Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declares India to be in a state of emergency in 1975. The consequences of that decision may still be unfolding in Indian politics. (Bettmann Archive)
By Srinath Raghavan
In a recent article on Yogi Adityanath’s anointment as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Fali Nariman recalled the lessons of the Emergency. It was a timely intervention—not because of its warning about the dangers of a majoritarian state, but because it coincided with the 40th anniversary of the end of the Emergency. However, like much else that has been written about the Emergency, Nariman’s piece treats it as a memento mori for Indian democracy. Four decades on, we remain unable to look back at the Emergency as a historical moment rather than a morality play.
The immediate events leading to the imposition of Emergency are well known. Less understood is the point that the Emergency was also the outcome of a contest between two sets of ideas that had been brewing throughout Indira Gandhi’s tenure, if not earlier still.
In the first place, there was an uneasy coexistence between the notions of the state and democracy: between the simplicity of the elite using the power of the state to reshape society and the rough-and-tumble of democratic politics that allowed society to take charge of its own destiny. Indeed, the bureaucratic elite was most enthusiastic in its reception of the Emergency. B.K. Nehru, to take but one example, advised Indira Gandhi that the ‘Emergency should be taken advantage of while it lasts’ to install ‘a strong executive at the Centre capable of taking tough, unpleasant and unpopular decisions.’
Further, there was the struggle between the ideas of democracy and constitutionalism. The radical policies adopted by Gandhi resulted in a prolonged standoff with the Supreme Court. A key point of contention was the competence of parliament to amend the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution, especially the right to property. The serial challenges by the court on this front led her to move an even stronger set of constitutional amendments during the Emergency that aimed at an enormous concentration of power in the prime minister’s hands.
Yet, Indira Gandhi refrained from a wholesale modification of the Constitution and the political system in ways that would have made her position unassailable. Suggestions for revising the Constitution were afloat among her cabinet colleagues and political advisors from early on. Just three days after the Emergency was imposed, Karan Singh wrote to her that the ‘question of evolving a constitutional structure better suited to the requirements and genius of the nation has now to be squarely faced.’ A committee was constituted under Swaran Singh to look into this matter.
Ideas on changing the Constitution flew thick and fast. Bansi Lal insisted that the committee should recommend changes that would give Indira Gandhi lifelong power. B.K. Nehru advised her to usher in a presidential system on the French model and weaken the federal structure by making the governor the ‘de facto agent of the Centre.’ ‘Make these fundamental changes in the Constitution now”, he insisted, “when you have 2/3rd majority.”
Ironically, the enthusiasm of her advisors gave Indira Gandhi pause. Standing at the cusp of almost absolute power apparently made her more sensitive to both its potential and its dangers. In the event, the Janata government subsequently repealed the constitutional amendments brought in during the Emergency.
The decision to end the Emergency and to call for polls is equally intriguing. In fact, the opposition initially saw the move towards elections as aimed at perpetuating Mrs. Gandhi’s rule. As Charan Singh wrote to Jayaprakash Narayan in January 1977: ‘Smt. Gandhi is thinking of staging an election. I call it “staging” because conditions for a real election – free and fair – will be lacking.’ Various reasons have been advanced for why Mrs. Gandhi confounded this expectation, none of which are wholly convincing. This remains an open and tantalising question for historians to tackle.
In retrospect, the Emergency had far-reaching consequences for Indian politics. For one thing, it marked the ascendancy of dynastic politics. Indira Gandhi would later observe that Sanjay Gandhi gave her “the sort of support that comes not from a son but from an elder brother.” Sanjay, in turn, promoted both in the Youth Congress and the party a host of young leaders. A roster of those who came up under his patronage reads like a who’s who of the party in the last 15-20 years. It is this generation of leaders that ensured the centrality of the Nehru-Gandhi family in the Congress.
Young politicians – often from a student politics background – figured prominently on the other side of the fence too. The JP movement and the Emergency were the cradle for future generations of leaders, both of the BJP and the various OBC parties in North India that came out of socialist politics. Even South Indian parties like the DMK saw an influx of a generation of young leaders – most prominently M.K. Stalin, son of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, whose opposition to the Emergency led to his removal in 1976.
The foremost beneficiary of the Emergency was the Hindu right. The RSS’s participation in the JP movement as well as the civil disobedience against the government during the Emergency gave it – notwithstanding some craven letters by its supremo to the prime minister – a legitimacy that it had hitherto lacked. The mobilisation of RSS cadres during this period also provided the template for the populist Hindutva mobilisations of the late ’80s and the early ’90s. The Jana Sangh too got its first taste of national power, if in a cacophonic coalition, following Indira Gandhi’s ouster in 1977. What’s more, when Mrs. Gandhi returned to power three years later, she began appropriating elements of Hindu majoritarian politics.
The Emergency, in short, fundamentally reshaped the landscape of Indian politics. And its historical consequences are still unfolding.
Otherwise there appears to be no valid reason to read this story. Another angle is that Shabar/Shabari are a group of mantras. Maybe Shabari were a group of people who specialised in these mantras and the story is telling us that one can attain divine even when one practices them; one need not be proficient in only higher level mantras. This also proves that in those days Brahmans didn’t discriminate against people. Everyone learnt and developed mantra shakti according to their abilities and ethical and moral intentions. But if these were in question Brahmans/Rushic/Gurus were strict and punished them. Mantra Vigyan by Dhirajlal Thokarshi Shah mentions that Baba Gorakshanath had probably invented/discovered the Shabar mantras which were practiced by people of certain capabilities. They were probably known as the Shabar people. Names used in the Ramayan are not proper names but descriptive ones or those that tell us about a whole group of people and at times about the character and achievement of those people.
At that time Ahalya, who too was trained in the Vedic ways, could not have been literally asleep, but was maybe doing tapasya in Brahma Muhurta.
The word Ahalya means one who has not been ploughed. This could mean one who has not been ‘ploughed’ or affected by Maya, i.e. a high level tapasvi/yogi. So this story probably means that Ahalya got distracted (attack by Indra, or senses), and felt attracted towards Gautam Muni when he was bathing. So, this either happened in the state of yoga nindra, which at times can become tamsic, or maybe she was not alert, so in sleep state. If he was a Kulapati, they could obviously not have a relationship. If we assume that he was her husband, it was still perhaps unacceptable because rushis, (both men and women), normally prepare for yagyas all the time, and that involves actively practicing Shat Sampat and being a celibate even in one’s dreams, otherwise it reduces the potency of yagyas. Thus, it became necessary for Gautam Rushi to get on with his work of doing yagyas and managing his gurukul, while Ahalya started doing tapasya to overcome her desire.
This is difficult as they aim to remove desires by the roots and could take centuries, which is why they say that she turned into a rock. There are other stories too in which natural formations have formed over the tapasvis. Then, when the time is right her inner divine power activates, and she is ready to face the world again, so she emerges like a butterfly out of her cocoon when Ram touches her with his toe. This too is a yogic achievement on the part of both. When a person becomes a high level tapasvi his nails become good transmitters of yogic energies which is what Ram probably did. Or if one reads Ram in terms of the inner divine, it was Ahalya’s inner divine which blessed her. The word Sheel can also be read as virtuous, not necessarily a rock. So, the story could mean that Ahalya became very strict, in her mind, with herself and then made progress in tapasya. That way it becomes a lesson for all who want to develop spiritually.
So an author has illustrated this point and explained these qualities by telling a story in which he has said that Nachiketa is a Brahman boy who goes to Yama to learn Brahma Vidya. He’s probably done this to help people understand these concepts more easily. Once again the message is that practicing Shat Sampat is very important. It probably also involves doing Khechari and reaching very high level of tapasya. The same could probably be said about a lot of rushis and tapasvis. Nachiketa is also the name of a yagya and the story tells us about the benefits of the yagya.
Sometimes a very small and insignificant event can lead to a huge effect later on.
It’s called Butterfly Effect.
It can also lead to the creation of a new country, the displacement of twelve million people, the loss of around two million lives and permanent animosity among people who used to share their bread and ancestry at one point of time.
If we study the life of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, we will find three incidents which led to the butterfly effect, resulting into one of the most significant and bloodiest midnights in the world history.
To know these three small events, we will have to start with Jinnah’s grandfather, Premjibhai Meghji, who was a prosperous Hindu merchant from Kathiawar, Gujarat. He had made his fortune in the fish business, but he was ostracized from his vegetarian Lohana caste because of their strong religious beliefs. When he discontinued his fish business and tried to come back to his caste, he was not allowed to do so because of the huge egos of the self-proclaimed protectors of Hindu religion. Resultantly, his son, Punjalal Thakkar (the father of Jinnah), was so angry with the humiliation that he changed his and his four sons’ religion, and converted to Islam.
This was not the first incident when a Hindu had tried to come back to his religion and he was not allowed to do so by the priest class. When Islamic invasion began in India in 12th century, many Hindus had lost their religion because of petty rules like drinking the water poured by a Muslim in their ponds, being forcibly converted to Islam or going to places outside India. When they tried to reconvert to Hinduism, the stubborn priests blocked their path and branded them as permanent dharmabhrashta. This led to animosity in them for Hindus, and they converted to Islam and taught a lesson to those priests by killing them mercilessly. Today, a lot of Indian Muslims don’t want to accept their Hindu ancestry, and the humiliation their ancestors felt centuries ago could be the reason behind it.
That’s the first butterfly effect. If Jinnah’s grandfather were allowed to come back to his caste and religion, Jinnah would have remained a Hindu, and he won’t have used his genius in creating a new country for Muslims.
In 1929, Jinnah’s wife, Rattanbai Petit, died due to a digestive disorder. He was so devastated at her death that he moved to London. He led a very private life, lived in a large house, played billiards and attended theatre. But things took a drastic turn when he heard a comment made by his arch-rival, Jawahar Lal Nehru. In a private dinner party, Nehru had remarked that Jinnah was ‘finished’. It made Jinnah so furious that he packed up and headed back to India with the intent to ‘show Nehru’. He fired up the Muslim League, and transformed it from a scattered band of eccentrics to the second most powerful political party of India.
That’s the second butterfly effect. If Nehu hadn’t made that remark, Jinnah would have stayed in London, Muslim League won’t have become so powerful and India might have stayed united.
Just one year before the partition and independence of India, Jinnah’s doctor, Dr. J. A. L. Patel, discovered something in the X-ray report of Jinnah which could have destroyed the gigantic efforts to create Pakistan. Dr. Patel discovered two dark circles in the report which could have upset the Indian political equation and would have almost changed the course of history. Jinnah was suffering from Tuberculosis which left him only two or three years to live at most. He pushed Mountbatten for a speedy freedom and partition of India to make sure he made the mark in history before he died. The secret of Jinnah’s disease and imminent death stayed between him and his doctor, ensuring the bloody historical event.
That’s the third butterfly effect. That grey film had the secret to block the partition, and it was stopped from coming out by a Hindu doctor who thought his professional ethics was more important than the lives of millions. Had this report become public knowledge, Gandhi and Mountbatten might have delayed the independence of India to let the gentleman die and avoid the partition.
In the movie, Gladiator, the main character, Maximus says, “What we do in life echos in eternity”. We have no idea what eternal effect can come from something insignificant we are doing today. Jinnah’s grandfather would have never thought that his decision to go into fish business would have impacted the lives of millions one century later.
SOURCE: Freedom at Midnight (Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins)
शोभा डे नाम की एक प्रख्यात लेखिका की टिप्पणी!!!!
मांस तो मांस ही होता है, चाहे गाय का हो, या बकरे का, या किसी अन्य जानवर का । फिर हिन्दू लोग जानवरों के प्रति अलग-अलग व्यवहार कर के क्यों ढोंग करते है कि बकरा काटो, पर गाय मत काटो ।
ये उनकी मूर्खता है कि नहीं ?”
बिल्कुल ठीक कहा शोभा जी आप ने । मर्द तो मर्द ही होता है, चाहे वो भाई हो, या पति, या बाप, या बेटा ।
फिर तीनो के साथ आप अलग-अलग व्यवहार क्यों करती हैं ?
क्या सन्तान पैदा करने या यौन-सुख पाने के लिए पति जरुरी है ?
भाई, बेटा या बाप के साथ भी वही व्यवहार किया जा सकता है, जो आप अपने पति के साथ करती हैं ।
ये आप की मूर्खता और आप का ढोंग है कि नहीं ?
घर में आप अपने बच्चों और अपने पति को खाने-नाश्ते में दूध तो देती ही होंगी या चाय-कॉफी तो बनाती ही होंगी !
स्वाभाविक है वह दूध गाय या भैंस का ही होगा ।
तो क्या आप कुतिया का दूध भी उनको पिला सकती हैं या कुतिया के दूध की भी चाय-कॉफी बना सकती हैं?
क्यों नही ? दूध तो दूध है चाहे वो किसी का भी हो !
ये आप की मूर्खता और आप का ढोंग है कि नहीं ?
प्रश्न मांस का नहीं, आस्था और भावना का है ।
जिस तरह, भाई, पति, बेटा, बेटी, बहन, माँ, आदि रिश्तों के पुरुषों-महिलाओं से हमारे सम्बन्ध मात्र एक पुरुष, या मात्र एक स्त्री होने के आधार पर न चल कर भावना और आस्था के आधार पर संचालित होते हैं, उसी प्रकार गाय, बकरे या अन्य पशु भी हमारी भावना के आधार पर व्यवहृत होते हैं ।
एक अंग्रेज ने स्वामी विवेकानन्द से पूछा “सब से अच्छा दूध किस जानवर का होता है ?”
स्वामी विवेकानंद “भैँस का ।”
अंग्रेज “परन्तु आप भारतीय तो गाय को ही सर्वश्रेष्ठ मानते हैं न ?”
स्वामी विवेकानन्द कहा “आप ने #दूध के बारे मे पुछा है जनाब, #अमृत के बारे में नहीं और दूसरी बात “आप ने जानवर के बारे मेँ पूछा था। गाय तो हमारी #माता’ है, कोई जानवर नहीं ।”
इसी विषय में एक सवाल :-
Save Tigers कहने वाले समाज सेवी होते हैं और
Save Dogs कहने वाले पशु प्रेमी होते हैं । तब
Save Cow कहने वाले कट्टरपन्थी कैसे हो गये ?
इसका जवाब अगर किसी के पास हो तो बताने की ज़रूर कृपा करे ।
How an Indian sailor trained in a secret mission in Vladivostok!!!
[After training in missile systems in Russia, Sri Rama Rao Gandikota became the first sailor in the history of the Indian Navy to fire a missile from an Indian naval warship.]
In the summer of 1970 the Indian Navy picked a select group of sailors for a top secret mission in Russia. The group of 40 officers and 18 non-commissioned men were sent to Vladivostok – the HQ of the Soviet Pacific Fleet for training in maritime missile warfare – a relatively new form of combat at that time. Among those despatched to Vladivostok was Missile and Gunnery Officer Sri Rama Rao Gandikota. Little did he know he was about to make history and become the member of an illustrious group of sailors.
Four months of learning Russian language skills in India was followed by eight months of extensive technical training in Vladivostok. After the crews returned in April 1971, India secretly commissioned eight new Russian warships in the navy’s Killer Squadron. These were the Osa class missile boats, armed with the deadly Styx anti-ship missile.
By mid-1971 the Pakistan Army was conducting one of the largest genocides of the 20th century, on its Bengali citizens. With most of the western countries supporting Islamabad, war seemed India’s only option to stop the mass killings.
During a tri-forces meeting with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Navy Chief Admiral H.M. Nanda requested political clearance for an attack on Karachi. Although the Prime Minister readily granted clearance, she wanted to witness first-hand the Osa class boats in action. The vessel selected for the firing of the Styx was the INS Nirbhik on which the Visakhapatnam-born Gandikota was serving.
The sailor told RIR: “The missile launch was conducted 15 nautical miles off Mumbai, with a ‘battle target’ floating 40 nautical miles further. As the INS Nirbhik moved into position, the Prime Minister and the Admiral watched the firing from another warship. Upon receiving the signal from my captain, I aimed the missile at the target and pressed the launch button. Within seconds the target was blown to smithereens.”
The 30 year old gunner thus became the first sailor in the history of the Indian Navy to fire a missile from an Indian naval warship.
When war broke out on December 3, 1971, the Killer Squadron raided Karachi the following night, sinking three Pakistan Navy warships, badly damaging another, and destroying several fuel storage tanks in the harbour. A second attack on December 8 sunk two ships, damaged another beyond repair and completely destroyed the oil storage facility.
Gandikota was part of the second mission but unfortunately the INS Nirbhik was diverted just before the operation to provide rescue support to the sinking frigate INS Khukri.
The sailor, who retired from the navy as commander, has no regrets as the Killer Squadron had achieved its twin aims of destroying Karachi harbour and bottling up the Pakistan Navy in port. The Pakistani warships did not venture out to sea for the rest of the war.
Recollections of Russia
The officers selected to train in Russia were of a high calibre. Gandikota, for instance, had a master’s degree in mathematical economics. Because of his educational qualifications, he was commissioned as an officer in just three years.
The future members of the Killer Squadron were based on Russky Island, then a no-frills island, off Vladivostok. “The weather was terrible,” he says.
“In winter the temperature was around -32 degrees Celsius plus it was windy which made it even worse. We were not used to such conditions. On top of that the living conditions were austere. There was no central heating, instead rooms were heated by hot water pipes running through the walls and floors. It was a tough eight months.”
However, the interaction with the Russians made up for the tough life. “The tutors were excellent,” he says.
“They had amazing command over the subject, and would offer us minute details of missile warfare so were able to understand every aspect of the system. We attended classes from 9am to 4pm and did some sailing as well.”
Secretive Russians and Vegetarian Food
Gandikota says though they made lots of friends in Russia, the Soviets were extremely secretive. “They would talk only what was required. They didn’t muck around with jokes or light banter. It was very business-like.”
The sailors were not allowed to leave Russky Island but occasionally there was respite when they were taken on excursions to mainland Russia lasting two or three days.
The Russians also made up for the austere conditions by providing ample quantities of vegetarian as well as meat dishes.
“Food was aplenty,” says Gandikota. “Plus every Sunday they would bring a barrel of beer and lots of vodka. I did not drink hard liquor but loved the beer.”
Gandikota found out that one of the tutors shared his passion for stamp collecting. “Normally, Russians don’t invite you to their home unless you are a close friend, but as our friendship grew this officer took me home for dinner with his family after the end of the course,” he says.
When the course ended, the Indian sailors were treated to a three-day sightseeing trip to Moscow.
Gandikota proudly says that after the missile attacks, the crew of the boats were nicknamed ‘Killers’. He attributes the success of the Killer Squadron to three factors – hard training, motivation and secrecy.
“We were not allowed to talk about our mission in the navy,” he says. “When the missile boats arrived from Russia, in merchant ships, they were camouflaged so that nobody could tell what sort of vessels they were.”
According to the sailor, the intense training in Russia prepared them well for the rigours of combat. “After we returned to India we trained constantly. We would set out for the sea and practise missile launches. All this prepared us well for the 1971 War.”
Retirement and After
Gandikota retired in 1993 and feels it has been a great honour to serve in the Indian Navy’s Killer Squadron.
Forty-five years after they destroyed Karachi harbour and caused the “biggest bloody blaze in the whole of South Asia”, the officers of the squadron continue to celebrate their memorable victory. So far they have had three get-togethers at the naval officers’ mess in Mumbai.
Having served the nation in difficult times, Gandikota believes the navy is getting soft after almost five decades of peace. The Indian Navy must not lose its killer instinct, he says.
The great Hindu revolution of Narendra Modi by Francois Gautier
All these clever journalists got it wrong: true UP voted for Narendra Modi – but more than anything, they voted for a man who works 17 hours a day, who puts the country before himself, who is bold enough to take a huge gamble- demonetisation- because he believes it is necessary for India. A man who fights against corruption without fear and is the Prime Minister of all Indians, though once more, it is the Hindu vote which elected his party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
This election may also have signalled the beginning of the end of caste politics, another cancer that gnaws at India’s entrails – and Mrs Mayawati had become a champion at it, taking a leaf from the Indian National Congress, who for 70 years, mostly got elected on the Dalit & Muslim vote.
Many newspapers and television channels blazed across the headline: “Saffron wave in Uttar Pradesh”. This is another ill-advised coined word, that wants to sensationalize and demean, but which falls flat. What does ‘saffron’ mean? First saffron is mainly cultivated in Kashmir – and that by Muslims – so it’s a wrong comparison. Secondly, in Hinduism, saffron is the color of renunciation, a beautiful and noble tradition, that has been followed all over the world, by Buddhists, Jews, or Sufi saints. Mr. Modi and many of his ministers, such as Manohar Parrikar, have renounced many of the worldly pleasures to work for their party and their country. When will Indian journalism stop being small, petty, untruthful, without any depth or vision? The mastery of English does not make an Indian better than a simple country folk of UP or Tamil Nadu, who lives more in his or her heart than these arrogant journalist and intellectuals. I was most of the day, when the election results came, on the WION TV studio, with different panels of journalists. Most of them were of the old Nehruvian-Marxist mold, dinosaurs, who do not realize that they are out of sync with reality and are clinging to an obscure and anti-evolutionary path. One of them, from the Hindu newspaper, even said that demonetization was ‘communal’! Can you imagine how biased the guy can be?
All right, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) got four out of five states. Nothing wrong with that: Chanakya would have approved and the Indian National Congress, who cries foul about Goa and Manipur, did much worse than that. One doesn’t need a deep political insight to predict that the BJP is soon going to rule the whole of India – both at the Centre and in the states – exactly the way Congress had done during the Nehru-Indira Gandhi era. And that the writing for Congress has been on the wall ever since. Will the sycophancy of the Indian National Congress ever stop? It’s a remnant of colonialism, a legacy of Macaulay, who wanted to have brown sahibs as tools. On top of that, Rahul Gandhi has no dignity: he should immediately have taken responsibility for his party’s thrashing and resigned. There are plenty of talented people in the Congress ranks who can take his place.
One of the big tasks of Mr Modi, now that he has secured more of a majority in the Rajya Sabha, is to reform education. Many have said that his choice of Yogi Adityanath as the UP Chief Minister, shows that he is moving towards a Hindu India, away from secularism. However, as I have explained in a series of articles in this blog, Hindu power will always be compassionate: Hindu men and women are still today the only people in the world who recognise that God may manifest Himself or Herself at different times, using different names, and different scriptures. This is why a Hindu is still capable of worshipping not only in his own temple, but also to enter in a Christian church or a Muslim mosque, and that with respect and devotion. The reverse is not true.
But for that it is important that Hindu children, know their own history, their poets, such as the great Kalidasa, who is on par with Shakespeare or Homer; their warriors, such as Maharana Pratap, Shivaji Maharaj and many others, who are as good, if not more visionary and more spiritual than Napoleon; their heroines, like the Rani of Jhansi, or Ahilyabai of Indore, or Chennama, who easily compare with Joan of Arc; their philosophers, such as Sri Aurobindo, whose depth, height and knowledge is as wide and much greater than Nietzsche or Kant; their artists, whose sculptures, such as the dancing Nataraj, or architects, who built the Meenakshi temple or the Rajasthan palaces, are so beautiful that they even survived the holocaust of repeated savage and bloody Muslim invasions – see the Hampi/Vijaynagar statues, every one of which the noses and ears have been chopped, but which still retain their ethereal beauty…? In this way, they will grow up proud to be Hindus, while retaining Hinduism’s broad outlook and tolerance, which actually is the knowledge that God is One but manifests Himself or Herself in multiple avatars, men and women.
Instead, what happens? Most of Hindu kids are brought up in schools and universities that mostly teach them western subjects and concepts and even Indian history is viewed through the negative western prism. As a result, not only do not they grow-up as Hindus, which would be a boon both to India and the world, but they become clones, good only for export – indeed Hindus are the biggest brain drain of the world, from India to the West.
Mr Narendra Modi can succeed in his task only if a new generation of Hindu youth grows up with that knowledge and help him and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to introduce the essential reforms – not only educational, but also, economic, constitutional, judicial, cultural, sports wise, that are needed for India to become a real superpower and spread this great Knowledge that will save the world.