The problem is June 25 falls every year. There is no avoiding the date. And nobody wants a repeat of June 25, 1975. It rhymes, rolls off the tongue like ball-bearings released from their slot. The Congress wants to forget but the BJP keeps reminding the Congress of Indira Gandhi’s ‘Emergency’ like a broken record.
If yesterday it was Arun Jaitley – who Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha calls the ‘minister of blogs’ – today – Tuesday, June 26, 2018 – it was the turn of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who in an unsparing way equated Emergency with ‘The Parivaar’.
Modi said the current Congress’s move to impeach the Chief Justice of India and its railings against the Election Commission were proof that the ‘emergency tendency’ in the Congress was intact. Beware!
Between Jaitley and Modi, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi and HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar chipped in with an emergency not shown when the cow vigilante go on a killing rampage. VeePee and HRD want a chapter on Indira’s ‘Emergency’ added to school textbooks to scare the jeepers out of young ones on the make!
Why? Shouldn’t people be allowed to forget the chapter than revisit it? Ha! You see, ‘Indira’s Emergency’ is not a cash cow but, it’s a vote-cow the BJP can milk year on year, not mother’s milk but milk that feeds generations of BJP recruits to grow up into sworn Congress-haters.
Oops! That’s feeble. BWTH (but what the hell), it is a vocabulary emergency. The kind that struck ‘minister of blog’ Arun Jaitley. Stuck for the right word, he settled for ‘phoney’ to define Indira’s ‘Emergency’ along with the okay ‘constitutional dictatorship’.
Jaitley compared Indira Gandhi to Adolf Hitler. He attributed ‘dynastic democracy’ to her. Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha and Swaraj politician Yogendra Yadav, both mild lookalikes, warned that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “undeclared emergency” was what should worry India.
The two were participating in a TV debate on the ‘Emergency’. Yadav, in his sarcastic best, thanked Jaitley profusely for placing in perspective, “so beautifully”, the dangers of ‘Emergency’, to the kind of atmosphere that pervades the India of today. “We should be warned,” he cautioned from his drawing room.
Sanjay Jha, on the contrary, was a cornered Jerry (Tom & Jerry), with the ‘Emergency’ albatross weighing him down. He deflected, and deflected. Asked repeatedly to condemn Sanjay Gandhi he refused to say a word on his namesake! Sanjay on Sanjay was not an emergency!!
Janata Dal (United)’s KC Tyagi, who was jailed during Emergency, dismissed Yadav’s sarcasm and satire with “hard facts” of ‘Indira’s Emergency’, stating that those who did not experience the horrors first hand had no business talking about Emergency. Jha and Yadav (both born 1963) were schoolboys in 1975, not grownups for admission to Sanjay Gandhi’s nasbandi camps.
Jaitley, on the other hand, was 22. A student of Delhi University and active in student politics, he proudly claimed to be the “first satyagrahi” of Emergency. That he was not sterilized is proof that Sanjay Gandhi wanted to keep nasbandi camps clean! And Jaitley’s choice of ‘phoney’ to brand ‘Emergency’ maybe refers to that, though facts rubbish the claim – thousands and thousands were made unfit to procreate.
The Emergency was clampdown for the Press. It was in the tube (vas deferens) for those sterilized. It was in jail for politicians who refused to cow down. It was debris under the heels for those living at Turkman Gate. It was walking on eggshell not only for the henpecked but also ruffians and wife-beaters.
Emergency brought with it excesses but also discipline! And discipline is what sets developing China apart from chaotic India. That said, but for Sanjay Gandhi and her total recapitulation to his crazy whims and fancies, Indira Gandhi would have achieved what she, some say, set out to achieve – pull India out of abject poverty. Sanjay Gandhi’s nasbandi – which targeted only the poor – cooked her goose.
But she was back in 1980 with a bang! Go figure.
So, are we in a state of “undeclared emergency” these days? The opposition insists we are. Sections of the media rub it in. Yogendra Yadav and Sanjay Jha agree: There was ‘Indira is India’ then, there is ‘Modi is Bharat’ now; there was an ‘insecure leader’ then, there’s an ‘insecure leader’ now. There was a clampdown on the Press then, there is a ‘media curbed’ now. There was nasbandi then, there’s cow vigilante now.
But some 140,000 people are not in jail overnight. The Constitution still holds. Courts are going the way they want to. Spokespersons of opposition parties are calling Modi despicable names and branding him Hitler, casting him out among killers and murderers and still not getting arrested. TV anchors are throwing BJP spokespersons out of primetime shows with a ‘shut up or quit’ ultimatum and still carrying on with the show. Social media trolls are having an easy stroll on the internet.
Of course, Barkha Dutt has a grouse that “Modi-bhakt” Arnab Goswami got his TV channel while she’s denied the honour. But Barkha could put that on twitter and get half the country behind her. Life is on a roll. Actors, politicians and sportspersons are allowed to have their say. If this is ‘undeclared emergency’, then boy, it’s fun!
Just to put to test the Modi regime, let this column declare, without proof or reason, that Prime Minister Modi is a neech man, a cunning dictator, unfit to rule; and that he should be booted out ASAP.
Let’s see if the midnight knock comes. (IPA Service)