11 Oct 2008, 0311 hrs IST, Sanjeev Kumar Verma,TNN
Jayaprakash Narayan, or JP as he was widely known, gave the historic call for Sampoorna Kranti or Total Revolution from Patna's Gandhi Maidan in 1974. However, Sampoorna Kranti is today known more as a Patna-Delhi train and JP's birthday, October 11, is revered more as cine star Amitabh Bachchan's date of birth by most of Patna's sophomores.
Ask Abhimanyu Kumar Singh, a Class XI student, what does he know about Sampoorna Kranti, and pat comes the reply, "It's an express train between Patna and Delhi." His classmate, albeit in another school, Mausam Shreshta offered a similar answer.
Even clues couldn't help Abhimanyu and Mausam come up with any knowledge about JP. Ironically, even college students TOI spoke to were no less ignorant.
"Sampoorna Kranti is a train but there is something more about it which I don't know," candidly confessed Brajesh, who is doing honours in History from a local . "October 11 is the day when Big B was born," was how most of the city youths described the import of the day. Only a few could recall it also happened to be JP's birth anniversary, but only after they were given clues.
"Big B immediately hits your mind as his birthday is widely covered by the media," one of them thus explained his ignorance.
Student leader Ramashanker Sinha is not amused. "The state has been ruled by JP's disciples for so many years, but none of them bothered to do anything concrete for making the young ones understand the importance of the leader who is credited with ushering in a new era in Indian politics," Sinha said.
Agreed state's public health and engineering department (PHED) minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey, himself a product of JP movement. "While the previous governments having JP's disciples at the helm did nothing to educate the young ones about JP and his ideas, even our government in the first three years of its rule has not been able to do much on this front," he said.
Choubey said there is a need to organise special programmes in schools and colleges at least four times in a year — on the birth and death anniversaries of JP; on March 18, the day he led a silent procession in Patna in 1974 and on June 5, when he coined the concept of Total Revolution the same year. "Our youngsters would thus know JP," he said.