Next month, the country will once again observe the black anniversary of emergency. On June 25, 1975 Indira Gandhi imposed emergency. Thousands of political rivals were thrown into jails all over the country, under MISA and freedom of expression was trampled upon only to save her chair. One of the victims of this inhuman brutality named his daughter born during emergency, MISA, according to him to keep the painful memory alive.
The man is today central railway minister, one of the most loyal supporters of Sonia Gandhi and he has suddenly found virtues in dictatorship. He says, in praise of emergency, that it was necessary for curbing indiscipline in the country. So far only Congress friendly historians, family sycophants and a section of communists had described the popular movement against corruption as indiscipline and civil disobedience. Lalu Prasad Yadav'saudacious attempt to justify the indefensible has raised many eyebrows. Lalu often pretends a prattler. He also revels in grand standing. A day later, he ate his words, perhaps afflicted by the Rahul Gandhi effect as one veteran cartoonist caricatured in The Asian Age.
There was no need for Lalu to stoop so low, despite his wellknown predilections for the Italy-born Congress high command, in whom his hopes of ?one day becoming the Prime Minister of India? are rested.
Lalu must be a worried man seeing the popularity graph of the Congress falling. And the repeated judicial rap on the UPA'sunabashed vote bank prioritization must have made even some of the partners impatient. The recent pronouncements criticising the judiciary emanating from the CPM have exposed a peculiar Stalinist mindset.
In any case the Marxists have always argued for a committed judiciary and captive parliament and the Congress has from time to time found it convenient to have such comrades as fellow travellers. That is the line-up we are witnessing now.
Lalu in his anxiety to curry favour with his current political masters has condemned Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan and displaced him as the architect of the total revolution. The Lalu construct is that the JP movement which revived the people'sresistance to governmental tyranny was just anarchy and disorder. The railway minister went on to add that ?if need arose emergency could be imposed again?.
Lalu'sformer colleagues are not amused. They allege that the only preoccupation of the railway minister, who has made his party into a B-team of the Congress, was to please the Congress and its leader. Lalu'stroubles with the law-enforcing agencies, according to them, were also forcing him to back the Congress past and present dynastic ambitions.
In a different political milieu Lalu'snew-found historic insight would have gone unnoticed. But the circumstances and the company he keeps make his blabber a conjecture. The CPM for instance in Kerala and West Bengal is at war with both the press and the judiciary. The growing anti-establishment atmosphere in the country, repeated Congress defeats in state after state and the unconcealed dynastic ambitions of the Gandhi family make Lalu'spro-emergency sentiments a matter of concern.
The communists, we can be sure, will find a dialectically superb justification in the growth of the Hindutva forces, a tyrannical remedy by suspending democracy. Is it that the courtier has unwittingly blurted out the secret thoughts running deep inside the Congress charmed circuit? Of course, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.