Thursday, January 22, 2009

Jayprakash Narayan

I witnessed the Nav-Nirman Andolan of 1973 first hand. I was studying in Ahmedabad at that time and saw the government of Chimanbhai Patel topple as a result of this agitation. It was started off in hostels and universities by students to ultimately envelope the entire state. Jayprakash Narayan was considered by the leaders of this agitation to be their guide and mentor. He was 71 years old at that time and was a veteran of the Indian independence struggle. He had already achieved the status of a senior statesman and was on his way to become the Lok Nayak. He was posthumously awarded the Bharat ratna in 1998.

When I first heard about Dr. Jayprakash Narayan's Lok Satta Party, I was intrigued by the similarity in name and that was one reason why I decided to investigate further . And I have to say that I am pretty impressed. Anyone who is against kleptocracy and wishes to promote the cause of liberty and better governance is a good guy in my book. A rural development model similar to Dr. Atanu Dey's RISC model, about which I have written earlier, also finds a place on his agenda. The party has fielded candidates in by-elections in Andhra Pradesh and has managed to get about 13% of the popular vote. This party has also held internal elections which is an anomaly in Indian politics!

I am disappointed with their website and content. Because I believe that any political movement that wishes to reform the prevailing system, has to reach out not just to the grassroots voters but has to attract potential leaders as well. And the internet is a crucial medium in this day and age, if you want to attract high caliber, young professional leadership material, as JP obviously wants to do.

He has managed to create a huge profile without the help of existing political parties or their infrastructure and should be commended for that. From what I am hearing, his party is planning to participate in the national elections this year and I wish them all the best.

I think his approach so far has been to create a grassroots movement, with the belief that good honest leaders will automatically emerge from the movement at the right time.

The Freedom Team of India is another movement which has similar goals. But their approach is to find enough honest, like minded leaders first and gather critical mass before contesting elections.

10 comments:

hitch writer said...

Hey thanks for sharing, you really come up with interesting facts.

Again I know very little about this, bad general knowledge on my part !!

time to search more on this topic.

nimis540 said...

Thanks for sharing...Though i have heard 'Lok Satta' never knew so much information earlier..

Sagarone said...

@Hitch Writer and @Nimmy, Thanks for your comments. An initiative by someone who is pained by the current state of our politics and consequently our nation, and intends to do something about it, as JP and FTI are, need to be supported by every thinking Indian.

How do we know said...

Fantastic post! Today, i was also expecting a post somewhere on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose(its his birthday today)... and u r among the few people who would have seen the 1973 movement first hand and are also into blogging.

Vinod_Sharma said...

I don't know how I missed this post earlier.

The way people are getting disillusioned with professional politicians, there is a real empty space waiting to be filled up. What is happening in Andhra is a pointer to what can be achieved if really good and respected and honest people can get together and provide one solid alternate platform/ Perhaps Narayana Murthy is best suited to give a big start nationally which will give sleepless nights to all politicians, but I doubt whether he will agree to take the plunge.

uropinion said...

I think there is another party working along similar lines in the north.They contested many seats in Rajasthan elections.Did not win nay but made an impressive show.

Usha Pisharody said...

Informative and thought provoking. Mr Jayaprakash Narayan was a statesman we all looked up to, in school and college, actually, especially during the Emergency and after, when the Janatha Party won.

Indeed, using the internet to reach out to young voters, especially those who are the ones that should matter, in this country the now, the ever growing youth, is to be done at a more serious pitch. It is something I have read, has helped Obama's campaign too.

And with the young people, it would not be all that easy to deceive them. They are more discerning than we sometimes give them credit for!

Glad to be here and reading :)

Sagarone said...

@uropinion and Usha, Thanks for the comments and welcome to the blog!

Indyeah said...

A really 'from the heart' post..

I have only heard of JP, as everyone called him ,from my parents...He must have been some human being that so many look up to him..What a guide he must have been!
The Lok Satta party has greatly intrigued me too..Yes,one has to reach out to the grassroots...and attract potential leaders...beautifully said!
The internet's become such a huge medium today...no one can afford to ignore it...those who do so, do it at their own risk ,to their own loss

very thought provoking article..

and I have to say like hitchwriter said ..your facts are so new and so amazing!:)

Sagarone said...

@Indyeah, Thanks for your encouraging comment!