Emergency: Controversial act divides people even after forty years

  • Ranjan Srivastava, Hindustan Times, Bhopal
  • Updated: Jun 25, 2015 17:53 IST

Forty years after Emergency was imposed in the country, the controversial act continues to divide people who lived through the period.

Even as MISA detenus recall June 25, 1975 as a black day in the country's history, there are many who saw achchhe din (good days) during Emergency.

Many in the state say that Emergency was good for the country when trains ran absolutely on time, officials and employees made it to office on time, there was no black marketing of essential commodities, none of the government employees dared to demand bribe etc.

“During Emergency ordinary people's right to liberty was snatched away without their losing anything but for a middle class man like me the satisfaction and gain was much more,” said educationist Zameeruddin talking to the Hindustan Times on phone.

Prof Zameeruddin said during the period, trains arrived at the stations ahead of scheduled time, law and order was good and there was no corruption as exists today.

“Can anyone imagine a health officer taking a cut of Rs 600 out of meagre Rs 3000 that a garbage collector gets per month for his job?" he asked.

A retd government officer said on the condition of anonymity though he would not like to be dragged into any controversy, Emergency “resulted” in some discipline in society and there was no lawlessness as is seen today.

However, Barakatullah University's sociology department's head Prof Gautam Gyanendra differs.

“Why should we need Emergency for good days?" asked Gautam saying a section of leaders once found a solace in renowned social worker Vinoba Bhave's statement that Emergency was an 'Anushashan Parv' (Discipline era) but those were bad days when people's freedom was muzzled.

Veteran journalist and social activist LS Herdenia said there was a state of anarchism when during JP movement the call was given to the government servants not to obey the government.

During Emergency there were arrests on a large scale and censorship on press. Sanjay Gandhi emerged later and again there was a state of chaos.

Economy analyst Rajendra Kothari said, "We are an undisciplined society and not used to an efficient system. We have been doing any kind of regimentation. But Emergency is no solution. Active citizen society should improve the system.”

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