November 4, 2012

One of my earlier blogs had as caption: India must not forget 25 June, 1975. Another blog was titled : Emergency of 1975 was akin to Nazi rule.


Rupa and Co., the publishers of my memoirs, have also compiled over eighty of my blog posts and published them as a book titled “AS I SEE IT”.


Several of these blogs relate to the outrageous emergency clamped on the country in June 1975 and lifted 21 months later, when in the Lok Sabha elections held in March 1977, Smt. Indira Gandhi’s Government was trounced, and a Janata Party Government headed by Shri Morarji Bhai Desai was formed in New Delhi. This was the first time since independence that a non-Congress Government was formed at the Centre.


During the 1975 Emergency, as many as 1,10,806 persons were put behind bars. These included almost all prominent opposition leaders, and a large number of MPs, MLAs and journalists.


One of the pamphlets I wrote from prison and which was widely circulated by our party activists working underground against the Emergency bore the caption, “A Tale of Two Emergencies”, in which a striking comparison was drawn between Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s Emergency of 1975 and Adolf Hitler’s Emergency of 1933!


Last week when a well-known film maker, called on me at my residence I presented him my prison diary titled “A Prisoner’s Scrap Book”, as also my book of blogs. I drew his pointed attention to one of the blogs captioned “Let there be a Film on the Emergency.”


The film producer evinced keen interest in the subject, wholly agreed with me that this traumatic phase of independent India’s history has been totally neglected by the country’s film chroniclers but emphasised that this neglect is because there is widespread apprehension that those in authority would not tolerate a fair and honest projection of what actually happened. Not even during British rule there had been such repression in the country nor had such severe censorship of the media taken place.


raviA small event of last week fully justifies the film industry’s fears A 46-year old small scale Puducherry industrialist, by name S. Ravi, posted a tweet on October 19, 2012 in which he said that finance minister P. Chidambaram’s son Karti had amassed more wealth than Robert Vadra.



karti-chidambaram-copyRavi, who has been active in the events being organised in Puducherry by IAC (India against Corruption), was summoned by the police for this Tweet of his, and put under arrest. Former Madras High court judge David Annoussamy pointed out that by the yardstick applied in Ravi’s case by the police, many tweeters would have to be arrested. If any person feels aggrieved by a tweet, he can certainly file a defamation case against the person who has tweeted. Only if a court finds him guilty can he be arrested !




shah-lost-and-regained-bookShortly after assuming charge of the post Emergency government, Prime Minister Shri Morarji Desai set up a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the misuse and abuse of constitutional and legal provisions and the excesses and malpractices committed by the Congress Government during the Emergency period.


This Commission was headed by former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice J.C. Shah. The task assigned to the Commission was not small. Yet, very few Commissions assigned such a momentous duty could have completed its work so expeditiously. By August, 1978, the Commission submitted to Government its Third and Final Report.


Wikipedia carries this comment on the Shah Commission Report :


“The report was particularly scathing of Indira Gandhi, her son Sanjay Gandhi and the officers belonging to the civil services who helped Sanjay Gandhi. This report was later rejected by the Congress government headed by Indira Gandhi, which was back in power in 1980. The government also took the extraordinary step of recalling every published report of the Shah Commission and destroying the copies. It is now believed that not a single copy of this report exists in India. A third and final report of the commission seems to have slipped out and is currently held by the National Library of Australia.”


era-sezianThis fact is confirmed by many other commentators also. A senior parliamentary colleague of mine, Shri Era Sezhiyan, who was an ardent follower of DMK founder Shri C.N. Annadurai was upset about all this and personally did a signal service to history and to democracy when he decided to privately republish the document destroyed. I deem it a proud privilege to have been  invited by Shri Sezhiyan to Chennai to release this fresh publication renamed “Shah Commission Report: Lost and Regained”



L.K. Advani

New Delhi

4 Nov, 2012

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