Jay Prakash 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 Indian National Congress, upon invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru and drawn by a speech by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.
  • JP would go on to become a founding member of Congress Socialist Party (CSP), but after independence took it out of the Congress and formed the Socialist Party, which was merged with J B Kriplani’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.
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