Recalling the black day in the 42nd year - June the 26, 1975
 Source : News Bharati English  Date : 26-Jun-2017

Emergency : Child of the oblivious  Congress : Indian National Congress , the party which has the honor of ruling the country  for  most of the post-independence period , conveniently forgets , “saga  of  emergency”.

Distastefully remembering 42nd anniversary of the black day of the Indian democracy –June the 26, 1975 should be the last matter which any Indian citizen would want to do on the day.  There emerged an assassin of the Indian democratic society. Emergency! The then  Prime Minister of India resorted to the constitutional means  to  sabotage the fabric  of  democratic  society  by  invoking the most powerful device-Articles  in the Constitution of India, Article  352 and 356. Prima facie the case in  fact  was to save her  own seat of power i.e.  Lok Sabha membership and the Prime Ministership which  had  come to an end as a result of a judicial  order issued  by the Allahabad High Court in 1975.

“On 12 June 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court found the Prime Minister guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign. The court declared her election null and void and unseated her from her seat in the Lok Sabha. The court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years. Serious charges such as bribing voters and election malpractices were dropped and she was held responsible for misusing government machinery, and found guilty on charges such as using the state police to build a dais, availing the services of a government officer, Yashpal Kapoor, during the elections before he had resigned from his position, and use of electricity from the state electricity department.” (Source: Wikipedia)

( Read more at: http://www.livelaw.in/the-emergency-of-1975-an-academic-inquest/an article by  Dr.Lokendra  Malik  published on 24 June 2015 ).

According to an article by Rishabh  Banerji  published on 25 June 2016 in ‘Indiatimes.com’, the following were the reasons which precipitated the imposition of ‘emergency’ in 1975.

1.  This was India's 3rd emergency since its Independence telling us how unstable political conditions were

2. The 1971 war with Pakistan left the country in a bad state. Problems like drought and oil crisis made the economy suffer which led to a rise in tension levels.   

3. Strikes and protests everywhere and the rise of a political opposition were responsible for the economic tumble.  

4. During this time, Indira Gandhi came out with a 20-point program to help the economy and fight poverty and illiteracy.  

5. Censorship played a huge role. It was imposed on the press, cinema and other forms of art, and political leaders were being arrested at the whim and fancy of the government.  

6. Political leaders and protesters started going underground but still carried on their protests. The Gandhis were going overboard with the power.  

7. Elections were postponed. 

8. Mrs.Indira Gandhi thought the existing laws of the country were too slow. So she took it upon herself to re-write the law.  

9. She was ruling by decree and was criticised heavily for her actions, and ,   

10. The first Lok Sabha election that took place after the emergency in 1977 saw Janata Party oust the Gandhis.

The bluff :

Shrewd Mrs. Indira  Gandhi wasted  no time in pacifying the poor ( and innocent )  masses  by  announcing populist  welfare  measures  and at the same time struck  tough political decisions  in the  name of  national interests. ‘Garibi  Hatao’ was a programme  announced for the poor. It was a great faun pass .


 Time line of emergency :

  1. Immediately  after the imposition of emergency it was  on July 1st, 1975,  Mrs. Indira Gandhi announced  Economic and Social reforms: Civil Liberties were suspended and the government introduced a mandatory birth control program. During the emergency, Mrs Gandhi’s 20-Point programme promised to liquidate the existing debts of landless laborers, small farmers and rural artisans. The programme  planned to extend alternate credit to them, abolish bonded labor and implement the existing agricultural land ceiling laws.  It provided house sites to landless laborers and weaker sections and it revised upwards minimum wages of agricultural labor.  The program also provided special help to the handloom industry by bringing down the prices, preventing tax evasion and smuggling, increasing production and streamlining distribution of essential commodities.  It increased the limit of income tax exemption up to Rs 8000/  and  simplified investment  procedures.
  2. July 4th, 1975, Four parties banned:  The government of India banned four major religious,
  3. Political and revolutionary parties and 22 associated parties with them.  These parties included the Anad Marg, Rashtriya Swayamasevak, the Naxalites and the Jamaa-e-Islami-e-Hind.
  4. August 3rd, 1975:  An amendment to the Representation of the People Act was drafted to clear Indira Gandhi from the Allahabad high court ruling of June 12th 1975.
  5. August 4th, 1975: A least 50,000 or more people had be jailed in India since the declaration of Emergency.
  6. August 15th, 1975:  Bangladesh President Mujibar Rahaman was assassinated by Bangladeshi military leaders and this incident gave rise to new external problems in India.
  7. September 15th, 1975:  Delhi High Court ruled that charges must be entered when arrested under the Internal Security Act.
  8. September 26th, 1975: Constitution (39th Amendment) Bill 1975 allowing the election of a Prime Minister beyond the scrutiny of  the parliament was approved.
  9. January 9th, 1976 : The government suspends seven freedoms guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
  10. February 4th, 1976: Lok Sabha's life extended by one year.
  11. November 2nd, 1976: Lok Sabhapasses 42nd Constitution Amendment Bill making India a socialist, secular, republic and laying down the fundamental duties of citizens. ( One has to keep in mind that there was no public debate at any level. Even the Drafting Committee Chairman ( of the Constitution of India ) Dr. B.R.Ambedkar  did  not find it  appropriate to incorporate these terms in the Preamble .  Mrs. Gandhi had assumed a unique authority to rule  by decree).
  12. January 18th, 1976 : The President dissolves Lok Sabha.
  13. March 21st, 1976 : Emergency withdrawn. March 22nd, 1976 :  Janata Partygains absolute majority. “ (  Source  :  Wikipedia ) .

State under  duress :

The  FIR  against  the government in 1975 ,  records (  as  if it were )  the  crime was  the then  Prime Minister was   belittling the  relevance of  the political  institutions set up by the Constitution of India  causing irreparable  damage  to the State .  Ultimately the  uncertain  era  came to an end. It is  against  this backdrop , one has to study the events  and further  analyze  these. It is the same political party  which  led to the shameful  events in the society and  pushed  the  society into  chaos ,  and  has conveniently and shamelessly  been making hue and cry over the ‘status report’ of the country as at present. The  Indian  State  and the society cannot be misled  by  the culprits’  wild cry.  Most  unfortunately , the culprits have  no remorse. They are not prepared  for  introspection of  any  sort.  However , the Indian State is  on a solid foundation of ancient  cultural and  spiritual  heritage. Several  invasions from  different quarters of the world , esp. from Mongols ,  later  the East India Company  from the West , defiled  the  polity  here in  India, but none of these could succeed .

The  lessons :

Yet, ‘emergency’ has taught important lessons  to the Indian  citizenry . The  middle class in the society realized  the necessity  and  the  significance of the political and the institutional values such as  parliamentary  elections , freedom  of the  political parties . The  society  and the individuals realized  the  necessity of the regulatory measures to keep the  State   and the Executive under check lest  the mobility of the citizenry is jeopardized . The other  side in the political process i.e. the opposition political parties realized  their vitality  and  strength in taming the ruling clique. The elite too realized that mere  economic progress or its  assurances do not  quench  the thirst of  liberty.

The lessons  are  for  the  ‘opposition’ !.  Unbridled  , indecent, populist shortsighted promises, rising  intolerance on the  part of the participants in the political  process ,  growing  mutual  distrust, criminal  manipulative behavioral  activities of the political  workers –all these characteristics  in the political or social processes need a  hard  relook and  improvement on the part of the ‘political and  social opposition’ to  facilitate the smooth journey of the democratic norms  and process in India.  

Yet another  significant  reference could be cited . “First  lesson of Emergency is that it is extremely difficult to do away with democracy in India. Secondly, it brought out some ambiguities regarding the Emergency provision in the Constitution that have been rectified since.   Secondly  , an amendment was carried   that ‘internal’ emergency can be proclaimed only on the grounds of ‘armed rebellion’ and it is necessary that the advice to the President to proclaim emergency must be given in writing by the Council of Ministers. Thirdly, the Emergency made everyone more aware of the value of civil liberties. The Courts too, have taken an active role after the emergency in protecting the civil liberties of the individuals.”         ( Source : ‘Crisis in Democratic Order’ Chapter 6 , p. 118, ncert.nic.in/ncerts/l/leps206. NCERT)

It is interesting to note that the authority of the ‘executive’ all over the world is being eroded , in India it is exceedingly on wider scale. It will not be an exaggeration to state that in India esp. after the present government under the leadership of Narendra Modi took over the reigns of power  in  2014 , the ‘executive’ is  seen paralyzed  with a persistent misleading and frivolous agitation attacks.

Dubious  media :

Media is found on the fore-front in  carrying out  virulent  and  personal humiliating  attacks  on  political  executives  of  different political parties.  The entire  focus is aimed at  Narendra Modi. The  attack is  characterized  by the provocative and instigating  tone. The  attack is on such a enormously vicious scale  that  it   invites  suggestions  of  imposing  regulatory  measures  against  the  uncontrolled media esp. the electronic ,  from the  disgusted citizenry.  

Liberty  is a larger  issue.  The  question  is , whose  liberty  at what  cost  and to what extent ? Does the democratic  order  contemplate  a situation which envisages   the fourth estate circumscribing and  belittling  the liberty of the other  three  pillars ?  The  assuring fact is that  all the four pillars under  the Constitution of India  are  quite safe under the Modi government. Perhaps it is felt that  the society is suffering from excessive liberal  attitudes under  Modi  government. 

The  Difference : Emergency  and  Present

The  political conditions 42  years ago in India and today at present are in way different except that the opposition political parties in 1975  fought for eternal basic  human  values ,  and today, one single party and an ‘known Hindutwawadi’ worker in  Narendra  Modi’s person  is unconstitutionally  targeted  and  political  confusion and chaos is  systematically  encouraged . In  1975 , during the  emergency , the opposition political  parties  fought  united against dictatorial   regime of a political  leader who squeezed democratic  norms unconstitutionally. Today,   the defeated and electorally  trounced   remnant opposition esp. the ‘dynasty’, facing a possible wipe-out fate , has  become  restless and  therefore instigating other  remnants to spread  violence  on roads and  streets thereby  destabilizing the constitutionally elected government. In 1975  , there were great  personalities like  Indrajit  Gupta, Jyoti Basu, Jay Prakash Narayan,  A.K.Gopalan , Madhu Limaye , and several others who cherished   different political philosophies  and  yet  were united in upholding human values . In 1975, the opposition and the society too were powerfully idealist  aiming  at restoring  democratic order and  human values. Today , at present , a few  disgruntled rich leaders are  on the job of instigating ‘purchased/hired’ small splinter  groups,  forcing them  to pose as  the  freedom fighters against Modi  regime.

One  has  also to keep in mind that in emergency , the ‘ruling clique’ had absolutely  no  political and democratic mandate  whereas the Narendra Modi  regime has constitutionally valid  popular  mandate. The  ‘big decisions’ in the  field  of  economic and  social  development by the present government  are  not only  supported by the electorate in India in 2014  but  subsequently  too continued to seal  it   in the vast  federation. “Emergency”  government  then in 1975 , desired  the judiciary  and the civil service to be a ‘loyal  and committed’ one to the political leadership  and  not to the ‘law’ in vogue . Today , Modi government has  goaded  the civil service to look to the development goal  of the poor and  needy ones. Prime Minister Narendra  Modi called  himself as the nation’s ‘pradhan sevak’.  Narendra  Modi’s  versatile approach to the multi-pronged development policy and  programmes  for the nation’s progress  has  been  quite a superior level  than that of the one in “emergency”. One  has to keep  in mind that  most  of the addresses delivered   by Narendra  Modi  to the civil  service and  the  electorate  and  even the international  audiences  contain social and  cultural  contents yet  aim at  economic  development. The  suggestion is that politics and economics alone  is not  everything  to  vie  for.

Compared to the dictatorial  rule of  the period of ‘emergency’,  the continued mandate to Narendra Modi  is the certificate for his untiring attitude of “ nation first”.