JANHASTAKSHEP: campaign against fascist designs
Invites you to a meeting on the anniversary of the imposition of emergency in 1975 on:
The Emergency in offing?
Venue: Gandhi Peace Foundation, Deendayal Upadhyay Marg, near ITO
Date: 25 June 2015
Time: 5.30 PM
• Justice (Retired) Rajinder Sachchar
• Kuldip Nayar, Senior Jounalist
• Ashok Panda, Advocate, Supreme Court
• N.D. Pancholi, President, Delhi PUCL
• Dr. Aparna, National Secretary, IFTU
• Ish Mishra, Convener, Jahastakshep
PEOPLES’ UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES (PUCL), Delhi
CENTRE FOR DEMOCRACY (CFD), Delhi
Champa Foundation, Delhi
Emergency in offing?
History never repeats itself, it echoes. Present echoes are terrible. 40 years ago, on 25 June, 1975, Indira Gandhi declared emergency amidst the upheaval created by the anti corruption movements and loss of the credibility of the government. The constitutional rights were suspended. Strict censorship was imposed and the editors, who were asked to bend down prostrated. Thousands were incarcerated. Notorious 42nd constitutional amendment gave unlimited power to the Prime Minister. The process of the concentration and the centralization of power that had begun with her assuming the power reached the zenith by 1974 with a loyal Congress President declaring India to be Indira and vice versa. Her populist policies and slogans like eradication of poverty had earned her a charismatic image. The Congress veterans known as syndicate, who had organized themselves as Congress (O) were politically eliminated in the Indira wave of war jingoism in the aftermath of what is known as the Bangladesh war in 1971. The unprecedented majority in the parliament made her more authoritarian and arrogant and the members of Parliament acted as the bunch of minions and zealots. But just the slogans can’t keep the popularity forever. Soon the charisma fizzled out and the government faced popular movement, particularly by students. Faced with the possibility of Supreme Court upholding the Allahabad High Court decision of debarring her from holding to constitutional position, she declared emergency and the country witnessed the silence of graveyard. Dissenting voices were coercively muted. The notion of committed judiciary was implemented and the conscientious judges of the Supreme Court had resigned in protest. With Modi emerging as the sole leader of the country with the slogan of the development and sidelining the BJP veterans and the functioning of one year sounds serious alarms for democracy and democratic institutions of the country. As said above, history never repeats but echoes that are being louder and the emergency seems to be in offing, may be the undeclared.
Indira Gandhi’s path political ascendance to power, in an economically distressed conditions and rising poverty caused by draughts and social unrest was paved by her not only Garibi Hatao (eradicate poverty) slogan but also by seem singly pro-people policies like abolition of the privy puratses and the nationalization of the banks and war-patriotism. The path Modi’s ascendance to political supremacy in the face of corruption tented Congress misrule and anti-people policies and absence of a narional alternative, was paved by chauvinistic communal polarization by successfully organizing unprecedented communal pogroms, gang rapes and consequent exodus of Muslims and their ghettoization. But for the Muzaffarnagar-Shamli communal mayhem on the eve of the parliamentary elections, this kind of unprecedented electoral success fought in the “Indira is India” style would not have been possible by the development demagoguery. The first year of the Modi government has been the year of dismantling the institutions like planning commission and making them subservient to the government; desperation to disposes peasants by land acquisition ordinances; plans to subvert the higher education by not only by budgetary cuts to grants but also by introducing Central University Act and CBCS, continuity of old and introducing new methods of creating communal tension and displacement and ghettoization of the minorities. The way the criticism and the dissent is being dealt with as manifested in the banning of Periyar -- Ambedkar study circles; punitive action against students and teachers of St. Stephan’s and Hindu colleges respectively and the attacks on revolutionary cultural groups by Sangh Parivar is quite alarming. Indira Gandhi had only state’s coercive apparatuses on her disposal to silence the dissent and pursue her draconian policies; Modi has in addition to that the organized force of VHP-Bajarangdal kind of lumpen forces on his disposal.
It is in this context, we have chosen the topic of the Emergency in offing for this year’s commemoration of this black day. Please join us in the discourse.
N D Pancholi, President, Delhi PUCL
Ish Mishra, Convener, Janhastakshep