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Facets Of India: Blue House Bonhomie - Postscript

Hariharan Balakrishnan writes a postcript to his evocative series of articles titled Blue House Bonhomie. The series, along with more of Bala's engaging words, can be read at http://www.openwriting.com/archives/facets_of_india/

1975- June 25. That’s the evening when I met a friend who heard on AIR (All India Radio) that “Emergency” was imposed. I couldn’t react, since this term was totally unheard of in democratic India since Independence. It was only a vague term in the Statute, but not in the realm of reality- except during the 1962 war with China.

The Prime Minister of India invoked this provision of the Constitution on 25th May 1975. She found no other political way of getting out of the mess in time. By then, Jayaprakash Narayan, who “thrice refused the crown” had roused the nation against the autocratic ways of Indira Gandhi that was anathema to real freedom fighters like him. JP (as he was called) was a contemporary of Jawaharlal Nehru during the independence movement. Nehru’s daughter Indira Gandhi was no match to the popular awakening that swept the country.
With the declaration of Emergency, Indira Gandhi became the virtual dictator of India- something her father, the first Prime Minister of India never dared, though he had opportunities aplenty!

I raced my scooter to Blue House.

As soon as we sat down near the flag post, I expressed my views as a shocked young man with democratic credentials in my very being. I told Mr. Rama Rao about the sense of fear and insecurity that are bound to plague the country. He simply smiled and said that the Emergency would be only a passing phase since we Indians are intrinsically a democratic nation rooted in the panchayat tradition. He also predicted that trains would run in time, and sycophants will have a field day for a while. And that is exactly what happened during the days of the Emergency.

That sullied part of India’s history lasted only 27 months.


H. Balakrishnan
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