The Bjp Is Now Trying To Pose Itself As An Opponent Of The Emergency

Current Issue & Our Stand

It was on the midnight of June 25/26, 1975 that the Emergency was proclaimed in India by the Indira Gandhi government. This was a vile attempt to subvert India’s democratic system and thrust a one-party dictatorship on the country. Human rights and civil liberties were suspended and the political opposition subjected to arbitrary arrests, detention without trial, abuse and torture. State repression was unleashed on the masses with measures like forced sterilisation adopted to terrorise and humiliate ordinary people. The judiciary and the media were also muzzled. The 21 months-long Emergency was among the darkest chapters in India’s post-independence history. It was the undying spirit of democratic resistance among the people across the country, who refused to submit before authoritarian terror and continued to fight relentlessly, which eventually compelled the Indira regime to call for elections in March 1977. Eventually democracy triumphed over dictatorship.
The BJP is now trying to pose itself as an opponent of the Emergency. The fact is that the modus operandi of the Modi regime is eerily similar to the Indira Gandhi regime of the 1970s. The deliberate subversion of democratic institutions, attempts to destroy the independence of the judiciary, intimidation of the media and the targeted persecution of the minorities and dissenting voices today only show the authoritarian proclivities of the BJP and its mentor, the RSS. Those who have imposed an undeclared Emergency in the country today have zero credibility in celebrating the democratic resistance against the Emergency.
The people of West Bengal were the worst victims of the repressive Congress regime of the 1970s. State repression in West Bengal was unleashed right after the 1972 assembly elections, which the Congress had won through massive rigging and misuse of the state-machinery. Thousands of leftwing activists and supporters were killed or rendered homeless during the semi-fascist rule of Siddharth Shankar Ray. The present Chief Minister of West Bengal had graduated into politics from the same Youth Congress which acted as the foot-soldiers of the repressive Emergency regime. The violence and terror tactics adopted by the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal today are inspired by the semi-fascist Congress rule of the 1970s.
Those on the Left, who had borne the brunt of the Emergency and the semi-fascist terror unleashed by the Congress regime in Bengal in the 1970s, should never forget its political significance. It was the struggle against authoritarianism and state repression through which the Left Front in West Bengal had come into existence. The formation of the Left Front government in 1977 was a mandate for the restoration of democracy, which was brutally subverted by the Congress regime. Perhaps, it was the blurring of those important political lessons which underlies the serious errors, leading to the downfall of the Left Front government in 2011.
Those in the Left who are serious about building a principled ideological-political resistance against the communal and autocratic Modi regime at the centre and Mamata Banerjee’s anti-people regime in West Bengal, need to draw inspiration from the struggle waged by the Left in defending Indian democracy at the time of its gravest crisis, in the form of the Emergency. Those who want to forget history and remain silent today, because of their new found love for the Congress party, are doing a great disservice to the leftist cause.

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