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JPs concept of Total Revolution

Relevance for UPSC

GS 1: Important Personalities, Indian National Movement


  • JPs concept of Total Revolution is a holistic one.
  • Underlying the emphasis on the Gandhian concept of non-violence and Satyagraha he said, “Gandhiji’s non-violence was not just a plea for law and order, or a cover for the status quo, but a revolutionary philosophy.
  • It is indeed, a philosophy of total revolution, because it embraces personal and social ethics and values of life as much as economic, political and social institutions and processes.

What is the concept of Total Revolution?

  • He used the term Total Revolution for the first time in a British magazine called The Time in 1969.
  • The concept of Total Revolution as enunciated by JP is a confluence of his ideas on seven revolutions i.e. social, economic, political, cultural, ideological and intellectual, educational and spiritual.
  • JP was not very rigid regarding the number of these revolutions.
  • He said the seven revolutions could be grouped as per the demands of the social structures in a political system.
  • He said, “For instance, the cultural may include educational and ideological revolutions. And if culture is used in an anthropological sense, it can embrace all other revolutions.”
  • He said, ‘Economic revolution may be split up into industrial, agricultural, technological revolutions, etc.
  • Similarly, intellectual revolutions may be split up into two – scientific and philosophical.
  • Even spiritual revolution can be viewed as made of moral and spiritual or it can be looked upon as part of the culture. And so on.

How the Concept of total Revolution gain popularity?

  • The concept of total revolution became popular in 1974 in the wake of mass movements in Gujarat and Bihar.
  • JP was deeply disturbed by the political process of degeneration in the Indian politics of the time.
  • During his Convocation Address at the Benaras Hindu University in 1970 he said, “Politics has, however, become the greatest question mark of this decade. Some of the trends are obvious, political disintegration is likely to spread, selfish splitting of parties rather than their ideological polarisation will continue; the devaluation of ideologies may continue; frequent change of party loyalties for persona; or parochial benefits , buying and selling of legislatures, inner party indiscipline, opportunistic alliance among parties and instability of governments, all these are expected to continue.”
  • JP was deeply moved by the mutilation of democratic process, political corruption, and fall of moral standards in our public life.
  • He said that if this pattern of the administrative process continues then there would not be any socialism, welfare, government, public order, justice, freedom, national unity, and in short no nation.

Mention of Total Revolution at Gandhi Maidan Patna

  • In his address in Patna on 5th June 1974 he said, “This is a revolution, a total revolution. This is not a movement merely for the dissolution of the assembly. We have to go far, very far”.
  • In a letter to a friend in August 1976, JP defined the character of the Totai Revolution. He wrote, “Total revolution is a permanent revolution. It will always go on and keep on changing both our personal and social lives. This revolution knows no respite, no halt, certainly not a complete halt.

What did JP want to achieve through his Total Revolution?

  • JP’s Total Revolution involved the development of peasants, workers, Harijans, tribal people, and indeed all weaker sections of the social structure.
  • He was always interested in empowering and strengthening India’s democratic system.
  • He wanted the participation of people at all, levels of the decision-making process.
  • He wanted the electoral representative should be accountable to his electors, not once in five years but if is unsuitable before the expiry of his five-year term he should be replaced.
  • The political representative must be continuously accountable to the public.
  • He wanted electoral reforms to be introduced in the political system to check the role of black money in the electoral process of the country.
  • He said that some kind of machinery should be established through which there could be a major of consultation with the setting up of candidates. This machinery should “keep a watch on their representatives and demand good and honest performance from them.

JP’s Peoples’ Charter

  • JP was deeply disturbed by the growth of corruption in the Indian political system. He said “I know politics is not for saints. But politics at least under a democracy must know the limits which it may not cross.”
  • This was the focal point of JP’s Peoples Charter which he submitted to the Parliament on 61h March 1975.
  • He said “Corruption is eating into the vitals of our political life. It is a disturbing development, undermining the administration and making a mockery of all laws and regulations. It is eroding people’s faith and exhausting their proverbial patience.”
  • JP wanted a network of Peoples Committees to be established at the grass roots level to take care of the problems of the people and the programs for development.

What was JPs Antyodaya?

  • JP’s program of Antyodaya meaning, the upliftment of the last man was an essential aspect of his socialist thought.
  • Right to work was an integral part of his concept of Total Revolution, he said “Once the state accepts this obligation, means will have to be found for employing all. It is not so difficult to do so.”

JP’s Emphasis on empowering youth

  • JP, throughout his career, highlighted the role of students and youth in the field of people’s movement.
  • He said, “Youth have idealism, they have enthusiasm, and they can make sacrifices from which older men shrink.”
  • In his letter to the youth in August 1976, he said, “For the long and endless battle for Total Revolution there is a need of new leadership, the forces of history are with you. So go ahead with full confidence. Victory is certainly yours.”
  • Throughout his life, JP has always tried to put men in the center of the picture.
  • JP said, “In the society that I have in view for the future, man should occupy the central place, the organisation should be for a man and not the other way round.”
  • By that, he means that the social organization should be such as allowing freedom for every individual to develop and grow according to his inner nature, a society that believes in and practices the dignity of tan, just as a human being.

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