Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan, popularly known as ‘JP’, has been a beacon light in both pre-and post-independence India. His life and ideas are being keenly studied by academics and activists in many parts of the globe. In the words of Gandhi : “JP is an outstanding general in India’s fight for freedom. Any country will be proud of such jewels among men”. The epithet Loknayak was lovingly conferred on him by millions of his admirers. If Gandhi’s life reflects an ‘experiment with truth’, the JP’s life essentially signifies an experiment with freedom. His saga of freedom started from a stint in revolutionary violence and in different phases of his life his deep search for freedom passed through, Non-cooperation, Marxism, Democratic Socialism, Sarvoday and Total Revolution was unique. In his youth he was hero of heroes during August Revolution and towards the end of his life he provided leadership in a movement to save India from an imminent threat of losing even the basic structure of Indian Democracy. JP’s deep deep involvement in public life for more than half a century, without any attachment to power and position could be treated as a parallel to Gandhi’s. In personal life his detachment should be regarded as unprecedented among worldly men. The present book is not just commemorative volume: it presents a unique combative and constructive episode in the life of great leader of the 20th century in his own facile pen, some eloquent and intimate accounts from his front-ranking compatriots and writings by some brilliant academics as well. Probably, JP’s relevance would be felt more in the 21st century, when this volume may stimulate further thinking on alternative society and polity, goals that JP aspired for all through his life.
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