Jayaprakash Narayan

Jayaprakash Narayan

  • Jayaprakash Narayan, a prominent Indian political leader and theorist, was born in Sitab Diyara on October 11, 1902. He was a disciple of Mohandas Gandhi and played a key role in India's independence movement.
  • After moving to the United States in 1922, he studied political science and economics at universities in California, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Ohio. Although not religious, he regularly read the Bhagavad Gita, a fundamental Hindu scripture, and drew inspiration from the great war in the Mahabharata.
  • Advocating for Gandhian-style revolutionary action, JP aimed to change people's minds and hearts. He believed in "saintly politics," urging Jawaharlal Nehru and other leaders to resign and live among the poor.
  • During the independence struggle, he led the Quit India movement in 1942 when senior leaders were absent. After India gained independence, he remained uninvolved in electoral politics but remained a prominent political figure outside of party politics.
  • Narayan became a Marxist while studying at American universities, and he joined the Indian National Congress (Congress Party). He was sentenced to a year in prison in 1932 for his role in the civil disobedience movement against British rule in India. He was again imprisoned in 1939 for opposing Indian involvement in World War II on Britain's side, but he managed to flee and attempted to organize armed resistance to the government before being recaptured in 1943.
  • After leaving the Congress Party in 1948, he helped establish an anti-Congress forum and founded the Praja Socialist Party in 1952. He gave oppressed people a voice and created an alternative political forum. Two years later, he declared that he would devote his life to the Bhoodan Movement, which was created by Acharya Vinobha Bhave to redistribute land to the landless.
  • Narayan was a committed soldier for social restoration and national resurgence. He mentored political leaders from across the spectrum and called for the reconstruction of Indian polity by proposing the Chaukhamba Raj in 1959.
jay prakash narayan


  • Jayaprakash Narayan, also known as JP, was one of Mahatma Gandhi's twelve apostles and a prominent figure in the Indian freedom struggle. He used a combination of ahimsa (non-violence) and violence in the war for independence. 

  • In 1974, JP called for an "absolute revolution" or "sampoorna kranti" to address issues such as corruption, unemployment, and the erosion of democratic institutions. The events that followed led to the infamous Emergency and a realignment of political powers in India. JP believed that young people should lead systemic change, and he mobilized students in Bihar to combat authoritarianism and corruption. He also supported the Nav Nirman Andolan in Gujarat, where people rose against a corrupt state government.

  • JP had a significant impact on Indian politics. He influenced the formation of the Janata Party, which included several Congress splinter parties, Jana Sangh, and Swatantra Party. Despite public demand for his leadership during the Janata regime, JP declined, stating that power was not his goal.


  • In the pursuit of social change, Jaya Prakash proposed a holistic approach called Total Revolution, which comprised seven revolutions: political, social, economic, cultural, ideological, educational, and spiritual. The primary objective was to bring about a shift in society, in line with Sarvodaya ideals. JP's idealistic view of society led him from Marxism to Socialism and eventually to Sarvodaya.
  • The Bihar agitations that began in 1974 grew into mass demonstrations, with demands for changes in the political, social, and educational systems. JP proposed a four-part strategy to paralyze the government, implement Gram Swarajya, and create a people's government. He envisioned the term "people's government" as a small unit of democracy at the village, panchayat, or block level. These organizations would be channels of people's power in times of peace and inequality or dictatorship and would be responsible for restoring society based on equality and the abolition of poverty, racism, and exploitation. JP also urged people to unite across personal and political differences.
  • JP's motivation for inciting the Bihar students was to transform the Indian polity's governmental framework and system. He called it a 'Total Revolution' because of its comprehensive nature. JP presented the principle of Total Revolution in detail, reflecting his commitment to socialist and humanistic ideals.
  • JP aimed to transform culture and people's attitudes toward society through this revolution. He also urged Bihar workers to prepare for a prolonged fight to achieve the complete revolution's objectives.
  • JP believed that a robust opposition, powerful public opinion, free and fearless press, and intellectual and moral pressure from academics and trade unions were essential for democracy to be a vibrant and successful instrument. He urged people to reconsider their views and attitudes toward India's democratic functioning.



Socialism - Jayaprakash Narayan interpreted socialism through an Indian lens. He believed that a world without unequal distribution of wealth and exploitation would lead to healthy growth on all fronts. His social objectives included the elimination of exploitation and poverty, equal opportunities for self-development, and fair distribution of national wealth. To achieve this, he advocated for the elimination of landlordism and capitalism, the socialization of means of production, and the establishment of state-owned industries with worker involvement. He also believed in the Gram Panchayat-run cooperative farming, collective farming, and small-scale industries organized into producer cooperatives.

Sarvodaya movement - Jayaprakash was a founder of the Sarvodaya movement, which aimed to create a new social order that was classless and stateless, with a democratic structure where Lokniti replaced Rajneeti. He called this "people's socialism," which guaranteed independence, equality, harmony, and immortality. He believed that no power should be dominant in society.

Participatory Democracy concept - Jayaprakash promoted participatory democracy, which he believed would bring government to the people's doorstep and enable every person to participate in it. He emphasized the Panchayati Raj System and set certain conditions for its success, including access to education, non-interference of political parties in Panchayat elections or operations, devolution of power and obligations to the Panchayats, financial control for local governments, and accountability for public servants. He believed that the system of participatory democracy must be constructed under these conditions.

Lokniti and Rajneeti - 
The term "Sarvodaya" was coined by Mahatma Gandhi after reading John Ruskin's book "Unto the Last". The main features of Sarvodaya include trusteeship, economic equality, and all-around development for everyone. According to Jayaprakash's Sarvodaya, society should be free from classes and states. Lokniti should replace Rajneeti in the democratic system. The system will be a "people's socialism" that ensures independence, equality, harmony, and immortality.

Jayaprakash’s Sarvodaya implies a new order in which society will be classless and stateless. It will be a political system in which Lokniti will replace Rajneeti, and it will be 'people's socialism' that ensures freedom, equality, peace, and eternity.

Bhoodan Movement

The Bhoodan Movement started in 1951 when the Harijans of the Pochampalli village in Telangana asked Acharya Vinoba Bhave for around 80 acres of land to make a living. Vinoba asked the landlords of the village to come forward and help the Harijans, and a landlord offered the required land. This incident added a new chapter in the history of sacrifices and non-violence. It was the beginning of the Bhoodan (Gift of Land) movement.

The movement continued for thirteen years, and Vinoba travelled a total distance of 58741 km throughout the country. He was successful in collecting around 4.4 million acres of land, of which around 1.3 million acres were distributed among poor landless farmers. JP Narayan withdrew from active politics to join the Bhoodan movement in 1953.

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