• Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty: CM blogs on 37th anniversary of Emergency

  • Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty: CM blogs on 37th anniversary of Emergency

    June 25, 2012 Author: Narendra Modi

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    Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty

     

    Dear Friends,

    “At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to the Constituent Assembly on 15th August 1947. 

    But, at the stroke of midnight on 25th-26th June 1975 as the world slept, India awoke to spell of authoritarianism as Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi clamped down a state of emergency across the nation. The very basic tenets of free speech and democracy on which our great founding fathers created this nation suddenly came under cloud. And few missed the irony that the leader doing this not only belonged to Pandit Nehru’s party but also his own family.

    Today 37 years may have passed since the Emergency was imposed but the lessons learnt from those 2 years are extremely relevant not only now but also for years to come.

    This Emergency was the final assault of an insensitive Government intoxicated with power, one that had become completely disconnected from the very people that voted it to office. The nation reeled under extreme price rise as the promise of ‘Garibi Hatao’ seemed both a distant memory and a cruel joke played on the people of this Country. Long lines for essential commodities and families struggling to make ends meet had become very common. Corruption had become a part and parcel of those occupying the high offices.

    Finally, on 12th June 1975 the Judiciary put the brakes on none other than the Prime Minister herself. Unable to digest the bitter pill prescribed by the Allahabad High Court combined with the fear of being routed at the hustings, a helpless Government took the easier way to simply trample down on public opinion.

    It would be appropriate to call the Emergency as one of the darkest periods in the history of India. All leading Opposition leaders were arrested immediately, irrespective of which part of the country they were in.

    Even social and patriotic organizations were not spared. The RSS was banned and a large number of people arrested were RSS Swayamsevaks. The role played by the RSS in the underground movement to resist the Emergency is extremely inspiring, serving as a rock of support to patriots across India irrespective of what one’s ideological inclinations were. Since Mrs. Gandhi perpetually saw a ‘RSS hand’ in ‘destabilizing’, the RSS faced the highest brunt of state repression in those dark days.

    Censorship became the other cruel aspect of the Emergency. Along with Opposition leaders, newspaper and media houses saw the ugly side of totalitarianism. There were blackouts on the press and if something had to be published, it could only be done after prior approval from the Government. Who can forget the blank page of the Indian Express that appeared on the next day of the imposition of the Emergency, which became the notable exception to the worst form of censorship? Matters were so bad that even Congressmen who were relatively more inclined to democratic politics were not spared. They were shunted out of their posts into the realm of obscurity. Opposing the anti-people Congress government was nothing less than a hideous national crime.

    During the Emergency, the people of India showed yet again that they were not those who could take such things lying down. No sooner was the Emergency imposed than the murmurs of discontent began to spread, which eventually turned into the mammoth anti-Emergency movement that resisted tooth and nail this lethal assault on values of freedom and democracy. I remember thousands of people shunned any fear of arrest and coordinating protests against the Government. In every sense, the anti-Emergency protests demonstrated a true mass movement that involved people from all sections of society.

    A striking facet of the anti-Emergency protests was the participation of the youth across the nation to resist tyranny and authoritarianism. Just like the Freedom Struggle in 1942, we had a situation in which all senior social and political leaders were arrested. This is when the youth came forward and displayed immense passion, vision, courage and dedication.

    No mention about the Emergency is complete without remembering Shri Jay Prakash Narayan. In every sense, JP was the anchor that guided the anti-Emergency protests across the length and breadth of India. If there a single leader who had sent shivers down the throats of the insensitive Congress Party, it was JP! In JP we saw a fresh ray of hope, a star that could end the misery of the disadvantaged sections of society. It was on his call that the entire country got united to resist this Constitutional savagery.

    It finally took a little less than 2 years and combined might of the people of India for the rulers to realize their mistake. Fresh elections were called in 1977 and Mrs. Gandhi who was till then considered invincible was comprehensively rejected through the ballot.

    It is also heartening to share that Gujarat played a major role not only in the build up but also in the protests against the Emergency. The situation in the state almost mirrored the situation in the country. The Navnirman Movement exposed the chinks in the Congress armour and demonstrated the might of student power.

    Dear Friends, to me the struggle against Emergency was all about people power. In ways more than one, it made us value our democratic foundations even more. The Emergency is the story of scores of brave individuals many of whom devoted their entire life to the cause of Mother India! Today is the day we should remember these brave men and women who sacrificed themselves at the altars of democracy and free speech.

    I too have many memories attached with the Emergency. I also had the opportunity to share them in my book ‘Apatkalme Gujarat’ (Gujarat During the Emergency) where I have charted out the historical context, the mass movement and the heroic deeds of brave individuals separated by age and creed but united in their commitment to some of the basic values of India like Freedom of Expression that were threatened by the Emergency. I hope you enjoy reading it.

     

    Yours,

    Narendra Modi

     

    Read ‘Apatkalme Gujarat’, Shri Narendra Modi’s absorbing work on Gujarat during the dark Emergency days

    Also Read in Gujarati : “Sangharshma Gujarat”

    Add Your Comment

    Hiren Trivedi
    It takes time to know Bapu's work , know Bapu, just an author from xyz country writes at his whims, is utter rubbish. I feel we are too tiny in front of the towering personality and great deeds of Mahatma Gandhi. I think this author must be going through financial crices, and thought let me write something negative about Bapu and get noticed, so that I ccan earn some money- As for Bapu, I am sure will forgive this author just the way he had forgiven Nathuram Godse.
    Vivek Agarwal
    Modi Ji, aapse anurodh ahi ki aap apni saari aalochnaon se aprabhvit hokar desh seva karte rahn. aap jaise log bahaut mushkil se janam lete hain.
    Shirish Dave
    કટોકટી એ વૉટબેંકનીતિ હતી કે વિકાસનીતિ હતી? I have an interesting link of mine in /Gujarati http://treenetram.wordpress.com/2012/06/25/%E0%AA%95%E0%AA%9F%E0%AB%8B%E0%AA%95%E0%AA%9F%E0%AB%80-%E0%AA%8F-%E0%AA%B5%E0%AB%89%E0%AA%9F%E0%AA%AC%E0%AB%87%E0%AA%82%E0%AA%95%E0%AA%A8%E0%AB%80%E0%AA%A4%E0%AA%BF-%E0%AA%B9%E0%AA%A4%E0%AB%80/
    ReformistMuslim
    I have read the book. I really liked that all sections of society came together for national good. Even today, need is to rise above the votebank politics and move towards national regeneration.
    priyamsiroya
    Wonderful blog. I think every Indian and youngster must read this to know what actually happened from,
    SushilParmar2
    Wonderful blog. I think every Indian and youngster must read this to know what actually happened from 1975-1977.
    NaMOforPM
    You are indeed an aspiration for the youth of this country. Emergency gave youngsters golden chance to rise to defend Bharat Mata from dictatorship. Great to know your side of the story.
    RAMESHKAMDAR
    It appears that the darkest spot on our democracy is conveniently forgotten by political class. In this condition raising this issue further confirms your strong belief & commitment to the Democracy.
    Satyavrat Singh
    We have every resource in India except good governance. Only Shri Modi can provide us good governance.
    alpeshgangani
    1975 ka apatkalin itihas kabhi nhi bhula jayega............kyoki ye.....azadi ke baad ka itihas tha
    yashgandhi
    A perfect blend of history and contemporary relevance. Every word you writes is as relevant today as it was earlier. Our Democracy is a prized possession and we should leave no stone unturned for that.
    piyush348@gmail.com
    સમય આવિ ગયો કે નવિ પ્રજા મા આ ભનતર થકિ નિ જાન્ મલે
    Hemant Behera
    Shameless Indian media does not has guts to write about Emergency.May be they are scared of their tips from 10 Janpath.Thanks Narendra Ji for telling us what India has gone through to keep a power hungry and anti-national family in power.
    Janardhan Rao Maddu
    Thanks Mr.Modi for your timely and to the point views on the Emergency.It is a thought provoking blog.Present situation is like the one before Emergency days.One should be very vigil and thwart any attempt to bring censorship of any type.They have already started the process on social media.Recent reports showed it.You are doing a exemplary job in almost all the fields.The day is coming when your services will be required to take this nations to greater heights and put at par with developed nations.
    sameeral_in
    Just look at Maharashtra to see how a state can fail if the leaders are involved in high level corruption. The Mantralaya catches mysterious fire and no one is held accountable? This fire may clean up the sins of the corrupt leaders in Maharashtra government, but it will not help poor farmers or aspiring entrepreneurs. People will have to realize the cost they have to pay by voting for such politicians. Better wake up before it is too late. Mr. Modi you will have to win again in 2012 in Guj. We can't allow Congress to ruin Guj.
    manojsirsa
    Glad to see your Blog –Sir -25 June75 is remembered in the history of India as a most infamous,black day when Mrs Indira Gandhi who headed the Congress Party as its dynastic head imposed an 'Internal Emergency' in India.This was declared to suppress d widespread political unrest & agitation generated by her refusal to submit to her unseating from power in a judgment by the Allahabad High Court on an election petition charging her with electoral corruption in her LokSabha Elections.Shri JayaPrakashNarayan who stood for high moral values and fought against this with the help of RSS, many more true nationalists.I do remember one of those days when my father (a doctor) recd a letter (in yellow colour with Indira’s photo) calling for mass “Nasbandi” He was called at the health center to take more and more people at the nearby missionery hospital in Naini. Some amount was also paid for this. Women were taken into big trucks.President did not even question D reasons from the PM for such a grave measure.Opposition leaders,activists were arrested.Indian media was strangled and put under stringent censorship.Human rights and freedoms were brutally suppressed by the Indira Gandhi regime. Judiciary was interfered.Democracy was under the unquestioned writ of Indira Gandhi,her younger son,Sanjay Gandhi.We are indebted to JP,RSS,True nationalists who fought against this. Salutations-Thanks for writing this blog-VANDE MATRAM-BHARAT MATA KI JAI
    _ajitsinh
    I have heard about the emergency and listened to the stories of its dangers, exiting period and the noble deeds done by RSS Pracharks. I feel fortunate enough to see the place of Maningar area where you lived during such a dark span of time. Some of pracharks have changed their names also. It was very unfortunate for the democracy. What about today? Our economy and other aspects of the nation very serious and become poorer and poorer. Today we feel very unfortunate and passed through many kind of emergencies... Thank you Narendrabhai for sharing and remembering the cruelty of congress and its policies. VANDE MATRAM. BHARAT MATA KI JAY...Dr. Ajitsinh Rana
    Abdulraheman Patrawala
    Shri Modi is son of the soil. He has seen every bright and dark side of the Indian democracy and has catered the best to the people of Gujarat. Being the human being he is God fearing man and at its best knows the rajdharma as enunciated by Shri Vajpaye. Vajpaye and Modi are the two side of the same coin of we the people of India...
    Hitesh Pandya
    sir,you have rightly said "At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom.”- Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru to the Constituent Assembly on 15th August 1947. But, at the stroke of midnight on 25th-26th June 1975 as the world slept, India awoke to spell of authoritarianism of Indira Gandhi"..I experienced the ruthlessness of the AUTHORITARIAN administration.and actually, those were the darkest days of my life. However, Gujarat remained an ISLAND OF HOPE of Democracy during that militarised era.Freedom of speech, freedom to meet freedom of expression were just crushed under the draconian feet.and, thousands of innocent persons/workers and even teenagers were thrown behind the bar.Hundreds suffered physical assault of the INDIRA POLICE.Many nameless died unattended in the jail.Yet, there were thousands who fought bravely against this TAANA-SHAHI and never surrendered.You have put it very truly that "The Emergency is the story of scores of brave individuals many of whom devoted their entire life to the cause of Mother India! Today is the day we should remember these brave men and women who sacrificed themselves at the altars of democracy and free speech.".SALUTE TO ALL THOSE BRAVE SOULS,young and old, men and women,businessmen and intellectuals,manual labourers and office supervisors, bankers and educationalists,all, all ....INDIA WILL ALWAYS BE INDEBTED TO YOU ALL..vande mataram..bharat mata ki jay..
    Devang
    Yesterday I only got this book on this site (EBook section). In my childhood I saw this book with my father, but that time I didn't get much time to read it apart from study. I searched it on internet but didn't get. Just Yesterday I got it through bjp.org site link. It was great job done by Narendra Modi at the age of 25, we can not think of doing such effort in such condition where emergency imposed by government. :) Also collect all the information and writing it in a book with so detailed description. If somebody read it then he can get feel of same time he can easily feel like he is that situation. Such a great work... :) HEADS OFF to you sir.... :)
    findmanu
    I'm going to buy that book and read for sure. Hopefully, its sold online somewhere :)
    ravighiyar
    Today 37 years may have passed since the Emergency was imposed but the situations remains the same. Same like Ms.Gandhi govt, UPA govt is intoxicated with power, one that had become completely disconnected from the very people that voted it to office.Doing scams as per their wishes and no leader going behind the bar but reverse is true is using the CBI.Opposition govt or leaders are being raid or shown fear of CBI which has merely became a tool of UPA govt. Present govt is talking of putting internet censorship and thus putting an end to freedom of speech which clearly shows their mentality as those during the Emergency days. Still the promise of ‘Garibi Hatao’ seemed both a distant memory and a cruel joke played on the people of this Country since last 60 years. Corruption had become a part and parcel of those occupying the high offices. Its high time that gain the youth of this nation come forward and display immense passion, vision, courage and dedication to free India from this dynasty rule of Gandhi family and thus freeing our mother land from mini-emergency like situation. People like me may have not witnessed the emergency of 1975 but can surely feel those bad days of Emergency after reading your blog and book Apatkalme Gujarat! Thanks for educating on emergency and inspiring me for take the fight forward for the democratic India. jai Hind ! Vande Mataram !
    impankajmani
    wonderful blog sir ,as u described abt Emergency days that was really horrible n its all due to Congress leaders who never believed in the roots of democracy n always oppose patriots like you n Rss.it was shameful act done by Mrs Gandhi n Congress Sycophant,for me u r the only leader who really believes in Democratic roots like u always say Sauna Saath Sauna Vikas,i also read ur gr8 efforts during Emergency n NavNiraman Movement,simply we need a real Democratic leader like u to lead our nation ,that will be a true tribute to all who sacrifised their life during emergency , God Bless U sir Good Bless india last but not the least A big Salute to u for ur Works that u r doing in Gujarat,we Indian really want u as PM of India , VandeMatram ,Jai hind
    Kishore Trivedi
    At the age of 24 an ordinary human thinks of work, career, marriage but Narendra Modi thought of nation. He took part in Navnirman Movement and then in anti-Emergency movement. What can be a greater indication of greatness than this. With constant police eye on you, it takes courage to go out and oppose worst form of fascism. We are with you sir.
    gujcomm
    12th June 1975- Gujarat Election results come out and Indira Gandhi disqualified to be PM by Allahabad HC. She was unable to tolerate this and finally came emergency. The media gag was the most pathetic thing. A liberal democracy is judged by the freedom of its press. This disappeared from India. Editors took orders from Congress rather than on intellectual argument. I remember my Grandparents telling me one could be arrested on any count during those days. Its scary to think of it also....great effort by you to remind the youth of what happened in the time gone by.
    Shatabdi Roy
    A very telling blog sir. I had a chance to read the book in Gujarati and it made lot of sense to me. It is so good to see how the flame of patriotism is still burning brightly among our people. More than ever before we need to learn lessons from the Emergency and this is a great step towards this.
    royshat
    The Emergency is the dark age of India. It was the pinnacle of dictatorship in the country when individual whims and fancies took precedence over honesty and democracy. It is great to see atleast someone coming in out and remembering the Emergency. We need to remember these times more often and perhaps cherish those greats who gave their lives for democracy.
    RightwingIndian
    Some other greats of emergency protests- Raj Narain, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, LK Advani, Geroge Fernandes, Madhu Limaye, Charan Singh, Morarji Desai, Parkash Singh Badal. The list just goes on and on. Atal and Advani ji were in Bangalore when the imposition happened. The sitting I&B Minister was changed because he opposed emergency. It was dictatorship of the worst kind. Sir you now need to include emergency on the school course. Let our young minds know how hard people worked to resist the emergency.
    dsanskruti
    Truly, Indians are set free because of the sacrifices and bravery of few visionaries, while Modiji is one such gem Gujarat has while Gujarat then and now is in the hands of right revolutionary people. Proud to have you as a CM Mr. Modi.
    chhayankmehta
    Sir indeed a wonderful blogpost. Its a matter of pride for Gujarat that our CM was one of the most active person during emergency and you did your best to restore democracy in country. It was due to your efforts that Stalwart Nanaji Deshmukh met George Fernandez. Gujarat will always remember how you worked as dedicated karyakarta and even circulated weekly and material thriugh trains, busues and underground movement to awaken people and libertate them from horrors of emergency. Gujarat will never forget how you devoted your time and risked your life for people to spread message of peaceful 'Jan Snagharsh' against emergecy. All respect to you Modiji. Even today your book and blog post will remind people of my generation who have not witnessed horrors of emergency how your committment led to 2nd freedom movement to liberate people of India against tyranic rule of emergency. Jai Hind.