Visiting Sitab Diara is a pilgrimage for a JP fan
“If he can travel from Sitab Diara to California for a cause, why can’t I come from Ara (Bhojpur) to Jayaprakash Narayan’s village on his birth anniversary”, says Surendra Singh, who makes it sure to visit Sitab Diara every year on October 11, the day veteran the socialist leader was born.
Dressed in a spotless white khadi kurta and pajama, Singh said, “I never got an opportunity to meet JP personally, but I listened to his speeches on June 5, 1974, at Gandhi Maidan in Patna. Since then, I became his follower. He was entirely a different human being as compared to today’s so-called socialist leaders”.
Singh said Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar came here on October 8, and that Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also coming on Tuesday.
“Today, it appears that all political parties are trying to claim the legacy of JP, but nobody talks about following his ideologies. He had given a call for ‘Total revolution’. JP wanted to see a corruption-free society where justice is delivered to the oppressed. He talked about a hunger-free society Nothing has changed even after 43 years of his death”, said Singh, a retired government serviceman, adding that “I have nothing to do with who is coming today, I just came here to pay my respect to JP on his birth anniversary.”
After completing his matriculation examination at 18 in 1920, JP started working in Patna. He got married to Prabhavati in the same year. On the call of the nationalist leader Maulana Abul Kalam Azad to give up his English education, he left Patna college barely 20 days before his exam. He joined Bihar Vidyapeeth, a college founded by Dr Rajendra Prasad. Leaving his wife Prabhavati in Sabarmati Ashram of Mahatma Gandhi, Jayaprakash Narayan sailed aboard to California in 1922 to join Berkeley University. To fund his higher education in the US, he undertook various odd jobs like working in ranches, slaughterhouses, factories and mines.