J.P.'s Total Revolution and Humanism
Dr. Kawaljeet, 2002, pp. 80, Published by Buddhiwadi Foundation, Patna, Price Rs. 50/- (US$2) The unique thing about the book is that it tries to evaluate J.P.'s concept of total revolution from a humanist point of view. The author has compared and contrasted J.P.'s ideas with the ideas of well-known humanist thinkers, like Corliss Lamont and M.N.Roy. In addition to being an authoritative exposition of J.P.'s Total Revolution, the book is an important contribution to humanist literature.
Jayaprakash Narayan or J.P. was certainly an important social and political thinker and leader of twentieth century India. W. H. Moriss-Jones, for example, has described J.P. as "the most vital political thinker in modern India" in his The Government and Politics of India . The author has provided an in depth and well-researched exposition of J.P.’s concept of Total Revolution.
The main purpose of this book is to expound J.P.’s concept of Total Revolution and evaluate it from a humanist point of view. However, a deeper appreciation of Total Revolution requires an understanding of J.P.’s intellectual-political background, particularly his intellectual journey from Marxism to Total Revolution. In the first chapter of the book titled "J.P.’s Conversion to Marxism", the author has traced J.P.’s conversion to Marxism in America. However, before doing that she has also taken a synoptic look at J.P.’s social background, early education and political influences on him, before he left for America at the age of twenty.
The second chapter titled "Marxism to Democratic Socialism" and the third chapter "Democratic Socialism to Sarvodaya", the author has traced the evolution of J.P.’s social and political thought from Marxism to sarvodaya via democratic socialism.
In the fourth chapter "J.P.’s Concept of Total Revolution", Dr. Kawaljeet has given an authentic exposition of J.P.’s concept of Total Revolution based on his own writings, speeches and interviews. The book is well documented with a nice bibliography.
In the concluding chapter "Total Revolution and Humanism", the author has evaluated Total Revolution from point of view of a humanist. Before doing this, she has given a brief exposition of humanism in general and ideas of Corliss Lamont and M. N. Roy in particular. Dr. Kawaljeet's main conclusion in this chapter is that Total Revolution, as a social and political ideology, broadly speaking, is compatible with humanism.She has in particular commended J.P.’s value-based scientific approach towards social change. However, she has expressed reservations about some of J.P.’s formulations regarding incentive to goodness, materialism and spiritualism. She has shown that these formulations are not acceptable from a humanist point of view. There is no need to go "beyond the material" and look in the direction of "spiritual" for incentive to goodness. Human rationality and inherent sympathy for others is sufficient to provide all the incentive that is needed for moral behaviour. Incentive to goodness is inherent in human nature itself.
This book will be of interest to both the supporters of Total Revolution and the advocates of humanism as well as to any one interested in revolution and humanism in general.
The book can be obtained from the Buddhiwadi Foundation