PUCL Bulletin, 2002

Remembering JP

-- By Y. P. ChhibbarJayaprakash Narayanan

Jaya Prakash Narayan was born on October 11, 1902. October 11, 2002, his 100th birthday did not see any public acknowledgement of his tremendous contribution to the building of democratic institutions at the level of the Union Government. The country has had a long innings of rule by leaders who were his colleagues in his various movements, leaders like Charan Singh, Chandra Shekhar, VP Singh, Deve Gawda, IK Gujaral, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee. They could have, all together, gathered and remembered him.

It was a good co-incidence that the newspapers reported the victory of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir on his 100th birthday. His entire life was devoted to democratic struggles, struggles for the rights of the people. Probably, his greatest contribution was the establishment of two organisations that he setup to institutionalise his work, the Citizens for Democracy, established by him in 1974 and the PUCLDR in 1976. The PUCL, as the PUCLDR was renamed in 1980, is continuing to carry forward his efforts to safeguard civil liberties and human rights of the people. His colleagues in these organisations were VM Tarkunde, Krishan Kant, Era Sezhian, Surendra Mohan, and numerous others.

In keeping with his attitudes the PUCL has never tried to deify him by observing the dates connected with his birth and death. Instead it decided to remember him by institutionalising his ideas and setup an award for 'Journalism for Human Rights'. It decided to present this award on a date that saw the culmination of his movement for Lok-Shakti in the lifting of emergency on March 23, 1977. The PUCL 'Journalism for Human Rights' Award is presented every year on March 23.

Many of his colleagues in the movement for Lok-Shakti have abandoned the movement but there are many others who are continuing his work in the PUCL.

Home | Index