One of the most-unprecedented incidents that took place in the History of Independent India was when the former Prime Minister of India, Smt. Indira Gandhi declared the ‘Emergency in India’ on June 25, 1975. The Emergency in India was a 21-month period of Nationwide Censorship and Restriction of Civil Liberties. It lasted until March 21, 1977, and during this time, the country was under direct rule by the former Prime Minister. Unfortunately, at this phase of the political turmoil in India, the ruling government acted purely as an ‘Authoritarian Regime’ and took several unhuman methods to silence the Political Opposition. The Emergency was a Dark Period in India’s History, and it serves as a reminder of the importance of preserving the democratic process and protecting civil liberties!
The reasons for the declaration of this Unwanted & Painful Emergency are complex and multifaceted; however, several key factors contributed to its imposition. One of the major reasons was political instability. The 1970s was a time of great political turmoil in India, and the opposition parties were using the courts to challenge the government’s decisions. This was causing great uncertainty, and the former Prime Minister felt that she needed to take stronger action to protect her position and secure her hold on power.
Another factor was the Constitutional Crisis that was facing the government. The government was facing a number of legal challenges, and the former Prime Minister felt that the courts were being used to undermine her authority. In order to deal with this crisis, she felt that she needed to take stronger action and suspend the Constitution.
The Indian people were also growing increasingly dissatisfied with the government, and this was reflected in the rising tide of public protests and demonstrations. The government was facing criticism from many quarters, and the former Prime Minister felt that she needed to take action to restore order & regain the public’s trust. In addition, the Indian population was growing rapidly, and the government was facing growing pressure to take action to control population growth. Therefore, the former Prime Minister felt that the Emergency was necessary in order to take strong measures to address this issue!
Lastly, the Indian economy was also facing a number of challenges in the 1970s, and the government was struggling to maintain stability. The former Prime Minister felt that the Emergency was necessary in order to take strong measures to address the Economic Crisis and restore stability. The impact of the Emergency on civil liberties and the political opposition was significant. Political opposition was effectively silenced, and censorship was imposed on the media. The government also implemented a number of measures to control the population, including forced sterilization programs. The Emergency also had a lasting impact on India’s political landscape, and it is widely regarded as a turning point in the country’s history.
In conclusion, the Emergency in India was one of the darkest periods in the country’s history, during which the government imposed censorship and curtailed civil liberties. The reasons for its declaration are complex and multifaceted, but political instability, constitutional crisis, growing public discontent, population control, and economic crisis all played a role. One thing that the citizens of India will always remember about the forced & undemocratic imposition of the Emergency is that there was a time in this country when a Democratically Elected Government acted as a ‘Pure Dictator’ and completely silenced the opposition.
Ironically, the former PM Indira Gandhi who promised the citizens that her government should provide food, clothes & houses to the needy ended up snatching away the basic civil rights of the citizens. Therefore, as citizens of India, the largest democracy in the world, we should always understand the importance of preserving the democratic process & protecting civil rights!
Written By NEEL PREET – Author of the Books, Voice From The East (2016); Journey With Time Place And Circumstances (2018) & Indian Defence Files (2021).