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120th Birth Anniversary Of Jayaprakash Narayan

Context:

Union Home Minister Amit Shah unveiled a 15-foot statue of Jayaprakash Narayan or JP on his 120th birth anniversary, at the socialist icon’s birthplace, Sitab Diara village in Bihar’s Saran district.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About  Jayaprakash Narayan
  2. The JP movement
  3. Opposition to the Emergency

About Jayaprakash Narayan:

  • JP was born in 1902 in Bihar’s Sitab Diara, a village prone to frequent-flooding, after which his family moved to a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Balia district.
  • He quit college to join the non-cooperation movement, before going to study at the University of California, Berkeley, where he was influenced by the ideas of Karl Marx.
  • He returned to India in 1929 and joined the freedom struggle and the Indian National Congress, upon the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru and drawn by a speech by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  • JP would go onto become the founding members of the Congress Socialist Party (CSP), but after independence took it out of the Congress and formed the Socialist Party, which was merged with J B Kripalani’s Kisan Mazdoor Praja Party to form the Praja Socialist Party
  • While Nehru was keen on JP joining the Union government, JP sought to distance himself from electoral politics, opting to focus on social causes instead.
  • He was disillusioned with political parties and called for communitarian democracy. Parties, he believed, were centralised and susceptible to moral and financial corruption.

The JP movement

  • Students in Gujarat began demonstrating in late 1973, in response to mounting mess bills.
  • The protests became widespread in the state, with workers, teachers and several other groups joining in the movement, calling for a change in government.
  • JP saw the youth of Gujarat that had been able to bring about political change as an alternative route from electoral politics, and recognised the power of students in helping him realise his ideas of a new politics, distinct from the one he had grown weary of.
  • The protests against corruption grew widespread, and students of Bihar began their movement in March 1974.
  • The students approached JP, who left his self-imposed political exile and led the movement.
  • At a rally in Patna on June 5, he called for Sampoorna Kranti (Total Revolution).

Opposition to the Emergency

  • When Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency on June 25, 1975, JP shifted his focus to opposing authoritarian rule and opposition parties looked to him for leadership.
  • The Socialists were naturally drawn to him ideologically, while the RSS and its political front the Jana Sangh sought to return to the mainstream, and were happy to be dissolved into the Janata Party that JP had formed.
  • JP is celebrated for launching a popular, mass movement against the Indira Gandhi government, which led to the formation of the Janata Party government in the 1977 general election, the first non-Congress government in the country.
  • In order to rebuild politics and the state from the grassroots level, where real power would be with people’s movements, JP had to engage with the RSS and the Jana Sangh, despite disagreeing with them on many counts.

-Source: Indian Express


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