DU SOL BA 3rd Year History of Social Thought Notes Chapter 33 Jay Prakash Narayan (1902—1979)
Examine the socialistic ideas of Jay Prakash Narayan.
What type of social organisation was advocated by J.P. ? Discuss.
Jay Prakash Narayan since 1952 tried to achieve nonviolent alternative to totalitarian development. At the Madras as conference of the socialist party in July 1950, he said, “If many were alive today, I am sure he would certainly not have withdrawn himself into a shell and closed his eyes to Gandhiji percepts and practices”.
J.P. believed that amidst capitalist paralysis and contradictions, Russia was a symbol of steady economic success. He praised R. Palme Dutt’s Fascism and Social Revolution.
J.P. rejected Gandhism theory of trusteeship and his vision of Ram Rajya where the interests of both the rich (the price) and the poor (the pauper) would find protection.
He characterised Gandhism as being, “in a serious beg of timid economic analysis, good intentions and ineffective moralising. He treated Gandhism as being well-intentioned but “dangerous in its blindness to pressing economic issues and as being ‘deceptive” for the masses.
In his writings, he revealed that the ancient Indian social philosophy could not afford any concrete insight for the solution of the complex problems of an industrial capitalist society. He criticised the Brahmin class for its constant opposition to social reform for their ownvested interests.
J.P. also criticised the socialism of Dr. Bhagwan Das who wanted to revive the “traditional stratificatory scheme of four fold Varnas and Ashramas as categorized by Manu. But Narayan regarded that Vasishtha-Manu-Yajnavalkya scheme as fossilized and incapable of solving the complicated problems of rampant economic exploitation”.
Narayan very correctly opined that distinction between the learned and the executive professionals could not be maintained in the tangled complexities of the present day world where executive positions do require specialized competence. He was of the view that it is better to group the clerical and manipulative cadres of the lower executive personnel with the labouring professions.
Narayan was opposed to the ‘semi-philosophical subjectivist machinery for implementing this ideal scheme of fourfold social stratification’. To Narayan, a votary at the shrine of materialistic dialectical ideology, this was too tame, introspective and passive a method to resolve the involved and intricate problems of an exploitationist society .
About Das’s theory J.P, said, “he (Das) had misunderstood some of the fundamental tenets of historical materialism.” J.P. on the other hand, in his full Marxist fervour, propagated the materialistic basis of all spiritual thoughts.
He was a devoted nationalist and a socialist intellectual, he was very clear about the economic foundations of the forces, processes and institutionalized behaviour of politics and because of this Gandhi regarded him as the greatest Indian authority of socialism. J.P. has also been influenced by the ideas of American and British socialists.
He regarded socialism as a complete theory on socioeconomic reconstruction and as much more than a theory of personal utopian-idealistic ethics. He repudiated the concept of the congenital or biological or racial inequality of man. No sane person, however, would plead that men are absolutely equal in their potential capacities. No socialist would ever endorse equality in that literal and absurd sense.
Causes of Inequality.
J.P. pointed out that the grave inequality in the social and economic spheres is because of the disproportionate ownership and control of the means of production. Therefore he urged that society has to provide that kind of arrangement whereby the economic impediments and built-in institutional constraints that thwart the growth of the power and faculties of men, are removed.
He however stands only for social and economic equality and not for psychological standardization or mechanical uniformity. Socialism is also a theory and technic of widespread planning. It involves a technological reconstruction of the total aspect of society.
He favoured harmonious and balanced growth of the society as a whole.
The 15-Point Programmes of the All India Congress Socialist Party outlined in 1934 formulates in very clear terms the dominant governing ideology of Jayaprakash Narayan in the thirties and forties of the present century. These are re – produced below :
- Transfer of all power to the producing masses.
- Development of the economic life of the country to be planned and controlled by the state.
- Socialisation of key and principal industries (e.g. Steel, Cotton, Jute, Railways, Shipping, Plantations, Mines), Banks, Insurance and Public Utilities, with a view to the progressive socialization of all the instruments of production, distribution and exchange.
- State monopoly of foreign trade.
- Organization of co-operatives for production, distribution and credit in the ^socialized sector of economic life.
- Elimination of princes and landlords and all other classes of exploiters without compensation.
- Redistribution of land to peasants.
- Encouragement and promotion of co-operative and collective farming by State.
- Liquidation of debts owned by peasants and workers.
- Recognition of the right to work or maintenance by the State.
- “To everyone according to his needs and from everyone according to his capacity” to be the basis ultimately of distribution and production of economic goods.
- Adult franchise on a functional basis.
- No support to or discrimination between religions by the State and no recognition of any distinction based on caste of community.
- No discrimination between the sexes by the State.
- Repudiation of the so-called Public Debt of India.
Jayaprakash unveiled the evils, the collaborationist and accommodationist programmes and techniques of the Congress. He desired that Congress should adopt a more radically oriented programme. He wrote, “Finally, the present programme of the Congress and its declarations of objectives, do not give it the character of a representative of the masses”. Its objective must include as a minimum, the following points.
- Complete independence, in the sense of separation from British Imperialism.
- All political and economic power to the producing masses (including brain workers).
- Nationalization of all key and large industries, banks, mines, plantations etc.
- Abolition of landlordism in all its forms.
- Land to the tillers of the soil.
- Liquidation of all debts owned by peasants and workers.
Socialization of the means and opposed to exploitation.
J.P.was of the view that ‘Socialism can be realized only by the socialization of the means and factors of production. Only thus can the. cruel process of economic exploitation of the vast masses be neutralized. Narayan, hence, criticized the inadequacy of the Fundamental Rights resolution of the Karachi Congress of 1931. He favoured in strong terms the reduction of land revenue, the limitation of expenditure and the nationalization of industries.
He opined that the basic task in India was to eliminate the Cruel and heartless -exploitation of the masses and this could be achieved only if the people through their efforts come to control their political and economic destiny.
For this he was essential to effect the harmony of efforts between nationalists and social progressives. Since 1934, Jayaprakash Narayan felt that socialism alone could be the basis of India’s freedom. He advocated collective ownership and control of all large-scale production and favoured nationalization of heavy transport, shipping, mining and the heavy industries.
To quote his words “The free Indian nation shall work for peace between nations and total rejection of armaments and for the method of peaceful settlement of national disputes through some international authority freely established. It will endeavour particularly to live on the friendliest terms with its neighbours, whether they be great powers of small nations, and shall covet no foreign territory.
The law of the land will be based on the will of the people freely expressed by them. The ultimate basis of maintenance of order shall be the sanction and concurrence of the people. The free Indian State shall guarantee full individual and civil liberty and cultural and religious freedom, provided that there shall be no freedom to overthrow by violence the constitution framed by the Indian people through a Constituent Assembly.
The State shall not discriminate in any manner between citizens of nation. Every citizen shall be guaranteed equal rights. All distinctions of birth and privilege shall be abolished. There shall be ho titles emanating either from inherited social status or the State.
The political and economic organisation of the State shall be based on principles of social justice and economic freedom. While this organisation shall conduce to the satisfaction of the national requirements of every member of society, material satisfaction shall not be its sole objective. It shall aim at healthy living and the moral and intellectual development of the individual.
To this end to secure social justice, the State shall endeavour to promote small- scale production carried on by individual or cooperative effort for the equal benefit of all concerned. All large-scale collective production shall be eventually brought under collective ownership and control, and in this behalf the State shall begin by nationalising heavy transport, shipping, mining and the heavy industries.
The textile industry shall be progressively decentralised. The life of the villages shall be reorganised and the villages shall be made self governing units, self-sufficient in as large a measure as possible. The land laws of the country shall be drastically reformed on the principle that land shall belong to the actual cultivator alone, and that no cultivator shall have more land than is necessary to support his family on a fair standard of living. This will end the various systems of landlordism on the one hand and farm bondage on the other.
The State shall protect the interests of the classes, but when these impinge upon the interests of those who have been poor and downtrodden it shall defend the latter and thus restore the balance of social justice.
In all State-owned and State-managed enterprises, the workers shall be represented in the management through their elected representatives and shall have an equal Share in it with the representatives of the Government.
In the Indian States, there shall be complete democratic government established and in accordance with the principles of abolition of social distinction and equality between citizen, there will not be any titular heads of the States in the person of Rajas and Nawabs.
This is the order which the congress envisages and which it shall work to establish. The Congress firmly believes that this order shall bring happiness, prosperity and freedom to the people of all races and religions in India who together shall build on those foundations a great and glorious nation.
Narayan made it abundantly cleart that, socialism is not opposed to the dominant values which have been cherished’ in Indian culture. Indian culture has exalted the ideal of the emancipation of the individual from the thraldom of the lower age, covetousness, dualities and acquisitiveness. Its ideal is freedom realised by the conquest of cupidity, stupidity, anger and aversion. It has never sanctioned a false immersion in the petty satisfactions of the narrow self.
Sociology of Rural India.
Jayaprakash Narayan favoured village reorganisation. He propagated that villages should be made ‘self-governing and self-sufficient units’. This required reforming of land laws. He opined that land should belong to this actual cutlivator.
J. P. favoured cooperative farming to improve the condition of tillers of the land. “The only solution is to clear away all the vested interests that lead in any manner whatever to the exploitation of the tiller of the soil; liquidate all agrarian debts ; pool the hold¬ings and establish cooperative and collective farming, State and co¬operative credit and marketing system and cooperative subsidiary industries.
For effective agrarian reconstruction, in April, 1, 1946, J.P. formulated a Thirteen Point scheme of constructive work for Gramraj. These are being reproduced below :
- “Enrolment of Congress members. Attempt should be made to enrol every adult. Villagers meetings of the enrolled members should be held. Flag salutation.”
- A cultural centre should be opened where newspapers should be read and such other activities conducted as adult literacy, dramatics, folk songs, study circles, library, posters, agricultural advice, etc.
- Seva Dal and Akhada (gymnasia) work.
- Problems of sanitation, roads, bunds, etc., tackled in a practical way. ‘
- Untouchability work.
- Communal harmony work.
- Survey of conditions.
- Redress of grievances.
- Founding of grain banks.
- Propaganda in neighbouring village.
- Cooperative marketing.
- Women and children work”.
J.P. always stressed up on the need for accelerating agricultural production. He favoured immediate solution of the economic problems. To achieve this he repeatedly stressed the urgency of solving the economic irritants and difficulties of the country.
To achieve all this J.P. pleaded for the eager and quick creation and maintenance of these conditions that are necessary for there alisation of equality of opportunities. Thus the acquisition of economic minimum and the conquest of the demoralizing effects of poverty is a prime precondition for the resplendence of the fruits of culture.
Jayaprakash Narayan is considered as the most well-known and recognised person in the field of Indian socialism. His important contribution started the socialist movement in India to the great struggle for national freedom that was being fought under the banner of the Indian National Congress. Jayaprakash Narayan endeavoured to orient the socialist ideology to highlight presistently the emancipation of the masses from imperialist political domination and native feudal thraldom.
Narayan constantly emphasised the elimination of the obstacles – both mechanical and social that obstruct agricultural productivity. This rural realism of his socialist ideology is held to be of profound significance from the view point of the evolution of his political philosophy. Narayan was a real socialist and in this zeal he has been merciless in denouncing the dark and dismal deeds of national and international communism.
The principal features of communism according to J.P. are :
(i) the nationalization of industry, commerce and banking, and
(ii) the collectivitization of agriculture. But at the political and institutional levels communism spells the doom of civil liberties and forbide the formation of any challenging rival political association and its total control of the national economy and education leads to the ascendancy of a powerful controlling bureaucratic elite.
Hence in the absence of feedback responses from the side of the people communism may be stated to be “a case of arrested revolution. He condemned the neglect of values in Stalinism which had perversely transformed socialism into” a crass Machiavellian code of conduct utterly devoid of any sense of right wrong, good or evil.
Discuss J.P.’s ideas of Sarvodaya ? What approach did be adopt for social reconstruction ?
Jay Prakash Narayan pleaded for the implementation of participative democracy replacing the formal and technical rule by majority. He was of the view that :
Communitarianism would involve the devolution and genuine decentralization of political and economic power at all levels. The growth of electricity makes the problem of industrial decentralization easier to be solved. Jayaprakash Narayan urges real decentralization of power and not decentration or the more extension of local self-government.
Various aspects of J.P.’s reconstructed democracy can be summarized as under :
(i) The immediate and radical removal of the following defects of modem democracies.
(ii) The gratification by the individuals and the groups of the four basic goals.
(iii) The mobilisation of the masses for participatory communitarian democracy through political socialisation and aceuturation and accelerated communication – channellization is to be fostered.
(iv) The articulation and aggregation of the legitimate needs and reasonable felt demands of the masses is to be supplemented with work oriented education.
(v) Differentiation and plurality patterns and not monotonous sameness is to be the governing norm of the political system. But the quest for national integration also is to be incessantly pursued. The omnicompetent state machine with its monistic determinism should be replaced by a political system “where power and functions are dispersed and shared by other organisations of society.
This implies the poliferation of corporate intermediate associations between the organised legal structure of the state and the biophysical individual. This view derives support from the old Indian experiences with the Sreni, Puga, Nigama, Sangha and the other agencies for Sambhuya Samutthana (associational enterprises). Constraints authoritarian, domination, unwarranted sanctions and unjustified restraints should be replaced by obligation based on voluntary consent, respect for the maintenance of the democratic system and efforts for the free resplendence of individual personality.
(vi) The involvement of all adults in the political system is to be fostered. They should be made to feel a sense of efficacy for implementing social change.
(vii) Gramdan as a non-violent alternative to communist collectisation of land has a vital role to play in the reconstruction of the Indian economic system.
(viii) Social adoptation and social collaboration are to be promoted.
(ix) The neutralization of automation (the atomized man of the mass industrial society) is essential for the resurrection of the community. Atomization leads to depersonalization which is responsible for the eruption of psychic maladies like anxiety, frustration, psychopathological disturbance, psychoneurosis, deep anguish and unbecoming disdain for the alien.
Hence the revitalization of the sense of man’s belonging in a community is to be the goal of Sarvodaya worker. J.P. also suggested following some empirical means for the reconstruction of the political system.
(x) Dedicated and efficient implementation of the acts passed by the Government regarding Bataidari, Ceiling, Homestead, and Rural indebtedness is essential.
(xi) He also pleaded for more autonomy for states and also for Kashmir. But he firmly stressed that after the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965, plebiscite in Kashmir was not at all possible.
(xii) For fostering development, two corporations in states may be established
(a) State Agricultural Corporation, and
(b) State Industrial Corporation. State Land Commission may also be established.
(xiii) Rural Works Programme for creation of employment and for the clearance of marshy areas may be launched.
(xiv) Formation of Shanti Sena is to be promoted.
(xv) Like Appleby, J.P. also opposed to the interventionist technics of the Finance Departments in Government secretariats Administrative efficiency based on a quick disposal of controversial issues and economic development are seriously retarded due to the growing interference of the Finance Department.
The concurrence and even sanction of the Finance Department may be required at the time of the formulation of the budget. But when the Legislature has authorised expenditure, an unlimited exercise of check by the Finance Department is undesirable. Hence Narayan writes: “But once departmental allocations have been decided upon, it should be unnecessary to obtain the sanction of the finance department for each scheme and for every expenditure.”
However, J.P. erred during the Sarvodaya phase because he un-realistically with Vinoba in minimizing the role of Satyagraha in socio-economic reconstruction. A realistic political philosophy the Indian context cannot sanction violence.
The preaching of violence would be not only illegal and immoral but also impractical But the sole recourse to persuasion and bargaining would be totally ineffectual. Futhermore, legislation is a vital and potent technic for effectuating social change and in minimizing its efficiency Sarvodaya was only indicating its etherealism.
Narayan wrote : “Socialism cannot be established by law, for it is a way of life, a value-system which can be instituted, not by legal coercion, but by universal educative efforts which can be made only by volunteers and voluntary associations” It is true that alone law may not usher absolute socialism, but it can definitely effectuate a good deal of socialism. Thus both legislation and Satyagraha have their respective roles to play in the reconstruc¬tion of the Indian Socio-economic system.
Discuss J.P.’s ideas of total revolution.
What were the goals of total Revolution of Jaiprakash Narayan.
Jaiprakash Narayan in his article in Towards Struggles, wrote, ‘It is a total’revolt of the mass is our objective. J.P. elearly realising the fate and maladies of Russian and French revolution, advocated persuasion and conversion, social revolution through human revolution.
But the revolutionary experience convincingly indicates that the vanguards become deeply involved in the tentacles of the aggrandisement of tower for the ruling Janta and people are not made collaborators in the formulation and the application of the governing norms and rules.- Hence for the last two hundred years the history of revolution is the story of the betrayal of the vast masses of humanity.
There has been only a change in the structure of the elites. But the masses continue to be the passive entities of little positive significance. Narayan has formulated therefore, an integral scheme of seven-fold revolutions which, if implemented, is expected to result in the realisation of ample terrestrial satisfactions as well as of a life of cultural creativity, more autonomy and spiritual liberation. J.P. says I have been saying that total revolution is a combination of seven revolutions – social, economic, political, cultural ideological or intellectual, educational and spiritual.
This number may be increased or decreased. For instance, the cultural revolution may include educational and ideological revolutions Economic revolution may be split up into industrial, agricultural, technological revolutions etc. Similarly, intellectual revolution may be split up into two – scientific and philosophical. Even spiritual revolution can be viewed as made up of the moral and spiritual or it can be looked upon as part of the cultural and so on”.
The total revolution seeks an integral Transformation of man and society. The authoritarian speak of total planning and total war. The radicals refer to integral humanism. Some motivation for reinforcing the idea of totality may also be obtained from the nations of the multidimensional man, the comprehensive appreciation of whose problems necessitates the sustained pursuit of a multi-disciplinary approach.
Beside these general conceptual frame works one can find the roots of total revolution in the different plans, programmes and manifestoes prepared by J.P. The 14-Point draft programme formulated at the time of J.P.-Jawaharlal talks in 1953 may also be said to reflect some of the prime ideas of the concept of total revolution.
The Technique And Goals Of Total Revolution:
1. The central point in development is man a complex spiritual material being.
2. The minimisation of grossly ‘disproportionate inequalities in the socio-economic system is a categorical imperative.
3. The issue like guarantee of full employment and provision for need-based wages together with effective curbs on i ice rise need urgent attention and solution.
4. The promotion of self-government in industry.
5. It is essentials to plan from below and also the formation of planning cells at Regional, Block and Village levels.
6. To achieve a balance in the prices^pf agricultural and industrial goods.
7. To foster rural-based industries is essential. ‘A massive and integrated programme of rural industrialization is to be promoted. This should be based on the maintenance of the balance between employment and efficiency. As far as possible local resources should be mobilised for activities and functions oriented to growth and development’.
8. To save the villages from urban exploiters. ‘Villagers have to develop counter-vailing power for their protection from the exactions of landowners, merchants and moneylendrs. The Communist creed of collectivisation of land should be replaced by the transfer of land ownership to the village.
Gramdan or village ownership of land may be regarded as an ethical technic for solving the raging problem of inequality centering round land ownership. But, to me, it appears doubtful if through the technics of persuasion or even by Satyagraha, the landowners would be alienable to the renunciation-of their proprietory rights’.
9. Small rural industries should manufacture the consumer goods for domestic use
10. It is imperative to develop and modernise agriculture.
11. It is essential to promote savings for capital development.
12. To apply the concept of social ownership to the large industrial establishments. ‘Eventually, the workers employed therein may act a? trustees for safeguarding their interests and the broad interests of the consumers and the community.
13. “Larger enterprises may be capitalist in pattern within cer¬tain restraint, but public corporation pattern should be more prevalent”.
1. Unjustified and irrational customs, conventions, contracts, and practices which dwarf the stature of man are without sanctions and these must be discontinued.
2. To encourage inter-caste marriages since ‘caste has been a terrific impediment to economic growth because it is based on vocational rigidity and social stratification. It is also a morally deprived system insofar as it heaps humiliations on the heads of the socially condemned persons Hence there should be only one caste the human caste.
III. Political and Administrative
J.P, write in ‘From Behind the Bars’ [p. 29] that ‘A combination of the German list system and the majority system may be experimented with comprehensive law should be passed against defection. It [defection] has a persistent plague of the Indian political parties and legislations have slender scruples against unprincipled change of party allegiance.
IV. Educational, Moral and Spiritual
1. There should be link between educational planning and the economic planning with on emphasis universal primary and adult education and on vocationalisatiori of education.
2. “The Universities as a whole are suffering from the worst form of nepotism and corruption and are more and more ceasing to perform the functions assigned to them. There is no dearth of talent in them, but talent is being increasingly cramped and circumscribed by the general atmosphere, full of fear and favour, enveloping these institutions”.
Thus Universities, should become pure centress of teaching, training and research opportunities should be given to only the academically-oriented youth to work for higher degrees.
3. To foster the primordial, conceptual, existential and valuational truth.
4. To develop aversion to violence.
5. To aim at Humanization of science.
6. Integral community consciousness with the motivation to promote affection, good will, mutuality, regard and consideration of others, magnanimity and conquest of irascibility is to be promoted.
7. ‘Love of liberty as self-determination and the positive power to foster action oriented to Common good and the courage to resist oppression and tyranny to be developed.
8. To cultivate the sense of readiness to take reponsibility.
9. To enhance the spirit of tolerance of contrary and even antagonistic opinions.
10. To reattain the faith in the plasticity and educability of human nature. Through sustained and dedicated efforts, nobls sankara (impressions and conformations) can be made to flower even in the minds’and hearts of the person prone to deviant behaviour.
11. To encourage co-operation.
12. The people at large should adopt aesthetic and ethical values of culture. J.P. also opines that a ‘conspiratorial cultural revo¬lution to dispossess the power holders is not feasible.
13. To promote good life in the world. ‘Some prescriptive moral ideals and standards may be deemed to be almost absolute and universally applicable.
14. J.P. Narayan’s concept of total revolution aims to rein¬force such motivational determinants as will result in the growth of synergy, morality (sila) gnesis (praina), discrimination, abstraction and Contemplation, Even robbers and criminals may be made to share in the ethic of brothery love and compassion.
1. Action-technics of total revolution can be put as under :
In general the technique of total revolution would be those comprehended in the Gandhian Satyagraha. These are :
- Civil resistance and civil disobedience
- Strikes and
- Direct takeover and management and running of enterprises.
2. To mobilise youth and student power in term of revolutionary force in underdeveloped societies, in place of inculcating proletarian consciousness, as the basis of total revolution contemplated by Jaiprakash Narayan.
3. To counteract bureaucratic pressures and routinization in order to make the administrative machinery more effective.
The points mentioned above establish that the total revolution phase of J.P.’s life and thinking may be said to have reinforced the aggressive fervour and progressive dynamism of the Pre-Bhoodan days. It appears that the two decades from 1954 to 1973 were years of social experimentation at the micro-level. The concept of total revolution may be regarded as a synthesis of socialist revolutionary dynamism and the agrarian rural realism of the Sarvodaya phase.
The J.P.’s philosophy and technology of total revolution is comprehensive and integral as it is multidimensional. It attempts to visualise a radical change in the ownership of the means of production and seeks to eliminate poverty. In addition it also aims at the sacrifice for the maddening craze for power.
Thus, it was not a sudden revolution in 1974 that resulted in the cystallization of the concept of total revolution. At the second Asian Socialist Conference at Bombay in -November 1956, J.P. had credited Gandhi with having visualised the potentialities of “mass moral revolution”.
The characteristic difference between Bhoodan and the total revqlution lies in the fact that in the latter is more fundamental than the conformist and legitimacy-seeking creed of Bhoodan.
It is more sanguine of the revolutionary impact of the youth and student power than the Bhoodan movement which had been, generally, conceit in terms of the activisation of the constructive workers. It would be wrong to confuse that organised dedicated revolutionary activity, with the sporadic spella of anti-social revolutions of misguided youth that may cause havoc.