Birthday anniversary of LoknayakJayprakash (JP) Narayan is celebrated on 11 October every year. He was born this day in the year 1902 in Sitabdiara, a remote village of Bihar. His name “Jayprakash Narayan” means “Victory to the light”.
JP was admitted to the 7th class at the age of nine to one of the school at Patna. He attempted the State Public Matriculation Examination and was awarded a District merit scholarship to Patna College. JP had become “Swadeshi” (indigenous) by using handmade village shoes, and used to clean those with Indian mustard oil. This was in contradiction with the British rule at that time. He used to wear “Kurta” and “Dhoti”, made of handmade material in village.
JP got married at the age of 18, to Braj Kishore Prasad’s daughter Prabhavati in October 1920. Prabhavati was sent to live with Kasturba in Gandhi’s ashram at Ahmedabad.
With the dream of being a part of his nation’s revolt against the British rule in India, JP left the college being funded by the British Government and joined the Bihar Vidyapith, a tertiary institution set up by Bihar Congress for all non-cooperation students.
In 1922, JP sailed to California and got admission in Berkeley in January 1923. He worked hard to manage the monetary terms for his education by working in garage and at a slaughter house. His favourite subject was sociology and he got guidance and support from Professor Edward Ross, the Father of Sociology. He wrote a paper on Sociology, “Social Variation”, and it was awarded as the best paper of the year.
Achievements and Awards of Loknayak Prakash Narayan
JP learned from the success of the Russian revolution of 1917 that Marxism was the way to alleviate the suffering masses. In 1929, he returned from the US to India as a Marxist. He joined the Indian National Congress in the same year.
In 1932, JP was arrested, jailed, and tortured several times by the British during the Indian Independence Movement. He got famous during the Quit India movement. When he was released from Nasik Jail, the Congress Socialist Party (CSP) was formed with JP as General Secretary.
In the late 1960s, JP came to State politics. In 1974, he facilitated the students’ movement in Bihar which by time developed into a famous people’s movement known as the Bihar Movement. During this movement only, he signified for peaceful Total Revolution. He found the Citizens for Democracy in 1974 and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in 1976. Both of these are NGOs that works for civil liberties.
JP is still remembered as “LokNayak” which means leader of the people.
JP received three awards during his lifetime:
• Bharat Ratna, 1999 (posthumously), one of the India’s highest civilian award
• Rashtrabhushan Award of FIE Foundation, Ichalkaranji
• Ramon Magsaysay Award, 1965
• JP was exposed to the theory of communism as laid out in Karl Marx's book "Das Capital" and was much influenced by Marxism, when he was in Wisconsin.
• JP was arrested many times for his revolting activities against the British rule. He also organised a guerrilla army called the "Azad Dasta" after escaping to Nepal from prison.
• JP blended Gandhian-philosophy and modern Western democracy in his book, "The Reconstruction of Indian Polity," which won him the Ramon Magsaysay Award.