December 6, 2012
Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan would have TOTALLY opposed Arvind Kejriwal’s version of socialism
Once it was clear that Nehru was determined to impose the Red Socialism on India, his close colleagues like Jayaprakash Narayan tried to temper his misplaced enthusiasm. Narayan, who had started his career as a Marxist, but later concluded he had been on the wrong path, declared prophetically:History will soon prove that Communism, instead of being the final flowering of human civilisation, was a temporary aberration of the human mind, a brief nightmare to be soon forgotten. Communism, as it grew up in Russia and is growing up in China now, represented the darkness of the soul and imprisonment of the mind, colossal violence and injustice. Whoever thinks of the future of the human race in these terms is condemning man to eternal perdition.[i]
JP realised the TOTAL FOLLY of communism late into his 60s and 70s. A great pity.
He also STRONGLY OPPOSED Fabian Socialism (which involves Commanding Heights of the Economy). In his most famous writing (a short letter called Total Revolution, which I first read when I was 15 – I still have a copy of the original publication somewhere with me but can't readily find it), he wrote:
Some industries, banks, life insurance have been nationalized. Railways were nationalized long ago. New large public-sector industries have been established. But all this adds up to state capitalism and inefficiency, waste and corruption. State capitalism means more power to the State, mainly the state bureaucracy, or what Galbraith aptly calls 'the public bureaucracy'. There is no element or trait of socialism in all this. The working class and the public or, let us say, the people have no place in all this except as workers or consumers. There is no economic democracy, which is so much talked about, nor even industrial democracy. This does not mean that I am opposed to socialism. It is only because I am so deeply concerned about socialism that I am pointing out all this. It is a pity that our socialists very largely equate socialism with nationalization. [Source]
We see clearly that JP was in favour of liberty, grassroots democracy and limited role for government. Note that he opposed even the nationalisation of railways.
By his 70s, he was talking like what I've been saying publicly for the past 15 years. He was essentially advocating capitalism. Had he learnt some more, read some more, he would have understood exactly the value of the model advocated in Chanakya's Arthashastra and in my book, Breaking Free of Nehru.
One thing he would have opposed TOOTH AND NAIL – is the brand of socialism touted by Prashant Bhushan and Arvind Kejriwal.
I trust Arvind will one day listen to what I'm saying.