The Emergence Of Emergency
Post By Aniket Shandilya on 29-June-2015
“Singhasan Khaali Karo Ke Janata Aati Hai”.
Forty winters have elapsed since the enigmatic JP gave his epic slogan; a cry out to student organisations, trade unionists, labourers and entire citizenry to plunge themselves in the ‘total revolution’, the churning of the mass agitation against the inflated economy, rampant corruption and blatant misuse of power by the then congress regime under Indira Gandhi. Well, the situation prevalent in the country verifies that the winter refuses to be subdued and a dream of spring remains rather intangible.
Amidst wary speculations regarding the possibility of the imposition of emergency once again in the nation, it is critical to evaluate the causes and consequences of emergency with an objective approach. When the Allahabad High Court ascertained that Indira had fought the poll in a corrupt manner, her election to the parliament was rendered null and void. In a most iniquitous fashion, under the sham of “internal rebellion” pertaining to the popular ‘JP Movement’, which had gained astounding support throughout India, the prime minister proclaimed the existence of emergency effective from midnight 25th June, 1975. And within a stroke of a pen by the incumbent president, every citizen of India was stripped off his rights.
Consequently, the protesters were arrested. Indira’s attempts to pacify the people, by shoving a lie down their throats that everything was alright and they needn’t worry, were proven outrageous when an estimated 80,000 people were detained in just a matter of few months. Indira’s complacency manifested in her statements that she had to ‘save’ India, and if she resigned then democracy would die an impertinent death in India. Indira is India, India is Indira — the notion was promulgated in a repressive manner, where shades of tyranny were particularly evident.
But, Indira wasn’t the only Gandhi who favoured emergency. True to their dynastic allegiance, the heir apparent of Congress, Sanjay Gandhi, stood beside his mother. The freedom of the press was subjugated and an atmosphere of apprehension, discipline and workmanship was fostered. Indira launched the “20 point programme”, which claimed to enrich the economic condition of the country. But, it was the notorious “5 point programme” introduced by Sanjay Gandhi that acted as the nail in the coffin of the congress.
Under the cloak of family planning, mass sterilizations occurred, which weren’t consensual rather carried out as an act of coercion. Additionally, the demolition of the slums without providing alternate residences nurtured dissent among the aggrieved.
Was India better as a totalitarian state? Was there no place for democracy in India? These questions surfaced like ripples in water. After independence, the spirit of democracy and ideals of liberty, equality, fraternity had been championed in the hearts of Indians. The execution of these same ideals for personal gratification by an iconic leader, under the premise of viewing a legitimate movement as an alleged rebellion, was analogous to slaying the ‘idea of India’.
A dream of spring is coherent with democracy while the long night of winter, with emergencies. It’s our choice.