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Saturday, Dec 14, 2019

In 1974, LU provided a platform to arch rivals Indira and JP

cities Updated: Nov 23, 2019 00:03 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent

JP urged students to usher in ‘Sampoorn Kranti’, while Indira spoke to teachers and pleaded against “destructive activities” of his mass movement

LUCKNOW The Lucknow University saw two political arch rivals – Jayaprakash Narayan and Indira Gandhi – visiting the campus at different points of time in 1974, when the nation was on the verge of Emergency.

Jayaprakash Narayan, who launched a mass movement against Indira Gandhi’s government that year, visited the university in May.

He addressed a gathering of students, exhorted them to bring about a ‘Sampoorn Kranti’ (total revolution) and asked for the resignation of Indira Gandhi as prime minister.

According to university records, over a thousand students gathered to hear his speech along with an equal number of outsiders.

Considering the crowd, additional police personnel were called in and Local Intelligence Unit (LIU) officials took note of the names of student union members who were involved in organising the event.

Dharm Prasad Singh, who was a student of political science in 1974, remembers the days after Narayan’s meeting. “The issue of how the government was limiting our constitutional rights became a talking point on the campus. Debates about the powers of the government became common and more frequent.”

This was followed by regular protests and agitations by the students’ union, he said.

In December 1974, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi visited the university. Addressing a gathering of teachers and students, she pleaded against the “destructive activities” part of Jayaprakash Narayan’s mass movement. She said such activities would take India back to the era of imperialist exploitation and domination.

According to Gandhi, the Jayaprakash Narayan movement was being led by people who could neither manage the country nor could retain its unity, security or Independence.

In her speech, she hailed the success of the Green Revolution that helped the country get self sufficient in foodgrains and also mentioned about technology advancement and economy of the country.

The hike in petrol prices and the Bangladesh crisis also found mention in her address.

However, Gandhi’s speech failed to take away the momentum of Narayan’s movement. Five months later, Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in the country and suspended elections, said old timers.