(1917 – 1986) – (Uttar Pradesh)
Raj Narain (Aged 69) was born on March 15, 1917 in Motikoat, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. He was born into an affluent Bhumihar Brahmin family related to the Narayan dynasty, the royal family of the Benares State, and was directly associated with the family of Maharaja Chet Singh and Maharaja Balwant Singh, who were the Maharajas of Benares State over a century ago. Raj Narain studied at Banaras Hindu University where he obtained his M.A. and LL.B degrees.
A political and social worker, Raj Narain organized a school for adults, a girls’ school, a study center, and a labor organization. He became a member of the Congress Socialist Party in 1934 and the National Committee of Students Federation from 1939 to 1944. He served as the President of the Banaras University Mandal Congress Committee and was a member of the District Congress Committee (D.C.C.).
During the Quit India movement in 1942, Raj Narain was the President of the Student Congress and led protests in and around the Varanasi district in Uttar Pradesh. He was “underground” for three months and later arrested on September 28, 1942, during the Quit India Movement, and detained until 1945. He was imprisoned 58 times for a period totaling about 15 years in connection with students’ and socialist movements.
After India became independent, Raj Narain joined the Socialist Party led by Acharya Narendra Deva, Jayprakash Narayan, and Dr. Rammanohar Lohia. He held many party positions, including Secretary of the UP Socialist Party from 1948 to 1951. Dr. Lohia described him as “a person who has the heart of a lion and practices of Gandhi”. Dr. Lohia admired him a lot and even said that “if in India there could be just three or four persons like him, dictatorship can never shadow the democracy.”
Raj Narain won a famous electoral malpractice case against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, which led to her disqualification and imposition of Emergency in India in 1975. He defeated Indira Gandhi during the 1977 LokSabha elections. He passed away on December 31, 1986, in New Delhi, India.