Jayaprakash Narayan stuck to his convictions, says H.K. Dua

Jayaprakash Narayan stuck to his convictions,
says H.K. Dua
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 18
Slices of memories from the life of Jayaprakash Narayan, “a revolutionary saint”, were recreated at a book release function at Panjab University here today. “India’s Second Freedom: An Untold Saga” is authored by M.G. Devasahayam, former Deputy Commissioner.

Devasahayam held the charge of Deputy Commissioner in the city during the five and a half months that Jayaprakash Narayan spent at a ‘special jail’ in the PGIMER. The book was released by Mr T.N. Chaturvedi, Governor of Karnataka.

Devasahayam retold bits of history related to the leader during his stay here when he was the Deputy Commissioner. “In the beginning, it was the disorientation of the people which left them perplexed. People were unprepared for the Emergency. Jayaprakash felt very disturbed.

The Emergency had a deep impression on the press also,” he said. He remembered the move to stop the publication of The Tribune and the arrest of its Editor. The moves never materialised.

He remembered that the late leader was shifted to the PGIMER on July 1, 1975, from Delhi. Jayaprakash Narayan was disturbed at the developments at the national level which took away the fundamental rights of the people. At one point of time, he wrote a letter announcing a fast until death. The Deputy Commissioner played a big role in dissuading him from sending the letter and taking the “fatal” step.

Mr H.K. Dua, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, while presiding over the function, said the book was a novel attempt at capturing a slice of history regarding what the country went through at a crucial juncture in history. He spoke on the trying times that the press faced during the Emergency.

Mr Dua said Jayaprakash Narayan was essentially a freedom fighter. Earlier he fought against the British during the ‘raj’. His ideas were always evolving. Even when the country became free, his ideas kept evolving and he stuck to his convictions till his last breath. He wanted freedom from state oppression, freedom from feudal control and prevention of exploitation of workers, Mr Dua added.

Mr Chaturvedi, who was the Chief Commissioner of the city, at the time when the late leader was at the PGIMER, expanded on his relations with the author and the shaping of the book. “The Emergency was the worst of times and the best of times. It was the worst of times for the political conditions but it was the best of times for the convergence and shaping up of moral values”, he said.

Even while discharging official duties, “we always kept in our minds that values of democracy had to be preserved”, he added.

The function was conducted by Mr Satya Pal Jain, former MP. Prof K.N. Pathak, the Vice-Chancellor, Panjab University, also paid tributes to Jayaprakash Narayan.