Sputnik Opinion
In-depth analysis of regional & global events provided by Indian & foreign experts - from politics & economics to sci-tech & health.

"The 1975 Emergency Could Have Been Avoided"

© Photo : Social MediaIndia Gandhi announces Emergency, 1975
India Gandhi announces Emergency, 1975 - Sputnik India, 1920, 25.06.2024
The 1975 Emergency stands out as the most controversial chapter of Indian democracy following independence. During that 21-month period, there was a notable crackdown on civil liberties, numerous arrests of opposition figures, and widespread censorship of the press.
June 25th commemorates the anniversary of the 1975 Emergency declared by then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed upon the advice of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
Gandhi imposed the Emergency hours after the Supreme Court granted a conditional stay on the Allahabad High Court verdict declaring her election to Lok Sabha null and void and instructed her to stay away from parliamentary proceedings.
The top court also ruled that the privileges which Gandhi had enjoyed as a Member of Parliament would no longer be applicable, and she was even barred from voting but was allowed to continue as Prime Minister.
Gandhi justified the Emergency by citing a deep and widespread conspiracy against her government and internal disturbances.

Reasons for Emergency Not Warranted

Political analyst Vinod Kumar Shukla told Sputnik India that the reasons given to justify the 1975 Emergency were not valid.

"Generally, there are three reasons when an Emergency can be declared in any country – an economic crisis, internal disturbance and external aggression. The reason given by Indira Gandhi was an internal disturbance in the country, but it was rather unrest against the government because of which Congress' defeat in the next election was evident," he contended.

Shukla argued that the internal disturbances in the country were too minor for the Emergency to be considered a viable solution. He further pointed out that in a democratic nation, citizens have the right to express their dissatisfaction with the government. Therefore, he claimed that invoking an Emergency based on internal disturbances is not justified.
Shukla underscored that Gandhi's decision to enact the mode was primarily motivated by the fear of losing elections.

"Gandhi believed that she will be able to make things better for the party but the decision to impose [the] Emergency backfired, and the party had to face a defeat in the 1977 general elections," the expert said.

He further noted that it was suggested that Indira Gandhi could have tolerated the defeat but her son Sanjay Gandhi was not ready to accept it, so he convinced her to declare the Emergency.

Avoiding Emergency through Dialogue

Shukla believes that the law and order situation in the country is a state subject, so Indira Gandhi could have given powers to the government to handle the situation, moreover it could have been curtailed by deploying paramilitary forces.

"There was a law and order situation in the country in some pockets but it is the duty of any government to control such a situation. If you see a lot of protests have happened in the previous few years like [the] farmers' protest, protest against [the] Citizenship Act, etc, but that doesn't mean that [an] Emergency should be imposed," Shukla stated.

Meanwhile, in order to address the mounting anger among the populace, Indira Gandhi should have engaged in one-on-one talks with various groups such as student unions, labour unions, and railway federations who were voicing their concerns, he asserted. However, instead of taking this course of action, she made a hasty decision, Shukla concluded.
In this picture taken early 1984 shows Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi (R) and her son Rajiv (L) at a Congress Party meeting in New Delhi. India's oldest party, the Congress, virtually written off by political pundits and rivals, made a stunning comeback in national polls 13 May 2004, under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi with results showing the party and its allies sweeping the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its coalition partners from power. - Sputnik India, 1920, 30.10.2023
Why Was India's Ex-PM Indira Gandhi Assassinated?
To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала