success of the Russian revolution of 1917 made Jayaprakash conclude that Marxism was the way to alleviate the suffering of the masses. He delved into books by Indian intellectual and Communist theoretician M. N. Roy. His paper on sociology, "Social Variation", was declared the best of the year.


Narayan with Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion in Tel Aviv, 1958

Narayan returned from the US to India in late 1929 as a Marxist.[7] He joined the Indian National Congress on the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1929; Mahatma Gandhi became his mentor in the Congress. He shared a house at Kadam Kuan in Patna with his close friend and nationalist Ganga Sharan Sinha.[8] with whom he shared the most cordial and lasting friendship.[8]

During the Indian independence movement he was arrested, jailed, and tortured several times by the British. He won particular fame during the Quit India movement.

After being jailed in 1932 for civil disobedience against British rule, Narayan was imprisoned in Nasik Jail, where he met Ram Manohar Lohia, Minoo Masani, Achyut Patwardhan, Ashok Mehta, Yusuf Desai and other national leaders. After his release, the Congress Socialist Party, or (CSP), a left-wing group within the Congress, was formed with Acharya Narendra Deva as President and Narayan as General secretary.

When Mahatma Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement in August 1942, Yogendra Shukla scaled the wall of Hazaribagh Central Jail along with Jayaprakash Narayan, Suraj Narayan Singh, Gulab Chand Gupta, Ramnandan Mishra, Shaligram Singh and Shyam Barthwar, with a goal to start an underground movement for freedom.[9] As Jayaprakash Narayan was ill, Yogendra Shukla walked to Gaya with Jayaprakash Narayan on his shoulders,[9] a distance of about 124 kilometres.[10]

Bihar Movement and Total Revolution

Narayan returned to prominence in State politics in the late 1960s. 1974 ushered in a year of high inflation, unemployment and lack of supplies and essential commodities. Nav Nirman Andolan movement of Gujarat asked Jayaprakash to lead a peaceful agitation. On 8 April 1974, aged 72, he led a silent procession at Patna. The procession was lathi charged. On 5 June 1974, Jayaprakash addressed a large crowd at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. He 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!" In 1974, he led the students' movement in the state of Bihar which gradually developed into a popular people's movement known as the Bihar Movement. It was during this movement that JP gave a call for peaceful Total Revolution. Together with V. M. Tarkunde, he found the Citizens for Democracy in 1974 and the People's Union for Civil Liberties in 1976, both NGOs, to uphold and defend civil liberties.


Indira Gandhi was found guilty of violating electoral laws by the Allahabad High Court. Narayan called for Indira and the CMs to resign and the military and police to disregard unconstitutional and immoral orders. He advocated a program of social transformation which he termed Sampoorna kraanti, "total revolution". Immediately afterwords, Gandhi proclaimed a national Emergency on the midnight of 25 June 1975. Narayan, opposition leaders, and dissenting members of her own party (the 'Young Turks') were arrested 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.[11]

Narayan was kept as detenu at Chandigarh even after he asked for one month parole to mobilise relief in flooded parts of Bihar. His health suddenly deteriorated on 24 October, and he was released on 12 November; diagnosis at Jaslok Hospital, Bombay, revealed kidney failure; he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life.

In the UK, Surur Hoda launched the "Free JP" campaign chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Noel-Baker for the release of Jayaprakash Narayan.[12]

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


Narayan died in Patna, Bihar,[13] on 8 October 1979, three days before his 77th birthday, due to effects of diabetes and heart ailments. In March 1979, while he was in hospital, his death had been erroneously announced by the Indian prime minister, Morarji Desai, causing a brief wave of national mourning, including the suspension of parliament and regular radio broadcasting, and the closure of schools and shops. When he was told about the gaffe a few weeks later, he smiled. The problem of his 'death' came because Desai saw the dead body of a man with similar looks being taken away from the hospital.


Jayaprakash was married to Prabhavati Devi, daughter of lawyer and nationalist Brij Kishore Prasad in October 1920. Prabhavati was very independent and on Gandhi's invitation, went to stay at his ashram while Jayaprakash continued his studies.[14]


Artistic depictions of JP


  • Why Socialism, 1936
  • War Circulars, 1–4 CSP, Lucknow
  • Inside Lahore Fort, Sahityalaya Patna 1947
  • Nation Building in India – JP Narayan
  • Three Basic Problems of India. From Socialism to Sarvodaya, Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Varansi 1957
  • A Plea for Reconstruction of Indian Polity, Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Varansi 1959
  • Swaraj for the People, Sarva Seva Sangh Prakashan, Varansi 1961
  • Sarvodaya Answer to Chinese Aggression, Sarvodaya Prachuralaya Tanjore 1963
  • Face to Face, Navchetna Prakashan, Varansi 1970
  • Prison Diary, Samajwadi Yuvjan Sabha Calcutta 1976 and Popular Prakashan, Bombay 1977.

Edited works:

  • Towards Struggle, edited by Yusuf Meherally, Padma Publications, Bombay 1946,47
  • Socialism,Sarvodaya and Democracy, edited by Bimal Prasad, Asia Publishing House Bombay 1964
  • Communitarian Society and Panchayti Raj, edited by Brahmanand Navchetna Prakashan Varansi 1970
  • Nation-Building in India, edited by Brahmanand Navchetna Prakashan Varansi 1974
  • Towards Revolution, edited by Bhargava and Phadnis, Arnold-Heinemann New Delhi 1975
  • J.P’s Jail Life (A Collection of Personal Letters) translated by G S Bhargava, Arnold-Heinemann New Delhi 1977
  • Towards Total Revolution, edited by Brahmanand Popular Prakashan Bombay 1978
  • J P:Profile of a non-conformist, Interviews by Bhola Chatterji, Minerva Associates, Calcutta, 1979
  • To All Fighters of Freedom II, A Revolutionary’s Quest-selected writings of Jayprakash Narayan, edited by Bimal Prasad Oxford University Press New Delhi 1980
  • Concept of Total Revolution: An Introductory Essay(JP and social change) by Bimal Prasad


  1. ^
  2. ^ Ratan, Das (2007). Jayaprakash Narayan: His Life and Mission. Sarup & Sons. p. 7.  
  3. ^ "JP's village gets power 65 yrs after Independence". Zeenews. 22 April 2012. 
  4. ^ Das, Sandip (2005). Jayaprakash Narayan: A Centenary Volume. Mittal Publications. p. 109.  
  5. ^ a b Das, Sandip (2005). Jayaprakash Narayan: A Centenary Volume. Mittal Publications. p. 239.  
  6. ^ Ratan, Das (2007). Jayaprakash Narayan: His Life and Mission. Sarup & Sons. p. 7.  
  7. ^ Das, Sandip (2005). Jayaprakash Narayan: A Centenary Volume. Mittal Publications. p. 230.  
  8. ^ a b Ralhan, O.P. (2002). Encyclopaedia of Political Parties. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 17998 (at pages 73–74).  
  9. ^ a b Srivastava, N.M.P. (1988). Struggle for Freedom: Some Great Indian Revolutionaries. K.P.Jayaswal Research Institute,  
  10. ^ Distance between Hazaribagh Central Jail and Gaya
  11. ^  
  12. ^ McRobie, George (30 June 2003). "Surur Hoda: Trade unionist who spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  13. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. "Inconvenient Prophet". India Today. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2012. 
  14. ^ a b Vaidya, Prem. "Jayaprakash Narayan – Keeper of India's Conscience". Retrieved 16 August 2012. 
  15. ^ Correspondent, NDTV (24 January 2011). "List of all Bharat Ratna award winners". Retrieved 29 November 2012. 
  16. ^ Uncensored 'Loknayak' to be screened soon
  17. ^ Loknayak
  18. ^ “I am fully indebted to theatre”

Further reading

  • Red Fugitive: Jayaprakash Narayan by H L Singh Dewans Publications Lahore 1946
  • Life and Time of Jayaprakash Narayan by J S Bright Dewans Publications Lahore 1946
  • Jayaprakash Narayan: A Political Biography by Ajit Bhattacharjea, Vikas Publications New Delhi 1975
  • J.P: His Biography, Allan and Wendy Scarfe, Orient Longmans New Delhi 1975
  • Jayaprakash: Rebel Extraordinary, by Lakshmi Narayan Lal, Indian Book Company New Delhi 1975
  • Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, by Suresh Ram Macmillan Co. Delhi 1974
  • Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan by Farooq Argali Janata Pocket Books Delhi 1977.
  • Bimal Prasad (editor). 1980. A Revolutionary's Quest: Selected Writings of Jayaprakash Narayan. Oxford University Press, Delhi ISBN 0-19-561204-3
  • Jai Prakash Narain, Jayaprakash Narayan, Essential Writings, 1929–1979: A Centenary Volume, 1902–2002, Konark Publishers (2002) ISBN 81-220-0634-5
  • Dr. Kawaljeet, J.P.'s Total Revolution and Humanism (Patna: Buddhiwadi Foundation, 2002). ISBN 81-86935-02-9
  • Dr. Ramendra (editor), Jayaprakash Vichar Sankalan [Hindi] (Patna: Rajendra Prakashan, 1986).
  • Satyabrata Rai Chowdhuri, Leftism in India: 1917–1947 (London and New Delhi: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008).
  • Radhakanta Barik, Politics of the JP Movement (Radiant Publications, Delhi, 1977)
  • MG Devashayam, JP Movement Emergency and India's Second Freedom (Vitasta Publishing Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi, 2012). ISBN 978-93-80828-61-9

External links

  • A plea for the reconstruction of Indian polity
  • Total revolution
  • On Hindu revivalism
  • Magsaysay award acceptance speech; Citation
  • JP's visit to an RSS camp, as told by Sita Ram Goel in "Perversion of India's Political Parlance"
  • JP information from Gandhi museum
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