Top 10 Highlights of Emergency

Top 10 Highlights of Emergency

Here is my take “Top 10 Highlights of Emergency- Why Bihar govt website is correct, Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule worse than British”. Let Congress fume over Bihar govt website Article, it will not change the Dark history, and atrocities and sufferings of Common man and Intellectuals during Emergency period. Bihar has all right to condemn Emergency and Indira Gandhi for the Pain of Her Favorite Son Jay Prakash Narayan, JP (the atrocities that later claimed his life)

It was he (Jay Prakash Narayan) who steadfastly and staunchly opposed the autocratic rule of Indira Gandhi and her younger son, Sanjay Gandhi. Fearing people’s reaction to his opposition, Indira Gandhi had him arrested on the eve of declaring National Emergency beginning June 26, 1975. He was put in the Tihar Jail, located near Delhi, where notorious criminals are jailed. Thus, in Free India, this septuagenarian, who had fought for India’s freedom alongside Indira Gandhi’s father, Jawahar Lal Nehru, received a treatment that was worse than what the British had meted out to Gandhi ji in Champaran in 1917, for his speaking out against oppression.”

The movement started by JP, however, brought the Emergency to an end, led to the massive defeat of Indira Gandhi and her Congress Party at the polls, and, to the installation of a non-Congress government – the Janata Party – at Delhi, for the first time. With the blessings of JP, Morarji Desai became the fourth Prime Minister of India. JP remained the Conscience of the Janata Party and of post-Gandhi, post-Nehru India. He gave a call to all Indians to work ceaselessly towards eliminating ‘dictatorship in favour of democracy’ and bringing about ‘freedom from slavery’,” Excerpts from Bihar Govt Website, Read More

June 25, 1975 was the Black day then prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in India citing grave threat to her government and sovereignty of the country from both invisible internal and external forces & “threat of lawlessness and anarchy.”. The Emergency, proclaimed on June 26, 1975 had lasted 21 months.

Top 10 Highlights of Emergency- Why Bihar govt website is correct, Indira Gandhi’s Emergency rule worse than British

1.In fact, the country was at peace, the only threat was to her own position. The judgment of the Allahabad high court had disqualified her from continuing as prime minister. She was held guilty of corrupt practices during her election campaign.

2.The opposition movement against the Emergency was led by JP “the Gandhi of Independent India”, George Fernandes, Morarji Desai, Nanaji Deshmukh, Subramanian Swamy, AB Vajpayee, LK Advani, Ramakrishna Hegde, HD Deve Gowda, M Karunanidhi, JB Patnaik, Jyoti Basu, Madhu Dandavate, Lalu Prasad Yadav, Mulayam Singh Yadav, Sharad Yadav and many others.

The opposition was brutally oppressed. Ramnath Goenka, the only newspaper owner who stood up to Indira Gandhi, was harassed and he faced a series of troubles at the hands of her government. when the Emergency was clamped, when tens of thousands of people were thrown into prison and when Parliament and the courts were made ineffective, few people really thought that the nightmare would end.

3.Morarji Desai, who was 78 years old and kept in solitary confinement, and to Jayaprakash Narayan who lay in Jaslok Hospital after both his kidneys were mysteriously made to fail in Chandigarh jail. More significantly, JP’s heart had been broken when he saw an India utterly passive to the death of democracy, while those who had earlier egged him. When Indira Gandhi offered him parole on promise of good behaviour, he told the emissary who had come to visit him in jail that no sooner was he out he would start the struggle again.

4.Newspaper with blank pages – Not everybody yielded easily to the efforts of censorship of media
Newspapers and TV channel contents were censored and sometimes even dictated. Nobody was allowed to write anything about the political prisoners not even the location where they have been jailed. Government officers were appointed to overlook media houses activities. Nevertheless, newspaper like Indian Express registered their protest by printing blank pages instead of censored content.

Press resistance to goverment's censorship on media content

Even the cartoonists were not spared. The famous weekly magazine, Shankar’s weekly, was forced shut. But, this didn’t stop Shankar from publishing a deeply sarcastic last edition. He stated that autocrats can’t afford to have a good sense of humor.

Shankar's last edition of his cartoons

5.Elections: State and parliamentary elections were postponed.


6.Sterilisation: The emergency gave immense power not only in Indira’s hand but also her son, Sanjay Gandhi. He performed atrocity of sterlisation. Covered witha blanket of ‘family planning’, the process was supposed to be voluntary. But as it turned out, there were reports where unmarried, old and in some cases opponents were forced to get streilized.

7.During the Emergency, Gandhi took to the liberty of rewriting the laws since her party had two thirds majority in the Lok sabha. Indira Gandhi felt that the existing laws were too slow and hence got the president to pass an ordinance which allowed Gandhi to rule by decree. Gandhi amended the Constitution such that it exonerated her from any charges in the election-fraud case. She also made sure that there was president’s rule in the states where the government was anti- Gandhi. The 42nd amendment is considered to be one of the lasting legacies of the emergency.

8.A powerful documentary titled “Zameer Ke Bandi (Prisoners of Conscience)” produced in 1978 (with several interviews with victims) by an eminent film-maker shows how several innocent men & women (who had no political links) were jailed for trivial reasons. For example, the very first interview of the documentary is about a young man who was jailed & tortured for drawing a sketch of Indira Gandhi behind bars.
Link to the complete documentary:

9.25 year old Narendra Modi & Indira Gandhi’s most outspoken critic Dr Subramanian Swamy disguised themselves as Sikhs during the Emergency period to avoid being arrested and acted as messengers.


10.During the Emergency, Sanjay Gandhi was allowed to do more or less what he wanted in the Union Territory of Delhi. This was his particular bailiwick, where his experiments in slum clearance and sterilization were first carried out. A problem for Sanjay was that the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi was an upright man named Baleshwar Prasad. So he was removed, and ‘in his place, a spineless civil servant of no distinction was inducted; the new Lt Governor, Kishan Chander, has been supplied by Sanjay with an Adviser, Navin Chawla, a pathological case of an administration officer with total subservience to Sanjay Gandhi personally.’

Thus, during the Emergency, ‘the entire nationalised banking system was mercilessly abused to benefit Sanjay Gandhi’s corrupt friends….’ The Chairmam of the Central Bank, a Mr Taneja, ‘was worried at the persistent demands of Sanjay Gandhi for more loans.’ When he resisted he was sacked, and replaced with a more pliant man. ‘

The Reserve Bank itself was put in charge of a half-drunk, amiable insurance man, K. R. Puri, with no knowledge whatsoever of the banking sytem but endowed with the virtue of subservience to Sanjay Gandhi.’ THE LIVING LEGACY OF SANJAY GANDHI, The Telegraph


40 years on, 7 things you need to know about Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi

1975: Horror Story of Emergency in India

Indira Gandhi and her advisers were surprised by the ease with which they could silence democracy

40 years of Emergency: The timeline and how Indira Gandhi gagged rivals

Unlearnt lessons of the Emergency By Subramanian Swamy


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