As I quote the above tweet of Sagarika Ghose of CNN-IBN and as I write this blog today on the 35th anniversary of the infamous emergency, I vividly remember that particular morning in Deoria ( my native place in Uttar Pradesh ). I was sitting and waiting for the morning news paper. My younger brother Atul Chaturvedi came running with the paper in hand and showed it to me. That morning’s banner headline was : INDIRA GANDHI DECLARES EMERGENCY . I was shocked and we started discussing the implications of the promulgation of emergency. We discussed it at length. But frankly speaking, we could not anticipate the incidents, which were soon going to get unfolded in front of us. We could not gauge seriousness of matter.
Let me go into the details of the events which preceded this declaration. Indira Gandhi got elected for Lok Sabha from her pocket borough Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh. Her main opponent Late Raj Narain challenged her election and filed a petition in Allahabad High Court. Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha heard the arguments of both sides and pronounced the judgement. He found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral misconduct and declared her election to the Lok Sabha invalid. There was a clamour for her resignation and opposition parties started mass movement. Instead of resigning gracefully, she clamped emergency to save her position and suspended all the legal and constitutional rights of the citizens of India. Lakhs of political workers of all the parties were jailed, basic human rights were suspended, constitution was amended and all political activities were prohibited and banned. Electronic media was non-existent then, but press was there and it was the only medium of information. censorship was clamped on it and we were debarred from getting all the news. Only government of the day used to decide which news was worthy of publishing and which was not. Dev Kant Barua, the then Congress president, had the audacity to declared that – INDIA IS INDIRA AND INDIRA IS INDIA. This was height of sycophancy, but it was the rule of the day.
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