Skip to content

Emergency in the History of India!

June 27, 2010

I love to read history. Rather I should say I love to feel it. When I went to Egypt, I could sense a connectedness with the people of that era. I touched the pyramid stone and felt I touched those people who made it possible.  Yeah yeah.. not soooo sane but I am just fascinated by it. 

And lately, I was really happy to own a book by Khushwant Singh. Co-incidence is that I picked up this book on 25h June (exactly 35 years after Emergency)!!

The book gives a firsthand insight into history as he was very close to events happening then.  It is a collection of essays and profiles and one of the essay explains the reasons for emergency in India on 25th June 1975.  Some secrets unveiled by Khushwant Singh at his  unadulterated best.

I know emergency has become synonym for obscenity considering the colossal impact it had on India.  But this book shows the reasons in different light. To quote few –


Emergency was started to curb the coercion and violence spreading like fire in the country. It was started with the sole intention to bring little peace in the riot vulnerable country.  And opposition parties were igniting people to avenge more with the hope that such conditions will dethrone Indira Gandhi from power!

Initial few days, emergency was well accepted as there were no strikes or hartals, schools and colleges re-opened, business picked up, buses and trains began to run on time. BUT the reason behind the disaster was the administration running emergency! Sanjay Gandhi along with his kitchen cabinet comprising of his wife (Menaka Gandhi and his mother in law), old family retainer Chacha, Navin Chawla, Kishan Chand (who later ended his life by jumping into well), Jagmohan, who was put in charge of clearing slums with ruthless zeal and two pretty women, Sanjay had an eye for pretty women.  Also he was more comfortable with his in-laws family than his own family!

For many months, this coterie ruled the country. Anyone who crossed their paths was promptly put behind bars.  There was not a squeak of protest. Emergency which was to restore peace and harmony in the country became a lethal weapon in the hands of  Sanjay and others.

Arbitary arrests, the ruthless way Jagmohan bulldozed slums in Delhi made people believe whatever they heard. Nobody verified the facts. Not everything which was spread (could have been by opposition) was true!!  Long before the Emergency was lifted, it had lost public support. The Emergency, which was well received when it was imposed, and even justified by a sage like Acharya Vinoba Bhave, was distored later to take out personal grudges!!

There can be other occasions when we need to bring our country back on track… but making sure we do not redo mistakes made in 1975-77! 

Many a times, I am tempted to ask.. could emergency have saved some lives in Gujarat riots????

20 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2010 4:40 am

    Although I have heard about this era, I was too small to remember anything about it! But, a democracy can suspend the basic rights of their citizen is really a disturbing fact! As for whether it could have prevented Gujarat riots, I’m not sure!

    • June 30, 2010 2:02 am

      hmm… there is a tradeoff here.. when country starts going out of control do u hv much option but then the biggest fear is power with a single authority!! thats quite dangerous.. 😦 so even I sometimes dont understand..

  2. June 27, 2010 6:00 am

    it is a state of pseudo emergency now what with all the moral policing and outsourcing (contract labor-no unionisation/freedom)

    • June 30, 2010 2:03 am

      yeah but psuedo is much much much better.. coz if pseudo makes you feel this.. full emergency will be hell!

  3. June 27, 2010 7:03 am

    Some of the people who have been there during Emergency time will ascertain that bureaucracy was far more efficient in those days. And common people don’t care if it’s emergency or not as long as their lives are not negatively affected. But the problem arises when there is only a single source of power and that person has his own agenda to settle, like Sanjay Gandhi had.
    Regarding Gujarat, nobody can be sure. Even Emergency had its own share of casualties, may be much more than Guajrat. In the end, both of them are state-sponsored forms of violence.

    • June 30, 2010 2:05 am

      My biggest fear with emergency is the power in one hand and power can drive anyone insane! Emergency is ok when country is total chaos but atleast media still active and power not in the hands of only rulling party!

  4. June 27, 2010 9:18 am

    I happened to read some articles and book corresponding to the Emergency in India.
    Sometimes..its for the better.
    A chaos will overtake the peace process.Declaring emergency is a tactic to settle it.

    • June 30, 2010 2:05 am

      yeah u r rite but ppl who have seen it just dont favor it!

  5. June 27, 2010 2:31 pm

    Maram shop is here :#57 4th Cross
    RMV IInd Stage, Block I
    Bangalore 560 094

  6. June 28, 2010 6:46 am

    heyii i have not read much about the emergency but all the killing and blood shed has dissuaded me to dwell further 😦

    • June 30, 2010 2:06 am

      hmmmm 😦 but cudnt control writting as this book compelled me to..

  7. June 28, 2010 10:34 am

    Have heard tales of emergency from grown ups. What I gathered is that though most despised it, many thought that it was neccessary and were in awe of Mrs. Gandhi. Sometimes, laton ke bhoot baton se nahin mante.

    • June 30, 2010 2:12 am

      hmm rite.. atleast those who really caused problem needed this but I just wish the common man should hv been harrassed which they did and even media was censored.. these were the undoings which caused her failure in the end!

  8. June 29, 2010 12:06 pm

    It was the darkest period in the history of this nation.
    I have see it, I have felt it, I have experienced it

    • June 30, 2010 2:07 am

      I cant question it because its coming from a person who has seen it.. And its good that I am getting to knw from others also who hv experienced it!

  9. June 29, 2010 1:36 pm

    i am with bkc sir…

    • June 30, 2010 2:13 am

      I would love to hear from you about this time.. I do not just want KS to influence me on this topic 🙂

  10. June 30, 2010 4:00 am

    During those period many people misused their power and I was one to be victimized but thanks to timely intervention by well wishers, nothing happened.

  11. July 1, 2010 3:44 pm

    interesting…think I will get this book 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: