PM Modi tweets on 46th anniversary of Emergency, says 'dark days' can never be forgotten
June 25, 2021, marks 46 years since the imposition of the Emergency, a historically relevant phase in India's years. On the occasion of the 46th anniversary of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said that the "dark days" marked by the period "can never be forgotten". Notably, it was on this day in 1975 that Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, the then president of India, announced a state of emergency across the country on the recommendation of the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government at the Centre. The Emergency remained in effect from June 25, 1975, to March 21, 1977, and is, to this date, one of the highly-debated chapters in academic and political circles when talking about modern Indian history.
Prime Minister Modi, looking back at the chequered legacy of the Emergency period in India's history, said that the period between 1975 and 1977 witnessed a "systematic destruction" of India's democratic institutions. Taking to his official handle on Twitter, Modi pledged to strengthen India's democratic spirit and live up to the values enshrined in the Constitution.
To highlight the "dark days" of systemic repression during the Emergency period, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also linked a series of infographics posted from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)'s official handle on Instagram. Calling attention to the series of images, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "This is how Congress trampled over our democratic ethos. We remember all those greats who resisted the Emergency and protected Indian democracy."+
The series of images, titled "The Emergency by Indira Gandhi in 1975: An unbelievable phase in India's democracy" mention a bunch of media -- movies, songs, and the like -- that was seemingly banned during the Emergency period. The list, posted by the BJP, said that movies on Chandrashekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh were banned during the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, as were famous quotes of Rabindranath Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi. "Can you believe this was banned?" the BJP asked, taking note of the state-sponsored crackdown on dissent which was a highlight of the period. It also called for citizens to take a "pledge" to never allow "those who did this to our nation" to have the power to do something similar again.
The Emergency is often regarded as a dark phase in independent India's history because this period was marked by unbridled state incarceration, stifling of dissent, and government crackdown on civil liberties. There were reports of frequent human rights violations and the press being censored to a repressive extent.