It is clear from the history that all the great nations have to face crisis at some point of time. America faced the great depression from the year 1929 to the late 30’s. Japan was swept out in the World War 2 by the American military forces. At the start of the last decade of new millennium soviet union demised. Independent India also faced such a worst condition in the time of ‘emergency’. Many journalists described that period as the DARK PERIOD of independent india. It was such a shame to the “world’s largest democracay”.
Indian national congress (INC), won the Indian general election of 1971 by a huge margin. From the day one of their win, the opposition parties blamed the Indira’s party for the mal-practices committed in the elections. The person who defeated by Indira Gandhi, Raj Narayan, lodged a case of fraud and use of state machinery for the election purposes against Mrs. Indira Gandhi in the Allahabad high court. On 12th June 1975, Allahabad high court justice Jaganmohanlal sinha found the prime minister guilty on the charge of misuse of state vehicles for her election campaign. The court declared her election null and unseated her from her seat in loksabha. The court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years. The Times described it as 'firing the Prime Minister for a traffic ticket (it is a notice by law enforcement official to a road user for violating the traffic laws)'.
Another more significant reason for imposing the emergency was “JP movement”. Jaya Prakash Narayan, widely known as the loknayak (leader of masses), initiated the peaceful “total revolution” movement. And also he demanded the resignation of Smt. Gandhi. . In fact on June 25, 1975, he announced a plan of daily demonstrations, not merely in Delhi, but also in every State capital and district headquarters until Indira Gandhi threw in the towel. He also appealed to the Army, the police and the bureaucracy “to refuse to obey Indira” and “abide by the Constitution instead”. These incidents made Mrs. Indira to announce emergency period according to the constitution. Many people say that Mrs. Indira was a power thirst woman, she put the country into emergency state just to protect her power
Whatever happens the ultimate sufferer is a common man in any history. Here also there was no difference. Here media joined along with the common man. In the period of emergency media was one of the greatest sufferers. Mrs. Gandhi imposed all the possible bans on media. The very fundamental rights that every Indian got from the constituency, was brutally killed. She amended the Representation of the People Act and two other laws in such a retrospective manner to ensure that the Supreme Court had no other option but to overturn the Allahabad High Court verdict. The fourth estate of democracy, media, went under censorship. Many newspapers didn’t have the courage to defy the censorship, except a few like The Indian Express. On June 28th of the same year, The Indian Express carried a blank first editorial and the Financial Express reproduced in large type Rabindranath Tagore’s poem “Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high” concluding with the prayer “Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.” The lighter side of censorship was, they allowed the soft porn for printing but not politics and they used to say, “Porn? Theek hai! Politics no”.
Many opposition leaders were arrested in the period of emergency. All the non-congress state governments were ruled out, started with karunanidhi’s Tamilnadu government. The emergency was a 19-month ordeal, which finally came to an end on January 23rd 1977. However, It was a courageous decision, considering the fact that she was under no visible compulsion to do so. It was a decision that would start a period of darkness for her. After that Mrs. Indira Gandhi called for national elections, in which the Janata Party under the guidance of “JP” won the elections. It was the first non-congress government that formed in India. Indira Gandhi herself defeated by Raj Narain in the loksabha elections of 1977. But this period was short lived; Mrs. Gandhi spectacularly came back in the year 1980.
For the press, the emergency was a cruel reminder that the State can snatch its freedom arbitrarily. Hence, soon after the emergency ended, the Press Council of India was formed whose main aim was to safeguard the freedom of the press and to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country.
Whatever might be the causes, whatever might be the consequences, the fundamental rights of each individual was brutally killed. And it made political revolutions in the indian history, by electing the Janata Party (non-congress government).
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