Raj Narain

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Raj Narain
Health Minister of India
In office
March 1977 – January 1979
President Basappa Danappa Jatti and Neelam Sanjiva Reddy
Prime Minister Morarji Desai
Succeeded by Rabi Ray
Constituency Rai Bareli

Raj Narain [November 1917-31 Dec 1986] known as 'Lokbandhu', was an Indian freedom fighter and politician. He won a case against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which led to her disqualification and imposition of Emergency in India in 1975.[1] He defeated Indira Gandhi during the 1977 Lok Sabha elections.

Early life[edit]

Raj Narain was son of Anant Prasad Singh, was born on Kartik Akshaya Navami of 1917 in an affluent family in the village named Motikoat, Gangapur in Varanasi. He was from the Royal family of Varanasi and directly associated with the family of Maharaja Chet Singh and Maharaja Balwant Singh, who were kings of Varanasi, over a century back. He was educated at Banaras Hindu University, and did M.A. and LL.B.

Activities during India's Freedom Movement[edit]

A Political and Social worker he organized a school for adults, a girls school, a study centre and a labour organization and became member of Congress Socialist Party, in 1934, and National Committee of Students Federation, 1939-44.He was President of the Banaras University Mandal Congress Committee and Member of District Congress Committee(D.C.C.).

He was a great freedom fighter He was president of Student Congress during 1942 revolution, and led the revolution in and around Varanasi district in UP. The protest and revolution under his leadership on 9 August 1942, is considered as one of the best in the country. He was so active in freedom struggle that . Initially he was "underground" for three months and later arrested on 28 September 1942, during Quit India Movement and detained till 1945.

Activities Post Independence[edit]

When country got independence Raj Narain joined Socialist Party led by Acharya Narendra Deva, Jayprakash Narayan and Dr Rammanohar Lohia and held many party positions including Secretary Ship? of UP Socialist Party, 1948-51. He was very close to his Guru Acharya Narendra Deva and Dr. Rammanohar Lohia. Dr. Lohia described him as "a person who has heart of a Lion and practices of Gandhi". Dr. Lohia admired him a lot, and even said that "if in India there could be just three or four persons like him, dictatorship can never shadow the democracy". He was one of the pillars of Socialist movement in India[according to whom?] and holds a record for going jail the maximum number of times in connection with students' and socialist movements[citation needed].

He was elected to Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly in 1952. He was first "Leader of Opposition" of Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly after independence, and his second term ended in the year 1962.

He was Member, Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly, 1952-1962.Member National Executive, PSP, 1954-55. Chairman, Socialist Party,1961-64.Member Rajya Sabha, 1966–72 and 1974-77. Associated with CSP,1934–48, Socialist Party, 1948-52, Praja Socialist Party,1952-1955.Socialist Party,1956-64.Samyukta Socialist Party,1964-72.Socialist Party, 1971-72, Socialist Party(Lohia) 1972-74, Bhartiya Lok Dal, 1974-77.Janata Party, 1977–79, Janata Party (S), 1979-80. Democratic Socialist Party, 1981-83.Janata Party, 1983–84, and Socialist Party 1984 till his death in 1986.

Raj Narain who opposed policies and practices of Indira Gandhi, contested against the Prime Minister in 1971 Lok Sabha elections from Rai Bareli, as an SSP Candidate, although he suffered a defeat from her in 1971 elections but he accused Indira Gandhi of corrupt electoral practices and filed an election petition against her. The Allahabad High Court on 12 June 1975 upheld the accusations and set aside the election of Indira Gandhi and also disqualified her to contest Lok Sabha election for next 6 years, which led to the imposition of Emergency in India. Nationwide protest started and streets were flooded with people in the leadership of Loknayak Jai Prakash Narayan and Lokbandhu Raj Narain. This was biggest upset of Indian politics after independence, yet again by Raj Narain.

Known as biggest critique and adversary of Indira Gandhi, Upon Imposition of Emergency, Raj Narain was immediately arrested and imprisoned on the same day along with several premier oppositional leaders[2] including J.P. Narayan, Morarji Desai, Satyendra Narayan Sinha, Chaudhry Charan Singh and Atal Bihari Vajpayee without any advance notice and confined mostly in undisclosed locations.He was elected to Lok Sabha in 1977 general elections and defeated then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi with the margin of more than fifty thousand votes. Raj Narain chose not to join government in spite of the fact that he defeated Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister in the elections. Jai Prakash Narain suggested that person who defeated Prime Minister should become Prime Minister, but Raj Narain chose to stay away from joining government.[citation needed] Later after forceful insistence of Jai Prakash Narain, he joined government and became Minister of Health and Family Welfare in March, 1977[citation needed]. He was imprisoned 58 times for a period totaling about 15 years in connection with students' and socialist movements. As a key artisan of Janata Party, he helped to install Morarji Desai and later Charan Singh as Prime Minister of India. He was also instrumental in defeating two governments viz Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai. Janata Party (S) members wanted to form the government in Raj Narain’s leadership in 1979, for which they left Janata Party and Morarji Desai, but to fulfill his promise to Charan Singh he installed him as Prime Minister[citation needed]. Earlier, Dr Lohia and Raj Narain installed Chaudhary Charan Singh as Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh in the year 1967 and when Charan Singh refused to fulfill his promises made to Dr Lohia,[according to whom?] he was asked to resign.

Raj Narain was married and had three sons and one daughter. Narain died on 31 December 1986, at 23:55 hrs at Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi; the name which again shared its association with him after his death.[citation needed]

A commemorative stamp was released on him by the former Vice President of India, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat on 23 March 2007.

Special interests: Political and social work, yoga, Indian culture and philosophy.

Raj Narain published ‘Janmukh’-a weekly from Varanasi and has been on the editorial board of ‘Jan’ a monthly established by Dr Rammanohar Lohia.


Narain died on 31 December 1986.[3]

Books by Raj Narain[edit]

  • Towards a new health policy, by Raj Narain. 1977-8 pages. POPLINE Document Number: 783545. Author(s): NARAIN R. Source citation: New Delhi, India, Department of Family Welfare, www.popline.org/ docs/ 0299/ 783545.html.
  • Raj Narain’s Heath policy mentioned in "Practicing health for all", by David Morley[disambiguation needed], Jon E. Rohde, Glen Williams. Oxford University Press, 1983 - Medical - 333 pages.
  • Raj Narain’s Heath policy mentioned in "India: health care patterns and planning", by Rais Akhtar.2004-343 pages. On page no.45 Raj Narain, were ideologically inclined towards de-professionalization, decentralization, and indigenous systems of medicine. The Janata party manifesto mentioned community health workers, and Raj Narain adopted it as a personal commitment (Leslie, 1985).

Books on Raj Narain[edit]

  • Apaat Kaal Ka Dhoomketu:Raj Narain. Author:Dr.Yugeshwar .
  • The New Yorker: Volume 56, Issues 1-8, 1980. Although Raj Narain is married and has four children, he long ago abandoned his family for celibacy and a ... No one is ever sure whether Raj Narain is expressing a genuine belief or saying something merely to attract attention.
  • A family affair: India under three prime ministers.Ved Mehta - 1982 - 166 pages. The main project that Raj Narain had put forward as Janata Health Minister was a scheme to have each village select a ... Raj Narain's critics contended that his scheme would not only misappropriate meagre resources but also debase.
  • राज नारायण -यादों के झरोखो से -कृष्ण प्रकाश शर्मा
  • लोकबंधु-सूर्यभान
  • राज नारायण का समाजवादी ब्यक्तित्व-सुप्रिया राय

Political Associations of Raj Narain[edit]

Associated with Congress Socialist Party (CSP), 1934-48. Inspector of Congress Socialist Party, 1946.

District Secretary, Congress Socialist Party (SP), 1946. Member Socialist Party (SP), 1948-52. Secretary, Uttar Pradesh Socialist Party (SP), 1948-51.

Convener, ‘Janvani Diwas’ of Socialist Party in Delhi, on 9 June 1951. Member Praja Socialist Party (PSP), 1952-1955.

Member, Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly and First Leader of Opposition, 1952-1962. Member National Executive, PSP, 1954-55.

Member Socialist Party, 1956-64. (From 1 January 1956 to 9 June 1964) Chairman, Socialist Party, 1961-64. Joined SSP after the merger of PSP and SP.

Member Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP), 1964-72. (9 June 1964 to 12, April 1972) General Secretary Samyukta Socialist Party (SSP), 1964-66. Member Rajya Sabha, 1966-72. (As SSP Candidate)

Member Socialist Party, 1971-72. (After the merger of PSP & SSP) Revived Socialist Party (Lohia), in 1972 and was its Member, 1972-74. Merged SSP (Lohia) into BKD in 1974 and formed Bhartiya Lok Dal Member Bhartiya Lok Dal, 1974–77

Member Rajya Sabha, 1974-77 (As BLD Candidate)

Formed Janata Party in 1977 after the merger of BLD, Bhartiya Jansangh, Congress (O), Socialist Party and Congress for Democracy (CFD) Member Janata Party, 1977–79,

Member 6th Lok Sabha, 1977-79. (Defeated Indira Gandhi in 1977) Member Union Cabinet as Health & Family Welfare Minister. (1977–78),removed from Union Cabinet in January 1979 and later on resigned from Janata Party in 1979. Formed Janata Party (S) as its President and later as Chairman

Joined Democratic Socialist Party, 1981-83 (With H N Bahuguna). Joined Janata Party, 1983-84. With Chandra Shekhar.

Contested against former Prime Minister Charan Singh, in 1984 Lok Sabha elections from Baghpat (U.P.) Formed Socialist Party in 1985, and was associated with this party till his death in 1986.

The present Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav unveiled a statue in his memory at Chandrabhanu Gupta Agriculture college which is close to the state capital Lucknow.[4][5]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]