SAI Student Event
Mircea Raianu, PhD Candidate, Harvard History Department; Graduate Student Associate, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs
Benjamin Siegel, Assistant Professor of History, Boston University; former Predoctoral Fellow, Harvard Academy for Area Studies; former Graduate Student Associate, South Asia Institute
Anand Vaidya, South Asian Studies Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard South Asia Institute; former Graduate Student Associate, South Asia Institute
Lydia Walker, PhD Candidate, Harvard History Department; Graduate Student Associate, South Asia Institute and Weatherhead Center for International Affair
Chair: Carolien Stolte, Niels Stensen Postdoctoral Fellow, History Department, Harvard University; Assistant Professor of History, Leiden University
Four current and former Graduate Student Associates at the South Asia Institute and the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs will present a panel on the place of Jayaprakash Narayan (1902-1979) in modern Indian and international history. A complex and elusive political thinker, J.P. was a central figure both within and outside of post-independence India. As Gandhi’s supposed political heir, he was deeply invested in Indian domestic development, the Bhoodan Movement, and land reform. As a socialist personally connected to India’s leading business houses, he played a key role in the intellectual and institutional origins of “corporate social responsibility” in the 1950s and 1960s. As a leader of the international advocacy for anti-colonial nationalism, he lent his prestige to African nationalists like Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, and Kenneth Kaunda. As the figurehead for the student-led “J.P.” movement, he catalyzed both the 1975 Emergency and the political movements, left and right, that have marked India’s post-Emergency political landscape.
J.P. Narayan was active in diverse, and often seemingly contradictory, contexts. There is a lack of comprehensive and synthetic scholarship on his life and work, which spanned most of India’s twentieth century. Combining cutting edge interdisciplinary projects on different facets of J.P.’s politics and anti-politics, this panel will put into conversation the many sides of J.P., generating a fruitful and invigorating discussion on the man known as Loknayak – The People’s Hero.
Co-sponsored with the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs