Jayaprakash Narayan (October 11’ 1902- October 8’ 1979) was a great freedom fighter, socialist and a political leader of India. Jayaprakash Narayan is popularly known as JP among indians. As a freedom fighter, he got chance to work with Mahatma Gandhi in many movements conducted by Mahatma Gandhi. He played an important role in the ‘Quit India’ movement and gained a far more respect and fame for this. He was arrested and sent to jail many times. As a socialist, he devoted a big part of his life to help the poor, the laborers, the downtrodden and the needy. For the social works he did for the upliftment of the poor, he was posthumously awarded with “Bharat Ratana” the prestigious award of India. As a political leader, he is remembered for his spearheading the opposition to Indira Gandhi during 1970s.
Early life & Education
Jayaprakash Narayan was born on October 11’ 1902 in the village of Sitabdiara in Saran District of Bihar, India. He was the fourth child of Harsu Dayal and Phul Rani Devi. At the age of 9, he left his village to get enrolled in 7th class in the collegiate school at Patna. He was keen observer from his childhood. In writing also, he showed his observing power in his essay “The Present State of Hindi in Bihar”. This essay “The Present State of Hindi in Bihar” won a best essay award for him and gave him good reputation. Apart from that, he excelled in school and won a District merit scholarship in Patna College. In 1918, he completed school and went to abroad for his higher education.
He got his higher education from the universities in the United States. He studied Political Science, Sociology and Economics at the Universities of Berkeley lowa, Wisconsin and Ohio State. He was highly impressed by the Marsixm and ideas of M.N Roy during his studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
He desired to complete PhD from the universities of United States, but his mother’s poor health and financial issues caused him to give up his dream of securing a PhD.
While returning to India, he got chance to meet revolutionaries like Rajani Palme Dutt in London on his way back to India. Afterwards, he joined the Indian National Congress in 1929 on receiving an invitation from Jawaharlal Nehru. Mahatma Gandhi turned to be the mentor and guide of Jayaprakash Narayan. He was impressed by the ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and so, he participated in many activities and movement began by Mahatma Gandhi. For their revolutionary activities and participation, he was tortured by the British forces and sent to jail several times during the independence war.
Jayprakash Narayan played a crucial role in the ‘Quit India Movement’ and got a lot of fame and respect for this herculean task. He got married to a freedom fighter named Prabhavati Devi who followed Kasturba Gandhi and resided at the Sabarmati Ashram while JP was studying in abroad.
When he was put behind the bars in 1932 because of their participation in the Civil Disobedience movement, he got chance to meet Ram Manohar Lohia, Minoo Masani, Ashok Mehta, Yusuf Desai and other national leaders. When he returned from jail, the Congress Socialist Party was set up. During the ‘Quit India Movement’ in 1942, JP was again at the helm of the agitation. Finally India got independence, and Jayprakash Narayan was one of the freedom fighters who were alive to breathe in the environment free from the slavery of British Government.
After the death of Gandhiji, Jayaprakash Narayan and Acharya Narendra Dev created the first opposition Socialist Party.
At the age of 76, he took his last breath in October 8’ 1979. As a freedom fighter, socialist and political leader, he was conferred posthumously with India’s highest civilian Award ‘Bharat Ratna’ for his valuable contribution done for freedom of India, upliftment of the poor, the backwards and the downtrodden.