Its been 43 years since the then PM Indira Gandhi uttered the (in)famous words on AIR – “The President has proclaimed emergency. There is nothing to panic about.”
What ensued post this is no secret. Prohibition of speech, series of political arrests, withdrawal of fundamental rights, mass sterilisation in the name of family planning and censorship of media; were some of the drives that defined emergency in India. Reasons in favour and against are many and discussed voraciously across decades now.
But today, as we embark on the 43rd year since that period, it’s time to analyse India’s journey so far. Are those 21 months, in principle, behind us, with us or still engulfing us as we move forward? As a country, has our demeanour, thought process, ideology and party politics changed.
Or maybe not.
Dalit v/s Hindus v/s Muslims v/s others – the divide still exists. Party dogmas are rampant. Caste and religious politics rules. Democracy of convenience thrives. Issues at grassroot level, unemployment, rising costs and health are still real-world matters. Democratic dictatorship is still an ironic truth.
The Indian diaspora has a history of political influxes. We have geographical boundaries that are volatile. Indeed, a copious bag of problems ranging from environmental to economic, that cease to deflate. In these circumstances, are the political games of today justified? BJP, Congress, regional parties – each has an agenda that is swamped on us each time they come in power. A mindset cast on the vulnerable Indian. Each different from the other. Each with their bag of promises and dreams. Yet each, as similar in execution.
India is a multi-tiered, complex country with many irregular surfaces. For each to be met in a perfect way is nearly impossible. What will ultimately hold us good, will be the tolerance we have for these divides. A political ethos that unifies growth, a selfless need to uplift the large strata of underprivileged beyond personal gains and a social media that thinks, talks and debates differences with positivity.
India has to grow out of the emergency mode. That was done with a vendetta as much as what happens in today’s times. How different is the situation? Have we moved? Have we surfaced beyond the stains of the past?
Quantitively, yes but in spirit – no.
At the time of independence, we chose to be called a secular democratic country. No other country has achieved success or lasted as a multi-cultural, multi-religious civilisation as much as we have. Unfortunately, till the time the fanatics exist, this foundation may consistently get eroded. The country and the people need to educate themselves to let the foundation remain strong; the way it was meant to be. And then, move forward to become a developed country of the future. A country that can finally forget its many anarchical milestones. A clean slate for future Indians.