Dialogue October-December, 2010, Volume 12 No. 2
Gandhi, JP, Lohia : Journey Through My Memory Lane
The month of October is closely linked with the life of Mahatma Gandhi (born on Oct. 2, 1869), Acharya Narendra Dev ( born on Oct.31, 1889), JP (born on Oct. 11, 1902, death on October 8,1979) and Dr Ram Manohar Lohia (death on Oct.12, born on the 23rd march, 1910). This is the centenary year of the publication of Gandhiji’s small but from ideas point of view the key- book’ Hind Swaraj’ which offered a forceful challenge to the supremacy of the western civilisation in the great days of empires. In the place of colonial rule, industrialisation and heavy technology, Gandhiji devoted his life for self rule (swaraj), laid emphasis on village-agriculture centric industries (Gramodyog), animate sources of energy and man- centric techniques of production The world wide debate is going on, on the relevance of Gandhian thought and action, in the age of terrorism, violence and climate change. This is the birth centenary year of Dr Lohia which is being celebrated in India and abroad. His birth centenary has aroused a great deal of interest regarding nation building, democracy, socialism, decentralization, civil disobedience and the world government. The phenomena of growing corruption in our national life and gross misuse of public money are reminding us once again the efficacy of the J P movement launched in seventies of the last century to fight against such maladies.
Gandhiji obtained the degree of Bar-at-Law from London. He practiced law at Bombay High Court as well as in South Africa. Gandhiji’s life was deeply influenced by his Vaishnav family, his training in law, racial hatred faced by him in South Africa and by the impact of the writings of Ruskin (England) and Tolstoy (Russia). Acharya Narendra Dev was a product of Allahabad University with Master’s degree in Ancient Indian History and Culture. He was deeply influenced by Iindian culture, Budhism and Marxism. J P obtained Master’s degree in Sociology from the United States of America. There was a marked transformation in the ideological stands of JP. During the phase of freedom struggle, a staunch Marxist and a revolutionary, J. P. turned into a staunch Gandhian and a proponent of the Bhoodan movement. Lohia worked for his doctorate in economics( 1929-33) in Berlin. Germany was passing through a phase of turmoil in the early 1930s when Lohia was there. The historical validity of Marxism and the functioning of the Bolshevik revolution in Russia was being criticized by people like Bernstein and the close - associates of Marx, Engels and Lenin in the past. The political hold of the social democrats was declining. With the rise of the Stalinist repressions in the Soviet Russia, the communists were marginalized. Under the leadership of Hitler, the Nazi Party had captured power in Germany. After coming back to India, J P (1929) and Lohia (early 1933) plunged into the freedom struggle and coordinated their efforts along with others in giving congress a socialist orientation.
During their student career, the latter three were active in students’ politics. They were the founders of the Congress Socialist Party (CSP, founded in 1934) and the leading lights of the Indian socialist movement. They were in the forefront of the freedom movement. The role played by Lohia and JP in the ‘Quit India’ movement in 1942 is a shining page of the history of the Indian freedom struggle. At the founding of the CSP, though having undented faith in the leadership of Gandhiji, they had yet their reservations in the total adoption of the Gandhian techniques of struggle for independence. Gradually, their bonds with the Mahatma became strong and stable and by 1942, there was almost a perfect synergy between the socialist leadership and Gandhiji.
Motrivated by the wave of patriotism and inspired by the call given by Gandhiji, my father and mother actively participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement (1930) launched by the Indian National Congress and both of them were imprisoned. After that, struggles and jail goings became the part of life of my parents. My father late Shri Dal Shringar Dubey was actively associated with the Congress Socialist Party since its inceptiuon. Under his leadership, the district congress committee of Ghazipur, U P was the first in India which in its conference (1935) adopted a resolution welcoming the formation of the Congress Socialist Party. Thus, starting from the time of birth, as per family sources in 1936, my surroundings were political, patriotic and socialist. On the basis of that, in the forthcoming pages, I am going to narrate the story of my personal experiences and memories of Gandhi, Lohia and J P.
I never saw Gandhiji. I not only saw JP and Lohia but met them several times in my teen age phase through my father. Later on, as an active participant in the socialist youth movement, I could interact with them in my own individual capacity .As compared to JP, the frequency of meeting with Lohia was more. My memories are dim of the period before 1942. There are only faint ideas of my father’s frequent jail going. The name of Gandhiji and with more reverence as ‘ Mahatma Ji’ used to pour in my ears from my childhood. The melodious patriotic songs with particular reference to Gandhiji sung by my sick mother before dawn, picked up by her in the course of her jail life and Prabhatferis, are till date are fresh in my memory lane. In these Hindi and Bhojpuri songs, the endeavours of ‘Mahatma Ji’ for the cause of swaraj, charkha and the national movement were depicted. I try to understand the enigma of Gandhi in 1930 which motivated a young rural wife, born in a conservative Brahman family, to remove her veil, to follow her husband, to become a soldier of Gandhi’s non-violent army and to go to jail by leaving her newly born first son in the care of her mother-in-law. My mother is only a small symbolic part of this great mobilisation in which thousands of women cutting across the boundaries of region, religion, language, caste and age participated. A keen sociological perspective is required to fathom the depth of such mass appeal and non-violent, fearless uprising in a brutal colonial setting. Glimpses of that national fervour and peaceful uprising can be seen in some of the documentaries related to the Dandi March.
After coming back to India from South Africa, Gandhiji joined Congrees which till then was mainly an organisation of English educated elite. Normally, they used to meet once a year at the time of Christmas vacation to pass resolutions in favour for politiccal reforms and to express their loyalty for the British Crown. The Indian National Congress was divided into moderate and radical factions at Surat session in 1907, led respectively on the one hand by Dada Bhai Nauroji, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Surendra Nath Banerji and on the other hand by Lokmanya Tilak, Bipin Chandra Pal and Lala Lajpat Rai ( popularly known as Lal, Bal, Pal). Out of his experiences in South Africa, Gandhiji gave a new conceptual framework for action oriented political mobilisation based on non-cooperation, satyagrah, non-violence and truth. He started his political work in India among the poor farmers, exploited by indigo plantation owners in Champaran, Bihar. He actively contributed in organising the trade union movement among the textille workers in Ahmedabad. The killings in JalianWala Bagh in Amritsar was a defining phase in Gandhi’s political career. He emerged as the most authentic voice of India at that time and under his leadership, the elitist Congress party was turned into a mass movement. The non-violent people’s movements launched by Gandhiji in 1921 (non-cooperation), 1930 (civil disobedience) and 1942 (Quit India) made Indian people conscious, courageous, fearless and shook the foundations of the British Raj in India.
I have very clear memories of the events taking place in my area in 1942. On Gandhiji’s call of’, Quit India’ and ‘do or die’ on the 8th August, 1942 in Bomnay, there was almost a total revolt in Ghazipur and Ballia districts. My father had been assigned the task of organising underground movement in the western UP by the Pradesh Congress Committee. To avoid arrest, he was advised not to go to go to Bombay to participate in the AICC session. In disguised form he reached our village home in the night of the 9th August but he was being followed by the police and was arrested. Gandhiji, along with the members of the Congress Working Committee was also arrested. Dr Lohia and many other socialist leaders went underground and took the underground command of the ‘Quit India’ movement. At that time, J P was detained in HazariBagh jail. In November 1942, J P along with five other socialists escaped from the jail Since then under the leadership of JP and Lohia, the movement got a powerful momentum. They formed Azad Dasta for the anti-British activities and set up clandestine radio stations in Bombay and Calcutta. Recently, I had an opportunity to hold a long talk with Shri Sitaram Singh (age 96 years, a socialist leader and a former member of Rajya Sabha)- a former trained Azad Dasta activist who played a vigorous role in rescuing JP and Lohia from Nepal’s jail where they were detained in 1943. Sitaram Singh succeeded in escaping from Hajipur sub- jail in August, 1942 and joined underground training camp of Azad Dasta run on an island of Kosi river, near the India-Nepal border. He suffered bullet injury in his leg in the operation to rescue JP and Lohia from jail. The broadcasts from Calcutta station were short lived but Dr Lohia’s and Usha Mehta’s broadcasts from Bombay and and Subhash Babu’s broadcasts from Berlin Radio station kept the flame of the 1942 revolt burning. Lohia and J P could be captured by the police in 1944 and were detained in Lahore Fort jail. During their detention, they had to undergo unbearable tortures. After release from his detention in June, 1944, Gandhiji had to intervene and he wrote a strong letter to the Viceroy, asking for the whereabouts, safety and wellbeing of these two precious sons of mother India. There was hue and cry in the then Central Assembly. In 1945, the newly formed Labour government in England decided to send a delegation of Labour MPs to meet JP and Lohia and to enquire about their conditions in detention. The colonial administration in India was frightened and both were shifted to Agra Central jail. JP and Lohia were the last political prisoners who were released from jail in April, 1946, after the formation of the Congress government in provinces.
After the end of the Second World war in August, 1945, elections were held for the provincial and central assemblies. As a boy, we used to organise election processions in and around our village in favour of the Congress candidates. ‘Sahgal, Dhillon, Shahnwaz (of the INA fame): Inqilab Zindabad’ and ‘Lohia, Achut, Jai Prakash: Inqilab Zindabad’, these two were the most popular slogans in those days. Virtually, the Congress fought and won the 1946 elections in seven provinces by encashing the heroic deeds of the Azad Hind Fauz led by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the glory of the 1942 ‘Quit India’ movement led by J P and Lohia. After their release from jail in April, 1946, J P and Lohia were treated as national heroes by the public and the nationalist press. JP emerged as a national leader and Lohia’s bond with Gandhi Ji became more intense.
The execution of the ‘direct action call’ of the Muslim League on the 16th August, 1946 evoked large scale communal riots, killings and arsons in Calcutta. The communal frenzy spread to the rural areas of the eastern part of Bengal. The worst affected district was Noakhali. The Muslim League government in Bengal remained a mute observer and played latent role in instigating rioters. At that time, most of the families in my village had links with Calcutta through migration and livelihood. One person from our village was killed there in riots. The people of my village, escaping from there, used to narrate the horrible stories of killings, abduction and rape. In that condition of virtual civil war, Gandhiji went to Calcutta. His train passed through our district and I vaguely remember, my father along with other Congress workers went to Mughal Sarai or Dildar Nagar stations to welcome Gandhiji. He appealed to maintain peace and communal harmony. The contributions of Gandhiji in bringing peace in Calcutta and Noakhali are unparalleled in human history. Dr Lohia in those days was with Gandhiji.
In my view, the efficacy of the non-violence experiment of Gandhi was first tested among the Pashtuns of the Frontier province (which is now the den of Taliban in Pakistan) during our freedom struggle. Under the charismatic leadership of Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan- popularly known as the Frontier Gandhi and his Red Shirt Volunteers, the Pashtuns- vowed to rise above the narrow communal politics preached by the Muslim League and emerged as the vanguard of the non-violent freedom struggle led by Gandhiji. As a result, in a province where Muslim population was more than ninety percent, Congress formed the government after the 1946 election. That government was dismissed by Jinnah as the Governor General of Pakistan on the 17th August, 1947- three days after the formation of Pakistan. The second most challenging test was in the burning streets of Calcutta and in the beastly fields of rural East Bengal in 1946 where an old man of seventy seven (called as ‘one man army’) with his determined message of brotherhood succeeded in bringing peace which could not be done by an army of 50 thousand in 1947 in Punjab. The scenes of Gandhi moving in villages of East Bengal in those days published in the newspapers are even to day fresh in my mind.
JP and Lohia were released from the Agra Central Jail in April 1946. JP went to Patna for an unprecedented reception where Dinkarji read his famous poem written to welcome JP. Forgetting the path of struggle and gradually keeping subtle distance from their ‘Bapu, the growing old leadership of the Congress was interested in joining the Constituent Assembly, concentrating their energy in negotiations with the Cabinet Mission, was engaged in daily polemics with the Muslim League and their destination was the formation of the interim government which was only a palatable name of the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Since the release of JP and Lohia, the political bonds and the personal affections between them and Gandhiji were further strengthened. Gandhiji suggested that Acharya Narendra Dev should be made the President of the Congress Party but on the proposal of Maulana Azad, Nehru became the President as well as Vice Chairman in the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Then Gandhiji suggested to appoint Dr Lohia as the General Secretary of the party. Lohia had certain pre-conditions before accepting this offer. He insisted that the policies of the government will be decided by the party and the same person shall not hold the post in the government and the presidentship of the party. These conditions were not acceptable to Nehru and then Lohia refused to be the General Secretary.
The tour programmes of Lohia and JP were arranged in the then United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). Their first visit was to Ghazipur. Dr Lohia came in August, 1946, followed by JP’s visit in October, 1946. The Congress Socialists had dominant position in the organizational set up of the district congress committee. There were preparations for their grand receptions. In this first visit to our district, their existing political contact with my father was turned into a warm, affectionate relationship. Dr Lohia became the part and parcel of our district and starting from 1948, he was elected delegate to the party conferences from Ghazipur. Dr Lohia’s meeting was near my village. He came on an Ekka (horse driven cart) along with my father, wearing Gandhi cap, Kurta—Dhoti and thick glasses. That scene is vivid in my mind. Some one suggested to him to speak about the post-war position of England. His reply was, at first, let me speak about the position of Hindustan and then I shall speak about Englishtan.
Out of three fixed meetings, JP could address only two meetings at Yusuf Pur and Ghazipur. Due to illness of Braj Kishore Babu- his father in law, JP had to return back to Patna and his scheduled meeting at Saidpur had to be cancelled. I was present at both meetings along with my elder brother. In his low voice, measurd tone, tall, handsome, young, in Kurta-dhoti- Gandhi cap, JP was an effective speaker. I remember JP came along with Prabhawatiji- his wife. During the course of meetings, I marked Prabhawatiji was engaged all the time in weaving on her portable Charkha. JP and Lohia gave a call to prepare for another 1942 type revolution to win our freedom. JP’s two roaring statements delivered at Ghazipur meeting that at the time of the forthcoming revolution not Bapu (Gandhiji) and Bhai (Nehruji), but this time Viceroy shall be behind the bars. He advised Muslim audience not to heed to the demand of Pakistan and remarked that Jinnah is a puppet of the British Tory Party. In my school, at the age of 10 at that time, I used to repeat these two statements in the presence of teachers and students. At that time, JP was our hero and in public perception he was the tallest socialist leader in India.
At their Kanpur Conference, the Socialists dropped ‘Congress’ from the name of their party but they did not cut off the formal relations with Congress. In 1947 while considering the British proposals for the partition of India, Gandhiji, JP and Lohia opposed partition in the meeting of the Congress Working Committee but the majority decision prevailed. In his final political testament prepared on the 29th Jan, 1948, one day earlier than his assassination, Gandhiji suggested to dissolve Congress and to turn it into Lok Sewak Sangh. I wrote my first poem on his death. The socialists decided to formally quit Congress in March, 1948 at their Nasik Conference.
I remember one of my boyhood discussions with Dr Lohia. In December 1948, he came to Ghazipur. While travelling from Ballia to Ghazipur in the night, due to some technical snag, the old jeep stopped moving. He was accompanied by Vijai Kumar - at that time a student of Kashi Vidyapeeth and later on the General Secretary of the SYS - the socialist youth wing. They had to spend the night on the road in the night in the jeep at the border of two districts. The communication was so poor that no message could be sent to Ghazipur. My father was worried. Early morning Dr Lohia needed tea. The socialist workers in that area came to know of the predicament of Dr Lohia and his presence in their midst. Till 1955, there was no tea shop even in Ghazipur. So, getting tea in that remote rural area was out of question. The villagers and the socialist workers arranged milk, curd and buttermilk but they were not palatable to a tea addict like Lohia. Any way, message was sent to Ghazipur. Another jeep was arranged and he reached the district headquarters. He was staying in the district office of the Socialist Party. I was introduced to him by my father. As a rural boy of twelve years of age, I was a bit hesitant in talking freely to such a big leader. But he made me comfortable within a few minutes. In those days, apart from the abolition of Zamjndari, he was pleading vigorously about redistribution of land, moving additional working population from land to other economic activities, minimum 20 bigha of land per family for a decent living and at least one cow in every household. I asked him how is it possible to award 20 bigha of land to every household, since, land can not be stretched like rubber. In a simple language, he tried to explain to me his logic. He went to kitchen where simple meal was being prepared and helped the party workers in this task without any pretensions. In the evening at the public meeting, he started his speach, giving reference to my question. The endearing qualities of Dr Lohia were his simplicity, comradeship and ability to meet with the illiterate poor workers with a natural sense of ease and equality.
The next time JP came to Ghazipur in 1949, and as usual, his stay was arranged in the party office. In the public meeting he spoke with reverence for Nehru and compared him with Krishna who gave his army to Duryodhan but himself remained by the side of Pandavas, suggesting by implications that in the core of his heart Neharu Ji wants the success of the newly formed Socialist Party. By that time, Lohia had emerged as a strong critic of Nehru and his government. The latent differences between these two tall socialist leaders in their approach towards Congress, Nehru and his government were surfacing. JP was a more reserved person. Contrary to this, Lohia was more open and warm. Lohia was a dreamer and a thinker. JP was basically a mass leader and an excellent organizer. They used to supplement each other, but once differences arose between them, the inner contradictions of the socialist movements were bound to emerge which ultimately led to the party’s split. This time, I could talk to Prabhawatiji- a woman of some rare qualities. She asked me mostly in Bhojpuri about my mother, brother and sister.
After having discussed the possibilities of cooperation between the Congress and the Praja Socialist Party with Prime Minister Nehru, JP came to Ghazipur in April, 1953. On the basis of the results of the percentage of votes gained and the seats won by the Socialist Party in 1952, Ghazipur had proved to be the strongest district for the socialists in the country. JP, therefore, deliberately decided to visit Ghazipur and to convince my father and other workers regarding the appropriateness of his meeting with Nehru. By that time my High School examination was over. JP stayed in the Party office. In a close door meeting in the night, JP was closely questioned by socialist workers regarding the propriety of his steps in discussing the issue of cooperation between the two parties. I, along with other young socialists worked hard to make his public meeting a success. I have deliberately written about these events on the basis of my personal experience. In the split of the Indian socialist movement in the mid fifties, the soft corner of a group of socialist leadership towards Prime Minister Nehru, forgetting their role as a main opposition party and their dream of becoming the ruling party after the 1952 General Election, was a major factor. In the 1952 elections, socialists were virtually routed. Being the General Secretary of the party, JP owned the responsibility for defeat but at the same time instead devoting his time in strengthening the party, his disappointment arising out of defeat was so deep that he decided to gradually withdraw from the active politics. He involved himself whole heartedly in Bhoodan movement –launched by Vinoba Bhawe.
After the assassination of Gandhiji, his followers with differing hues charted their separate paths. As advised by Gandhiji, Congress was not dissolved and its leaders became the rulers of India. Apart from leading the political movement for swaraj, Gandhiji had established several voluntary organizations such as Rashtra Bhasha Prachar Samiti, Dakchhin Bharat Hindi Prachar Sabha, Charkha Sangh, Harijan Sewak Sangh, Adim jati Sewak Sangh, Navajeewan Trust, Kasturba Trust, Ashrams at Sewagram (Wardha) and Sabarmati (Ahmedabad). In his life time, these were the real service oriented Gandhian institutions- having thousands of selfless devoted social workers, spread in all parts of India. In independent India, an umbrella organization known as ‘Sarwa Sewa Sangh’ of all Gandhian organizations was formed. In 1951, Vinoba Bhawe launched the Bhoodan movement to find solution of the complex land problem in India. In the 1930s, JP was deeply influenced by Marxism, Russian Revolution, M N Roy and Nehru. He was a champion of the policy of the united front with the communists. From the very beginning, though Lohia never openly discarded violent struggles against the colonial regime, yet he had deep faith in the efficacy of non-violent mass mobilization. After 1952, there was a complete transformation in thought and action process of JP. He did a purification fast in Poona, decided to devote his time in Bhoodan movement, gradually kept himself aloof from the party politics, did “Jeewandan”, and started recruiting “Jeewandanis” for the success of the Bhoodan movement. I remember his articles published in English ‘ Janata’ at that time where he called the change taking place in his life as a gradual political evolution. Thus, JP followed that Gandhian path which was known as ‘Sarvodaya’ whose towering interpreter was Acharya Vinoba Bhawe. Lohia in his own style of expression divided Gandhians into Sarkari Gandhians (ruling congressmen led by Nehru), Mathee Gandhians (holders and office bearers of Gandhian institutions/organizations) who rallied around Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Kujat (outcaste) Gandhians like Lohia.
Though, Lohia included himself in the category of ‘Kujat Gandhians’ yet, he tried to reinterpret Gandhi, gave new meaning to his thoughts and added fresh contents to the practice of Gandhism. His major emphasis was on non-violent mass struggle, civil disobedience against injustice, Satyagrah against governmental and non-governmental suppression-exploitation, decentralisation of power and economy, Chaukhambha Raj and the world government. Nehru depended more and more on the government machinery, state power, planned economy, parliamentary system and social legislations to build India of his vision. In that process, the congress party was turned into a status quoist, faction ridden, weak power centric machine, the remains of colonial bureaucracy became more powerful and the process of planning was turned into a system, popularly known as the license-permit raj. Persuations, social service and sruggles were the three arms of Gandhian praxis. Vinoba, JP and others associated with the sarvodaya movement totally ignored the struggles and the peaceful mass mobilization aspects of Gandhism in the 1950s and 1960s. As a result, that space was captured by communists, followed by Naxalites, regional violent separatist movements and occasionally even by anti- social elements. Lohia was fully conscious of this scenario. In his framework, democracy and state power represented by vote and ballot, national service represented by spade and constant struggles against injustice represented by jail are the foundations of political mobilization. By 1954, the rift in Indian socialist movement was widened. JP and Lohia followed two different directions. In 1955, Lohia was expelled from the Praja Socialist Partry .In the last days of December 1955, the foundation conference of the Socialist Party was held in Hyderabad and Dr Lohia was elected its chairman.
The open differences in the Praja Socialist Party arose on the question of firing by the police in the mid 1954 on an agitating mob in Travancore-Cochin (present Kerala)- ruled by a minority Praja Socialist government. Dr Lohia as the General Secretary of the Party sent a telegram from jail to Shri Pattam Thanu Pillai- the Chief Minister to resign. It was neither acceptable to the Chief Minister nor to the national executive of the Party whose Chairman was Acharya Kripalani. Lohia raised philosophical, ideological and political issues of the value of human life in a true Gandhian sense and the principles of governance by a socialist government. As a joint secretary of the UP, SYS, living in the state party office, as actively associated with the Ghazipur conference organized by my father in June 1955 in the midst of growing rift, I am fully aware of the issues of widening differences among the socialist leadership. Without going into the details of the happenings of those days, I have no hesitation in stating that the rift between JP and Lohia was not only a sad phase for the Indian socialist movement but also for the healthy growth of Indian politics.
The Gandhian politics in the pre- independence phase was based on the principles of non-violence, truth, swaraj, satyagrah, constructive work, decentralization, civil disobedience, national pride, patriotism, unity of India, national education, gramodyog, rightful place of Indian languages and recognition of Hindi as the national language. These issues were not just slogans for Gandhi. They were his articles of faith. Let us try to understand that to which extent JP and Lohia adopted them and tried to make them effective through their efforts. In March 1948, while coming out of Congress, the Socialist Party declared democratic socialism as its goal which was to be achieved through parliamentary democracy and elections. The Indian communists, in Feb 1948, adopted the policy of revolutionary change through armed struggle. After 1952, JP and Lohia started adopting and reinterpreting Gandhi. Both had faith in non-violence and decentralization of power and economy. JP followed the path of persuasion and of changing the heart of landowners to donate their land in Bhoodan to be distributed among the landless. Lohia believed in redistribution of land and rapid land reforms through state intervention. In the place of persuasion, Lohia’s stress was on vigorous non-violent struggles, civil disobedience and Satyagraha. From the very beginning of his political career, JP as the General Secretary of the CSP and later of the Socialist Party, was always associated with organization. Naturally, he formed organizations such as All India Panchyat Parishad (for Panchayati Raj and Gram Swaraj), wrote a thesis titled as ‘Reconstruction of Indian polity’- pleading for grassroots democracy and decentralization. Along with a reputed socialist advocate of Bombay High Court Purushottam Trikam Das, he actively helped in the formation of an International Tribunal on Tibet. Starting from the national to the village levels, he made plans for the formation of a wide networks of Bhoodan Committees. Lohia’s approach for rapid transformation of Indian society was based on the equal emphasis on the Party, Indian state, mobilization of the people and constant struggles through civil disobedience. For him Tibet problem was linked with national security, effective safeguard of our borders, culture and therefore , he tried to mobilise people for ‘Himalaya Bachao’, called the then NEFA as URWSHIYAM, violated there inner -line permit rule and launched movement in Manipur.With a loose organizational setup, he launched mass mobilization for ‘Vishesh Awasar’ to the SC, ST, OBC, backward minorities, woman; ‘Angreji Hatao’, ‘Jati Todo’, and ‘Dam Bandho’. JP and Lohia were great patriots with international vision and a clear world-view. JP raised the questions of Hungary, Checoslavakia and Bangladesh at the national and international forums. Lohia struggled for Goa’s independence, for democracy in Nepal, for the civil rights of the blacks in the USA, formulated the idea of the Asian Socialist Conference and pleaded for the world government.
From 1954 to 1966, their political courses were different. I clearly remember that in August or September 1966, Dr Lohia came to Gorakhpur after addressing a massive meeting in Patna. He talked with us about his meeting with JP. At that time, Lohia’s programme of non-congressism was in full swing. His election to Lok Sabha in 1963 has given a new meaning to the effectiveness of the Indian Parliamentary democracy. During the course of their meeting in Patna, JP was very warm to Lohia and had appreciation of his political moves. JP had gradually realised the futility of his non-political missions. After the rise of the Naxalite movement, later its fast spread in Andhra Pradesh and Bihar, where on paper, the Bhoodan movement had made maximum success, JP was internally disillusioned.Lohia was clear that the Naxalite movement in the name of poor was being used merely as a tool by the forces inemical to Indian sovereignty. Lohia through his tactical move of non-congressism succeeded in dislodging congress from power in nine states after the 1967 election. That was the most shining phase Of Lohia’s political career. But unfortunately, he died after an operation at Wellington Hospital (now, known as Dr Ram manohar Lohia Hospital), on the 12th October, 1967 in Delhi. All through his illness, death and cremation, JP and Prabhawatiji were by his side. The intense warmth of their old comradeship had returned back at the personal and political levels.
Gradually, JP realized the need of the political mobilization and powerful peoples’ movement against rising corruption in public life and the growing authoritarian trends in the ruling Congress party. JP’s towering personality enjoyed an unparalleled moral authority in the national life. On the death bed, Lohia advised his followers that only JP had capacity to shake this country and now onward never leave him alone. JP resolved to shoulder the responsibility of struggles and mass-mobilisation to complete the unfinished agenda of Lohia’s ‘Sapta Kranti’ which he termed as total revolution. During 1973-77, this vast nation was shaken by the call of this great revolutionary and a man possessing highest standard of integrity, patriotism, deep rooted commitment for selfless service to the nation and humanity at large. JP died in Patna on the 8th October, 1979 when the by-products of a democratic revolution after the collapse of emergency of which JP was a builder, were quarreling over sharing the loaf of power in Delhi. If an objective historical evaluation is done then we find that JP and Lohia contributed so significantly in moulding the course of our history in 1942, 1967 and in 1977, without hankering for power. Like Gandhi, without grabbing power, they were the makers of history by making this vast, ancient nation to move forward democratically with dignity.
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