Disruptive Arrival of The Emergency

Emergency Chronicles
Indira Gandhi and Democracy's Turning Point
Book Excerpt 


On the recommendation of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the president of India declared a state of Emergency just before midnight on June 25, 1975, claiming the existence of a threat to the internal security of the nation. The declaration suspended the constitutional rights of free speech and assembly, imposed censorship on the press, limited the power of the judiciary to review the executive’s actions, and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders. Before dawn broke, the police swooped down on the government’s opponents. Among those arrested was seventy-two-year-old Gandhian socialist Jayaprakash Narayan. Popularly known as JP, Narayan was widely respected as a freedom fighter against British rule and had once been a close associate of Indira’s father, Jawaharlal Nehru. In 1973, JP had come out of political retirement to lead a student and youth upsurge against Indira’s rule. Although most opposition political parties supported and joined his effort to unseat . . .