Jayaprakash Narayan (11 October 1902 – 8 October 1979), popularly referred to as JP or Lok Nayak (Hindi for The People’s Hero), was an Indian independence activist, social reformer and political leader, remembered especially for leading the mid-1970s opposition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, for whose overthrow he called a “total revolution“. His biography,Jayaprakash, was written by his nationalist friend and an eminent writer of Hindi literature,Ramavriksha Benipuri. In 1999, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award, in recognition of his social work. Other awards include the Magsaysay award for Public Service in 1965. The Patna airport is also named after him. The largest hospital run by the Delhi government and the teaching hospital of the famous Maulana Azad Medical College, Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Hospital, is also named after him. It was formerly called Irwin hospital. There is also a park in his name, situated on Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, in New Delhi, just opposite to Maulana Azad Medical College. “After exhausting the courses at the Vidyapeeth, Jayaprakash decided to continue studies in the United States.” At age 20, Jayaprakash sailed aboard the cargo ship Jayaprakash reached California on 8 October 1922 and was admitted toBerkeley in January 1923. To pay for his education, Jayaprakash picked grapes, set them out to dry, packed fruits at a canning factory, washed dishes, worked as a mechanic at a garage and at a slaughter house, sold lotions and taught. All these jobs gave Jayaprakash an insight into the difficulties of the working class. Jayaprakash was forced to transfer to The University of Iowa when fees at Berkeley were doubled. He was forced to transfer to many universities thereafter. He pursued his favourite subject, sociology, and received much help from ProfessorEdward Ross, the father of sociology. In Wisconsin, Jayaprakash was introduced to Karl Marx‘s Das Kapital. News of the success of the Russian revolution of 1917 made Jayaprakash conclude that Marxism was the way to alleviate the suffering of the masses. He delved into books by Indian intellectual and Communist theoretician M. N. Roy. His paper on sociology, “Social Variation”, was declared the best of the yearNarayan returned from the US to India in late 1929 as a Marxist. He joined the Indian National Congress on the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1929; Mahatma Gandhi became his mentor in the Congress. He shared a house at Kadam Kuan in Patna with his close friend and nationalist Ganga Sharan Sinha. with whom he shared the most cordial and lasting friendship.
After being jailed in 1932 for civil disobedience against British rule, Narayan was imprisoned in NasikJail, where he met Ram Manohar Lohia, Minoo Masani, Achyut Patwardhan, Ashok Mehta, Yusuf Desai and other national leaders. After his release, the Congress Socialist Party, or (CSP), a left-wing group within the Congress, was formed with Acharya Narendra Deva as President and Narayan as General secretary.[citatiWhen Mahatma Gandhi launched the Quit India Movement in August 1942, Yogendra Shukla scaled the wall of Hazaribagh Central Jail along with Jayaprakash Narayan, Suraj Narayan Singh, Gulab Chand Gupta, Ramnandan Mishra, Shaligram Singh and Shyam Barthwar, with a goal to start an underground movement for freedom. As Jayaprakash Narayan was ill, Yogendra Shukla walked to Gaya with Jayaprakash Narayan on his shoulders, a distance of about 124 kilometres. Narayan returned to prominence in State politics in the late 1960s. 1974 ushered in a year of high inflation, unemployment and lack of supplies and essential commodities. Nav Nirman Andolan movement of Gujarat asked Jayaprakash to lead a peaceful agitation. On 8 April 1974, aged 72, he led a silent procession at Patna. The procession was lathi charged. On 5 June 1974, Jayaprakash addressed a large crowd at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. He declared, “This is a revolution, friends! We are not here merely to see the Vidhan Sabha dissolved. That is only one milestone on our journey. But we have a long way to go… After 27 years of freedom, people of this country are wracked by hunger, rising prices, corruption… oppressed by every kind of injustice… it is a Total Revolution we want, nothing less!” In 1974, he led the students’ movement in the state of Bihar which gradually developed into a popular people’s movement known as the Bihar Movement. It was during this movement that JP gave a call for peaceful Total Revolution. Together with V. M. Tarkunde, he found the Citizens for Democracy in 1974 and the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in 1976, both NGOs, to uphold and defend civil liberties. Indira Gandhi was found guilty of violating electoral laws by the Allahabad High Court. Narayan called for Indira and the CMs to resign and the military and police to disregard unconstitutional and immoral orders. He advocated a program of social transformation which he termedSampoorna kraanti, “total revolution”. Immediately afterwords, Gandhi proclaimed a national Emergency on the midnight of 25 June 1975. Narayan, opposition leaders, and dissenting members of her own party (the ‘Young Turks’) were arrested that day.
Jayaprakash Narayan attracted a gathering of 100,000 people at the Ramlila grounds and thunderously recited Rashtrakavi Ramdhari Singh ‘Dinkar’‘s wonderfully evocative poetry: Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aaati Hai.
Narayan was kept as detenu at Chandigarh even after he asked for one month parole to mobilise relief in flooded parts of Bihar. His health suddenly deteriorated on 24 October, and he was released on 12 November; diagnosis at Jaslok Hospital, Bombay, revealed kidney failure; he would be on dialysis for the rest of his life.
In the UK, Surur Hoda launched the “Free JP” campaign chaired by Nobel Peace Prize winner Noel-Baker for the release of Jayaprakash Narayan.] Indira Gandhi revoked the emergency on 18 January 1977 and announced elections. The Janata Party, a vehicle for the broad spectrum of the opposition to Indira Gandhi, was formed under JP’s guidance. The Janata Party was voted into power and became the first non-Congress party to form a government at the Centre. On the call of Narayan, many youngsters joined the JP movement.[
Social media must regulate itself: Inciting violence, a misuse, should be checked
Misuse of social media to spread social enmity and incite violence should be back on the public agenda, following the toxic outbreak on social media following the Dadri lynching. From urging death to cow killers to calling the media riot mongers, various social media handles have been spreading objectionable material on the web, with impunity. Does such impunity merit being tolerated in the name of freedom of expression? It does not. Freedom of expression does not run to inciting violence and hate speech, particularly on volatile occasions such as a riot or a lynching. The only question is what shape the regulation should take. And any regulation would be superior to the mass blocking of mobile broadband that the authorities resort to on such occasions. In print, things are relatively straightforward. The publisher bears responsibility for material carried in the publication, as choice is exercised in deciding what goes into print. On social media, where publication is instantaneous and by the user, is it fair to expect the social media platform to vet every post or message before it is published? While Facebook does exclude adult material, thus exercising some regulation of its own, it is neither feasible nor desirable for any social media platform to exercise judgement as to the acceptability of certain views. However, social media platforms must be required to do two things. Overt incitement to violence should be removed instantly and other material objected to must be subjected to a swift review by internal and external bodies on the basis of commonly worked out industry guidelines. Social media must institute a mechanism to act on objections brought to their notice, without waiting for an official directive. There is no call for state censorship.
Further, they must be able to trace the creators of social media identities used to spread hatred, or defame a commercial rival, for that matter. So, even as those desiring anonymity are not denied, those who carry out mischief while hiding their face from the public must be identifiable to the social media platform, for warning, disqualification or prosecution, as required.
Narendra Modi on the Role of NDTV during the 2002 Riots
Thus far people have heard what media stalwarts have to say about Narendra Modi. Now hear what Modi has to say about some of the famous media persons’ coverage of the 2002 riots in Gujarat: To quote Modi:
(Click for Video: NDTV Role in Adding Fuel to the Fire During 2002 Riots).
It was my endeavour that we restore peace at the earliest possible. If you look at the data you will see that in 72 hours we had put down the riots and brought the situation under control. But these TV channels kept on playing up the same incidents over and over again. At the time, Rajdeep and Barkha were in the same channel NDTV. During those inflamed days, Barkha acted in the most irresponsible manner. Surat had not witnessed any communal killings, barring a few small incidents of clashes. However the bazaars were closed [as a precautionary measure]. Barkha stood amidst closed shops screaming “This is Surat’s diamond market, but there is not a single police man here.”
I phoned Barkha and said, “Are you providing the address of this “unprotected” bazaar to the rioting mobs? Are you inviting them to come and create trouble there by announcing that there is no police here so you can run amok safely?”
In a second incident in Anjar, she played up the news that a Hanuman mandir had been broken and vandalized. I told her, “What are you up to? You are in Kutch which is a border district. There you are showing the attack and destruction of a mandir. Do you realize the implications of broadcasting such news? We haven’t yet recovered from the earthquake. Have you actually done proper investigation into the riots? Why are you lighting fires for us? Your news takes a few minutes to broadcast that such and such place is unprotected or a mandir has been vandalized. But it takes for me a few hours to move the police from one disturbed location to another since these incidents are breaking out in the most unexpected places.”
What is worse, when I got the matter enquired into by the local police, we found out that it was a small, insignificant structure under a tree which had been damaged a little bit by some crazy individual. But NDTV presented it as an attack on a Hanuman mandir. When the fires were raging these journalists were pouring fuel on those fires.
On that day I had put a ban on TV channels because they were actually provoking trouble. But it was only for one day.
Since Rajdeep Sardesai was among the leading reporters covering the disturbances, I phoned him to say, “I will have to put a temporary ban on your channel if you continue with the provocative coverage. There is a well-established regulation that media should not name communities during communal riots nor identify a damaged placed as a mandir or masjid. Why are you violating that code and well set protocol about not naming communities or identifying places, of worship? You are going against established norms.”
How Modi Reached the Point of No Return with NDTV?
Modi told me the last straw for him with regard to NDTV was when one of their correspondents Vijay Trivedi, accompanied him in a helicopter for an interview. When he started asking the same old insulting questions, Modi simply kept quiet and refused to respond any further. Piqued at being ignored, Trivedi spread the canard that Modi nearly threw him out of the helicopter mid-air because he had asked “tough questions”. Modi says on that day he decided never to give legitimacy to NDTV by giving them an interview
or responding to any questions from them. Vijay Trivedi treats this incident as a badge of honour and has boasted about it on numerous occasions–in writing.
This translation from Hindi is not verbatim but I have tried to be as close to the meaning of the Hindi oroginal as possible. For a more detailed account of media’s role during the 2002 riots read’ “Modi, Muslims and Media”.
Posted on April 8, 2014