Jayaprakash Narayan, widely known as JP, was an Indian freedom fighter and political leader. He was one of the few leaders of modern India who fought for its independence and took part in active politics for a long time after it became independent. He was born in Sitabdiara, village in Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh, and did his higher studies including his phd in politics and sociology in the United States. He adopted Marxism while studying at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin under Edward Ross; he was also deeply influenced by the writings of M. N. Roy. After returning to India, JP joined the Indian National Congress on the invitation of Jawaharlal Nehru in 1929; M. K. Gandhi would be his mentor in the Congress. During the Indian independence movement, he was arrested, jailed, and tortured several times by the British. He won particular fame during the Quit India movement. JP married Prabhavati Devi, a freedom fighter in her own right and a staunch disciple of Kasturba Gandhi in October 1920; she stayed in Sabarmati ashram while JP was abroad and became a devoted Gandhian; she often held opinions which were not in agreement with JP's views, but JP respected her independence. She was the older daughter of Brajkishore Prasad, one of the first Gandhians in Bihar and one who played a major role in Gandhi's campaign in Champaran. After being jailed in 1932 for civil disobedience against British rule, he was imprisoned in Nasik Jail, where he met Ram Manohar Lohia, Minoo Masani, Achyut Patwardhan, Ashok Meta, Yusuf Desai and other national leaders. After his release, the Congress Socialist Party, a left-wing group within the Congress, was formed with Acharya Narendra Deva as President and JP as General secretary. During the Quit India movement of 1942, when senior Congress leaders were arrested in the early stages, JP, Lohia and Basawon Singh (Sinha) were at the forefront of the agitations. Leaders such as Jayaprakash Narayan and Aruna Asaf Ali were described as "the political children of Gandhi but recent students of Karl Marx."
After independence and the death of Mahatma Gandhi; JP, Acharya Narendra Dev and Basawon Singh (Sinha) led the CSP out of Congress to become the opposition Socialist Party, which later took the name Praja Socialist Party. Initially a defender of physical force, JP was won over to Gandhi's position on nonviolence and advocated the use of satyagrahas to achieve the ideals of democratic socialism. Furthermore, he became deeply disillusioned with the practical experience of socialism in Nehru's India. Not long before his death, it was in fact erroneously announced by the Indian prime minister, causing a brief wave of national mourning, including the suspension of parliament and regular radio broadcasting, and closure of schools and shops. In 1998, he was posthumously awarded the Bharat Ratna award in recognition of his social work. Other awards include the Magsaysay award for Public Service in 1965. JP is sometimes referred to with the honorific title Lok nayak or 'guide of the people'.