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Bharat Ratna Awardee Karpoori Thakur’s Legacy Explored in Penguin’s Upcoming Book

Penguin Random House India is proud to announce the acquisition and upcoming publication of a definitive biography titled The Jannayak Karpoori Thakur: Voice of the Voiceless by authors Santosh Singh and Aditya Anmol, commemorating the centenary of the birth of the revered former Chief Minister of Bihar who is being posthumously honoured with India’s highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna, in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to society. The book, set to release in May 2024 from Penguin’s Vintage imprint, delves into the life, legacy, and enduring relevance of Karpoori Thakur, popularly known as Jannayak, a political luminary who left an indelible mark on the landscape of Bihar and India as a whole. 

Focusing on his visionary politics that introduced groundbreaking concepts such as quota within quota or equity within equity, this book highlights his pivotal role in bifurcating reservation among OBC, EBC, EWS and women in 1978—a model that significantly influenced the recommendations of the Mandal Commission. It has defined the present system of reservation in India. The book also delves into Thakur’s pragmatic approach towards achieving an equitable society, including his historic announcement of reservation allotment to various societal segments during his tenure as Bihar’s chief minister. 

The book features insights from political scions such as Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar, providing a nuanced perspective on Thakur’s socialist ideology. With a reflection on Thakur’s principles at the crossroads of socialist politics, the book engages in a timely debate on the concept of democratic socialism, amalgamating the best ideas of political stalwarts such as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Dr Lohia JP and Dr BR Ambedkar. 

The Jannayak Karpoori Thakur promises to be a beacon for readers seeking to understand the complex landscape of Indian politics and society. It also serves as a navigation guide to surmount the obstacles of poverty and overcome the challenges presented by a rigid social structure that hinders any progress in the predefined socioeconomic hierarchy. 

Commenting on the publication of the book, author Santosh Singh, says, ‘I am greatly elated and excited about Penguin bringing out our book on socialist legend and former Bihar CM Karpoori Thakur. And my happiness has just doubled with the announcement of Thakur getting the Bharat Ratna. Thakur’s lasting legacy is not just pioneering the OBC quota but his inclusive and cohesive politics.’ 

Aditya Anmol, co-author, adds, ‘I am thrilled about our upcoming book on former Bihar Chief Minister Jannayak Karpoori Thakur. Jannayak’s life unfolds as a gripping tale of the struggle to deepen democracy through inclusive politics and empowering the underprivileged. The recent Bharat Ratna announcement for Jannayak fills me with immense joy, validating the enduring relevance of his inclusive and equitable policies in today’s world.’ 

Premanka Goswami, associate publisher, Vintage and head, Backlist, Penguin Random House India, says, ‘Karpoori Thakur, through his life, philosophy and work left a deep impression in India’s polity and society.  He played a pivotal role in establishing an egalitarian society in Bihar and India. This book, The Jannayak, is poised to bring to light the life and times of Karpoori Thakur. We sincerely hope that the book will interest a wide spectrum of readers.’ 

Milee Ashwarya, publisher, Penguin Random House India, says, ‘The Jannayak Karpoori Thakur is a timely and important book on Karpoori Thakur that will throw light on his political journey, contribution, and lifelong struggle for the equality and upliftment of the marginalised. I congratulate the authors Santosh Singh and Aditya Anmol on their efforts and welcome them to Penguin Random House India.’  

About the authors:  

Santosh Singh is a Patna-based senior assistant editor with The Indian Express since June 2008, covering the entire state of Bihar with a focus on politics, society, governance and investigative and explanatory stories. Overall, he has twenty-five years of experience in print journalism in Bihar, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka. His past works include Ruled Or Misruled: The Story and Destiny of Bihar (Bloomsbury, 2015), JP TO BJP (Vitasta Sage Select, 2021) Kitna Raaj Kitna Kaaj (Vani Prakashan, 2023).  

Aditya Anmol studied at the University of Chicago. He completed his Master’s in Public Policy with Honors in June 2023, with specializations in Finance and Policy. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Quantitative Economics with Honors from New York University. 

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