The Lenin of Bihar , Babu Jagdeo Prasad’s 99th birthday falls 2-2-2020
Shri Jagdeo Prasad the Lenin of Bihar was born on February 02, 1922 at Kurtha of Jehanabad district of Bihar. His father Prayag Narayan Kushwaha was a teacher in a primary school in the neighbourhood while his mother Raskali was illiterate. They belonged to Kushwaha caste who are vegetable growers. The Kushwaha have richly contributed to the struggle for social justice and democracy. Jagdeo Prasad passed matriculation from Jehanabad High School. The born radical that he was he slapped his school teacher who had earlier beaten him for no fault, when teacher went fast asleep in class room and was snoring loudly.. He was called by School Headmaster where Jp said all must get punishment for their faults wheather he is teacher or a student. He opposed social caste and undesirable social customs..,He prevailed upon his grandfather to not perform ‘Shraddh ’ of his father. Instead of ‘Shraddh’ rituals, there was a condolence meeting and a small meal was held, all without any Brahmin priest. This was not the only incident of caste-based exploitation. When he was a teenager, Jagdeo Prasad succeeded in putting an end to the “Panchkatthiya” system prevalent in the area. Under the system, the farmers were supposed to provide five katthas (one kattha equals 933 grams) of their crop for the elephants of landlords. Jagdeo along with his collegues beat the Landlords elephant along with its Mahavat.
When his father was taken seriously ill. His mother was deeply religious. She performed pujas and begged to the gods to spare her husband’s life. But his father passed away. This made Jagdev Babu revolt against the Hindu religion. He collected all the photographs and idols of gods and goddesses in his home and put them on his father’s pier. His disillusionment with the brahmanical Hindu religion lasted his lifetime. He countered Brahmanism with humanism.
In 1950 he graduated later he postgraduated both from Patna University. He started taking part in Socialist Movement of Bihar. When Jayaprakash a great socialist leader of his times and Lohia parted ways, Jagdev Prasad sided with Lohia. He strengthened the organizational structure of the Socialist Party and indigenized the socialist ideology so as to make its reach wider. JP quit active politics and joined the Bhoodan Movement of Vinoba Bhave. JP was a sham revolutionary who served the interests of the socialists of the forward castes. The land that the landlords donated after a “change of heart” was largely barren. It was distributed among the poor and the landless, who, through their industry and toil, turned it fertile. But once that happened, the landlords started staking a claim on the land and assaulting and forcibly evicting Dalits and OBCs from their fields. At that time, Karpoori Thakur openly flayed Vinoba Bhave and described him as a “Havai Mahatma” (an airy Mahatma). ( Ref.:-; Narendra Pathak).
In 1967, Jagdev Babu contested the assembly polls as a candidate of the Samyukta Socialist Party (formed by the merger of Praja Socialist Party and Socialist Party in 1966).
The famous slogan then was
[ Meaning:- In humanism, Brahmins and Bhangis are equal,Fatalism and (belief in) rebirth has given birth to Brahmanism].
. He along with 6 of his colleagues won Bihar State Assembly Bye Elections-1969 on –Shoshit Dal Party. Shoshit means oppressed and exploited. His efforts elevated Kapoori Thakur as Dy Chief Minister in an OBC leader in 1967. Credit goes to Jagdeo Prasad for breaking the monopoly of upper castes on the post of Chief Minister of Bihar. Bihar saw first non-Congress government in 1967 under the leadership of Mahamaya Prasad Sinha. Subsequently Kapoori Thakur was chief Minister of Bihar(1970-71 & 1977-79).Shri. Satish Prashad Singh and shri B.P.Mandal another OBC Leaders was also chief Minister of Bihar in 1968. This practice is continuing intermittently with Lalu Prasad, Rabridevi , Manji, Satish Kumar as chief Ministers of Bihar. Jagdeo Prasad a master politician pulled down government of Mahamaya Prashad Sinha run with the support of Jansang and CPI for making space for Backward class Chief Minister. This brave son of Bihar was shot at and killed on September 05, 1974 in a conspiracy had been hatched by the feudal lords to kill him His funeral was attended by lakhs and condolence meeting on 7th Sep,1974 was attended among others by JP Narayan, Kapoori Thakue,and R.S.Verma .
Jagdeo Prasad’s coined slogan sums up many ideals.
“ We the exploited are ninety, ninety is our share in land, wealth and power, the ninety will not allow the rule of the ten.”
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; Narendra Pathak).