Friday, June 27, 2008

33 years of the National Emergency

25 June 1975:

The Most Sordid Day in Independent India

By Rama Reddy

Hyderabad: We, the elite in the social, political, economic, educational and cultural fields of our country, are happy with the environment in which we live, as long as the boat in which we are sailing is not rocked. When our boat is sailing smoothly, we do not think of the less fortunate who happen to be sailing in rickety boats. Our sole objective is to see that our boat does not face rough weather.

Such "sole" objective is dangerous.

Indira Gandhi's sole objective was to see her progeny - initially Sanjay Gandhi and later Rajiv Gandhi - occupying the office of the prime minister. Every move, political or otherwise, of hers was meant to serve the "sole" objective of hers.
Most dynasties, in world history, were able to reach such objective in tragic circumstances. The Indira Dynasty was no different. Rajiv Gandhi became prime minister under tragic circumstances that were the result of Indira Gandhi's "sole" objective and of several steps she had taken in pursuit of her "sole" objective.

The tragic and inevitable end of the lives of Indira, Sanjay and Rajiv seem to have no message for us - the elite of this country. I have least hesitation in stating that the sole reason for Indira Gandhi to impose EMERGENCY on 25th June 1975 was the relentless pursuit of her "sole" objective.

Sonia Gandhi's sole objective to see Rahul Gandhi in the prime ministerial seat may be natural for an individual (particularly, for a mother) or for a group of individuals (particularly, the sycophants), but it is certainly unnatural and alien to the democratic ethos.
Sonia, Rahul and their sycophants have become an unconstitutional, yet powerful, centre of power vis-a-vis the union cabinet. It is an unhealthy trend with immense potential for undermining the democratic process of governance that the people of this country have chosen.

The politics and governance of a country have all-pervasive impact on the market and the civil society of that country. Therefore, an unhealthy practice in politics and governance will have adverse effect on the society at large. The game Sonia and Rahul are playing is not enlightened self interest; it is outrageous selfish interest.

In this political environment, one cannot expect macro-level policies that can be converted into productive micro-level activities. One such macro-level policy is the "Mega Loan Waiver" for a segment of the farming community. The disastrous effects of the "Mega Loan Waiver" will surface very soon. However, very few are in a position to visualise the long-term effects of this national-level policy decision. We are not in the habit of doing such analysis.

We, the elite, are certainly incapable of learning lessons from history. Yet, there is an exception; no politician, however powerful she or he might be, can ever dare to imagine imposing EMERGENCY. In a way, we are fortunate.

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