Please find the following ‘Selected writings of the letter from Jail to Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister by Jayaprakash Narayan’ for your kind information. It is relevant in today’s situation also.
The letter was written to Indira Gandhi on July 21, 1975.
Selected writings from ‘Letter from Jail’ by Jayaprakash Narayan
TO P.M. INDIRA GANDHI
July 21, 1975
Dear Prime Minister,
In a democracy the citizen has an inalienable right to civil disobedience when he finds that other channels of redress or reform have dried up. It goes without saying that the satyagrahi willingly invites and accepts his lawful punishment. This is the new dimension added to democracy by Gandhi. What an irony that it should be obliterated in Gandhi’s own India!
Moreover, it is a false choice that you have formulated. There is no choice between democracy and the nation. It was for the good of the nation that the people of India declared in their Constituent Assembly on 26th November 1949 that “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Democratic Republic…give to ourselves this Constitution.” That democratic Constitution cannot be changed into a totalitarian one by a mere ordinance or a law of Parliament. That can be done only by the people of India themselves in a new Constituent Assembly, especially elected for that specific purpose. If Justice, Liberty, Equality and Fraternity have not been rendered to ‘all its citizens’ even after a quarter of a century of signing of that Constitution, the fault is not that of the Constitution or of democracy but of the Congress party that has been in power in Delhi all these years. It is precisely because of that failure that there is so much unrest among the people and the youth. Repression is no remedy for that. On the other hand, it only compounds the failure.
You have accused the Opposition and me of every kind of villainy. But let me assure you that if you do the right things, for instance, your 20 points, tackling corruption at Ministerial levels, electoral reform, etc., take the Opposition into confidence, heed its advice, you will receive the willing cooperation, of every one of us. For that you need not destroy democracy. The ball is in your court. It is for you to decide.
- Jayaprakash Narayan
Source: From the book ‘J.P.’s Jail Life