It has been 25 years since the death of India Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India. On October 31 1984. she was brutally gunned down by her own body guards. Many newspapers brought out commemorative articles about Indira Gandhi and her legacy. Many leaders also paid their tributes to her. The most interesting tribute came from our Defense Minister A.K.Antony. In his tribute published in Congress daily Malayala Manorama, A.K.Antony has an interesting explanation for the infamous imposition of Emergency rule in India in 1975 by Indira Gandhi. As it is in Malayalam let me translate it.
“Indira Gandhi was not in favor of emergency. Proclamation of Emergency rule was only her response to Jayaprakash Narayan asking the Army to lead a revolt against the political leadership.”
So Jayaprakash Narayan is responsible for the Emergency rule in India, according to A.K.Antony.Not Indira Gandhi or Sanjay Gandhi.
This is the typical victim blaming ideology of the oppressor.
What was the real reason for Emergency?
On June 12, 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court found the Prime Minister Indira Gandhi 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.
Instead of resigning and appealing against the verdict in the Supreme Court, Indira Gandhi declared a State of Emergency citing threat to National Security and brought Indian Democracy to a grinding halt.
What did Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan did?
JP was in effect the main opposition to Indira Gandhi’s despotic rule. When it became clear that Indira Gandhi was not going to obey the Constitutional provisions and laws by resigning as Prime Minister and was contemplating Emergency, he called for mass agitation to force her to resign. In that famous rally in Ramlila Grounds in Delhi he asked Government servants, Police and the Army to disobey Indira Gandhi as she has no legal right to remain in the seat of Prime Minister.
A.K.Antony do not find fault in Indira clinging on to power for almost 2 weeks after the Court order but blames JP for raising voice against her attempt to undermine democracy.
The irony is that the same A.K.Antony has resigned in protest against Indira Gandhi being given ticket to contest in a by election by the Congress in 1978.He was also supposed to be a strong opponent of Emergency.