Jayaprakash Narayan
Jayaprakash Narayan Srivastava

(1902-10-11)11 October 1902
Died8 October 1979(1979-10-08) (aged 76)
Patna, Bihar, India
Other namesJP, Jay Prakash Narayan, Lok Nayak
Alma materUniversity of Wisconsin (M.A., sociology)
Ohio State University (B. A., behavioural science)
University of Iowa (CHE, discontinued)
U.C. Berkeley (chemistry, discontinued)[1][2]
  • Activist
  • theorist
  • politician
Political partyIndian National Congress
Janata Party
MovementQuit India, Sarvodaya, JP Movement
SpousePrabhavati Devi
RelativesBrajkishore Prasad (father-in-law)

Jayaprakash Narayan Srivastava (listen; 11 October 1902 – 8 October 1979), also known as JP and Lok Nayak (Hindi for "People's leader"), was an Indian independence activist, theorist, socialist and political leader. He is mainly remembered for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and calling for her overthrow in a "total revolution". In 1999, Narayan was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, in recognition of his social service. His other awards include the Magsaysay award for public service in 1965.

Early life

Jayprakash Narayan Srivastava was born on 11 October 1902[3][4] in the village of Sitabdiara, Saran district, Bengal Presidency, British India (present-day Ballia district, Uttar Pradesh, India).[5] [a] His house was near the banks of the flood-prone Ghaghara river; every time the river swelled, the house would be slightly damaged, eventually forcing the family to move a few kilometres away to a settlement that is now known as Jayprakash Nagar, Uttar Pradesh.[citation needed]

Narayan came from a Srivastava Kayastha family.[7][4] He was the fourth child of Harsu Dayal and Phul Rani Devi. His father was a junior official in the canal department of the state government and often toured the region. When Narayan was nine years old, he left his village to enroll in the seventh class of the collegiate school at Patna.[8] This was his first break from village life. Narayan stayed at Saraswati Bhawan, a student hostel in which most of the boys were older than him and included some of Bihar's future leaders, such as its first chief minister Krishna Singh, his deputy Anugrah Narayan Sinha and several others who became politicians and academics.[9]

In October 1918, Narayan married Braj Kishore Prasad's elder daughter and independence activist Prabhavati Devi.[10] After their wedding, because Narayan was working in Patna and it was difficult for his wife to stay with him, Mahatma Gandhi invited Prabhavati to become an inmate at Sabarmati Ashram (Ahmedabad).[11] Jayaprakash, along with some friends, went to listen to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad speak about Gandhi's non-cooperation movement against the passing of the Rowlatt Act of 1919. Azad 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".[citation needed] Inspired by Azad's words, Jayaprakash left Bihar National College with just 20 days remaining to his examinations. Jayaprakash joined the Bihar Vidyapeeth, a college founded by Rajendra Prasad, and became among the first students of Gandhian Anugraha Narayan Sinha.[citation needed]

Higher education in the United States

After exhausting the courses at the Vidyapeeth, Narayan decided to continue his studies in the United States.[10] 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 University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) in January 1923.[12] To pay for his education, Narayan picked grapes, packed fruits at a canning factory, washed dishes, and worked as a garage mechanic and at a slaughterhouse, sold lotions and taught. These jobs gave Narayan an insight into the difficulties of the working class.[1][2]

After a semester studying chemistry[13] at UC Berkeley, his fees doubled and Narayan was forced to transfer to The University of Iowa and later to other universities. He pursued his favourite subject, sociology, and received much help from Professor Edward A. Ross.[citation needed]

In Wisconsin, Narayan was introduced to Karl Marx's book Das Kapital. News of the success of the Bolsheviks in the Russian Civil War made Narayan conclude Marxism was the way to alleviate the suffering of the masses. He studied books by Indian intellectual and Communist theoretician M. N. Roy. Narayan's paper on sociology Cultural Variation[14] was declared the best of the year.[15] Narayan graduated from University of Wisconsin with a MA in Sociology, and from Ohio State University with a BA in behavioural science.[1][2] While in the United States, he met K. B. Menon, then teaching at Harvard, ultimately persuading him to return to India and join the independence movement there.[16]


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

Having become a Marxist, Narayan returned from the US to India in late 1929.[17] The same year, he joined the Indian National Congress (INC or Congress) on the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru; Mahatma Gandhi became Narayan's mentor in the Congress. Narayan shared a house at Kadam Kuan in Patna with his close friend and nationalist Ganga Sharan Singh (Sinha)[18] with whom he shared a lasting friendship.[18]

After being jailed in 1930 for civil disobedience against British rule, Narayan was imprisoned in Nasik Jail, where he met Rammanohar Lohia, Minoo Masani, Achyut Patwardhan, Asoka Mehta, Basawon Singh, Yusuf Desai, C K Narayanaswami and other national leaders. After his release, the Congress Socialist Party (CSP), a left-wing group within the Congress, was formed with Acharya Narendra Deva as president and Narayan as general secretary.[citation needed]

When Mahatma Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement in August 1942, Narayan, along with Yogendra Shukla, Suraj Narayan Singh, Gulab Chand Gupta, Pandit Ramnandan Mishra, Shaligram Singh and Shyam Barthwar, scaled the wall of Hazaribagh Central Jail with a goal of starting an underground movement for freedom.[19] Many young socialist leaders like Rammanohar Lohia, Chhotubhai Puranik and Aruna Asaf Ali took part in the movement. Because Narayan was ill, Yogendra Shukla walked to Gaya with Narayan on his shoulders,[19] a distance of about 124 km (77 mi).[20] Narayan also served as the[21] chairman of Anugrah Smarak Nidhi (Anugrah Narayan Memorial Fund).

After Independence

Between 1947 and 1953, Jayaprakash Narayan was President of All India Railwaymen's Federation, the largest labour union in Indian Railways.[22]


In 1975, Allahabad High Court found Indira Gandhi guilty of violating electoral laws.[23][24][25][26] Narayan called for Gandhi and the CMs to resign, and the military and police to disregard unconstitutional and immoral orders.[citation needed] He advocated a program of social transformation, which he termed Sampoorna kraanti (total revolution).[citation needed] Immediately afterwards, Gandhi proclaimed a national Emergency on the midnight of 25 June 1975.[27] Desai, opposition leaders, and dissenting members of Gandhi's own party were arrested that day.[28]

Jayaprakash Narayan gathered a crowd of 100,000 people at Ramlila grounds and recited Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh 'Dinkar''s poem Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai.[29]

Narayan was detained at Chandigarh; he asked for one month parole to mobilise relief in flooded parts of Bihar. His health suddenly deteriorated on 24 October 1975, and he was released on 12 November the same year.[citation needed] At Jaslok Hospital, Bombay, Narayan was diagnosed with kidney failure; he would be on kidney dialysis for the rest of his life.[citation needed]

In the UK, Surur Hoda launched "Free JP", a campaign for the release of Jayaprakash Narayan that was chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Philip Noel-Baker.[30]

On 18 January 1977, Indira Gandhi revoked the emergency and announced elections. The Janata Party, a vehicle for the broad spectrum of the opposition to Gandhi, was formed under JP's guidance.[citation needed] The Janata Party was voted into power and became the first non-Congress party to form a central government.[31] In the 1977 Indian presidential election, Narayan was proposed as President of India by Janata Party leaders but he refused and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy, then Speaker of the Lok Sabha, became President.[citation needed]

Private life

At the age of 17, Jayaprakash was married to Prabhavati Devi, daughter of lawyer and nationalist Brij Kishore Prasad in October 1919. Prabhavati was very independent and on Gandhi's invitation, went to stay at his ashram while Jayaprakash continued his studies.[32] Prabhavati Devi died on 15 April 1973 after a long battle with cancer.[citation needed]


In March 1979, while he was in hospital, Narayan's death was erroneously announced by the Indian prime minister Morarji Desai, causing a 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 mistake a few weeks later, Narayan smiled.[33] Narayan died in Patna, Bihar,[34] on 8 October 1979, three days before his 77th birthday, due to effects of diabetes and heart disease.[citation needed]


Narayan on a 2001 stamp of India

Sites named after Jayaprakash Narayan

Jayaprakash Narayan's statue near Mirza Ghalib College in Gaya, Bihar, India

Artistic depictions of JP

See also


  1. ^ Sitabdiara is a large village straddling two states and three districts—Saran and Bhojpur in Bihar, and Ballia in Uttar Pradesh.[6]


  1. ^ a b c "The Idea of 'Total Revolution'". Bangalore Mirror. 16 October 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  2. ^ a b c Khushwant Singh (30 March 1975). "A new wave from the old India". The New York Times. Retrieved 22 February 2021.
  3. ^ Ratan, Das (2007). Jayaprakash Narayan: His Life and Mission. Sarup & Sons. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-7625-734-3.
  4. ^ a b Devasahayam, M. G. (2004). India's Second Freedom: An Untold Saga. Siddharth Publications. p. 95. ISBN 978-81-7220-157-9. Retrieved 5 June 2023. asked him whether Narayan was his surname. He said no and said that he was in fact Jayaprakash Narayan Srivastava. Jayaprakash Narayan is his name and Srivastava is his surname. Conversations centered on the community of Kayasthas
  5. ^ Prasad, Bimal (1980). A Revolutionary's Quest: Selected Writings of Jayaprakash Narayan. Oxford University Press. p. IX. ISBN 978-0-19-561204-2.
  6. ^ "A forgotten hero's forgotten legacy". Archived from the original on 16 August 2017.
  7. ^ Das, Sandip (2005). Jayaprakash Narayan: A Centenary Volume. Mittal Publications. p. 109. ISBN 978-81-8324-001-7.
  8. ^ Scarfe, Allan; Scarfe, Wendy (1998). J. P., His Biography. Orient Blackswan. p. 30. ISBN 978-81-250-1021-0.
  9. ^ Bhattacharjea, Ajit (1978). Jayaprakash Narayan: A Political Biography. Vikas Publishing House. p. 33. ISBN 9780836401158.
  10. ^ a b Das, Sandip (2007). Jayaprakash Narayan: A Centenary Volume. Mittal Publications. p. 239. ISBN 978-81-8324-001-7.
  11. ^ Ratan, Das (2007). Jayaprakash Narayan: His Life and Mission. Sarup & Sons. p. 7. ISBN 978-81-7625-734-3.
  12. ^ Chishti, Seema (11 October 2017). "Jayaprakash Narayan: Reluctant messiah of a turbulent time". The India Express. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  13. ^ "Register – University of California: 1922/1923". Register. Berkeley, California: University of California Press: 227. 1923. hdl:2027/coo.31924064686276.
  14. ^ Narayan, JP. Cultural variation. Diss. The Ohio State University, 1929.
  15. ^ "Writings of Jayprakash Narayan". www.mkgandhi.org. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  16. ^ S, Lekshmi Priya (4 August 2018). "This Unsung Kerala Scholar Was The Architect of the Quit India Movement in Malabar!". The Better India. Retrieved 18 February 2024.
  17. ^ Das, Sandip (2005). Jayaprakash Narayan: A Centenary Volume. Mittal Publications. p. 230. ISBN 978-81-8324-001-7.
  18. ^ a b Ralhan, O.P. (2002). Encyclopaedia of Political Parties. Anmol Publications Pvt. Ltd. pp. 17998 (at pages 73–74). ISBN 978-81-7488-865-5.
  19. ^ a b Srivastava, N.M.P. (1988). Struggle for Freedom: Some Great Indian Revolutionaries. K.P.Jayaswal Research Institute, Government of Bihar, Patna.
  20. ^ Distance between Hazaribagh Central Jail and Gaya. Maps.google.co.in. Retrieved on 20 November 2018.
  21. ^ "Bihar Vibhuti's Legacy Drifting into Oblivion?". Patna Daily. 6 January 2012. Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  22. ^ Bear, Laura (2007). Lines of the Nation: Indian Railway Workers, Bureaucracy, and the Intimate Historical Self. Columbia University Press. p. 231. ISBN 9780231140027.
  23. ^ "Indian Emergency of 1975-77". Mount Holyoke College. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  24. ^ "The Rise of Indira Gandhi". Library of Congress Country Studies. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  25. ^ Kuldip Singh (11 April 1995). "OBITUARY: Morarji Desai". The Independent. Archived from the original on 24 May 2022. Retrieved 27 June 2009.
  26. ^ Katherine Frank (2002). Indira: The Life Of Indira Nehru Gandhi. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 371. ISBN 978-0-395-73097-3.
  27. ^ "Justice Sinha, who set aside Indira Gandhi's election, dies at 87". The Indian Express. 22 March 2008. Archived from the original on 9 March 2012. Retrieved 5 July 2009.
  28. ^ Choudhary, Ratnadeep (10 April 2019). "Morarji Desai, the prime minister for whom time in PMO was 'tougher than prison'". ThePrint. Retrieved 21 June 2024.
  29. ^ Harish Khare (16 May 2001). "Obligations of a lameduck". The Hindu. Archived from the original on 20 July 2009. Retrieved 2 January 2009.((cite news)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  30. ^ McRobie, George (30 June 2003). "Surur Hoda: Trade unionist who spread the message of Mahatma Gandhi". The Guardian. London. Archived from the original on 27 August 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2012.
  31. ^ "How non-BJP, non-Congress governments in India have fared in the past". thenewsminute.com. 16 May 2019. Retrieved 26 December 2019.
  32. ^ a b Vaidya, Prem. "Jayaprakash Narayan – Keeper of India's Conscience". LiberalsIndia.com. Archived from the original on 5 February 2012. Retrieved 16 August 2012.
  33. ^ "Jayaprakash Narayan's death announced mistakenly". www.indianexpress.com. 23 March 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  34. ^ Datta-Ray, Sunanda K. "Inconvenient Prophet". India Today. Archived from the original on 31 January 2009. Retrieved 6 January 2012.[failed verification]
  35. ^ Correspondent, NDTV (24 January 2011). "List of all Bharat Ratna award winners". ndtv.com. Archived from the original on 11 March 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2012.
  36. ^ "Blog Entry# 1555434". India Rail. 1 August 2015. Archived from the original on 18 October 2015. Retrieved 1 August 2015.
  37. ^ "Uncensored 'Loknayak' to be screened soon". The Times of India. 19 October 2004. Archived from the original on 8 February 2014. Retrieved 20 November 2018.
  38. ^ "Loknayak". Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2021.
  39. ^ ""I am fully indebted to theatre"". The Hindu. 31 May 2010. Archived from the original on 22 February 2014. Retrieved 25 February 2021.

Further reading and bibliography

  • Braja Kishore Prasad: The Hero of Many Battles by Sachidanand Sinha; National Book Trust, India, New Delhi; 2018; ISBN 978-81-237-8176-1
  • 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
  • J.P: His Biography, Allan and Wendy Scarfe, Orient Longmans New Delhi 1975
  • Jayaprakash Narayan - Jankranti Ke Loknayak by Dr. Riteshwar Nath Tiwari, Rajmangal Prakashan, April 2023
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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