Intro: People of this country have taken the corruption in administration in their stride. But they resent corruption in high places (e.g. Bofors and Suitcase diplomacy) and react strongly, even overthrown the governments.
This article was originally published in July 1995 issue of Chhatra Shakti, the ABVP house journal. It is reproduced as it seems still relevant. —Ed
The twentieth anniversary of the Declaration of Emergency was observed this year on 26 June, 1995. Two decades ago Smt. Indira Gandhi; whose election was set aside by the Allahabad High Court on the ground of corrupt practices and who faced a formidable challenge thrown up by a peoples’ movement led by Lok Nayak Jaiprakash Narain assumed Emergency powers under the Constitution. By this act the fundamental rights of the people were suspended, and censorship was imposed in the name of internal security. A dictatorship came into being through a process available under the Constitution.
In 1973-74 student movements in Gujarat (called the Nav Nirman Agitation) and Bihar (known as the Bihar Agitation) raised basic issues of corruption, unemployment, poverty and non-education. This movement developed into a peoples’ movement and “dictatorship” was Smt Indira Gandhi’s answer to that. The period 1975-77 saw a national struggle for democracy and civil rights against a tyrannical dictatorship. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which was banned on 4th July, 1975 was in the forefront of the peoples’ struggle for democracy coordinated by the people’s Sangharsha Samiti.
Prejudicial Perversion of History
The material produced by many of those who saw the days of Emergency and remembered them in the columns of various national newspapers reveals a morbid set of mind, which permits prejudice, to rule over reality.
The people’s struggle became possible almost only because of the massive participation of RSS. Almost 95% of those thousands who courted arrest and went to jail and those thousands who were detained under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) belonged to the RSS cadres. The entire underground network and propaganda was monitored and led by RSS personnel. The so-called “revolutionaries” were crawling at the feet of the powers that be. The so-called progressives were mute.
After the Emergency, Dr Subramanian Swamy was asked by news persons about the secret of his capacity to evade arrest, when even George Fernandes was apprehended. He told that the one factor that made that possible was the RSS factor. That sums up the whole situation.
One feels sad for the intellectual dishonesty of the so-called progressives, who forgot the contribution of RSS while remembering the struggle against the Emergency. Records would revel the tremendous efforts put in by the RSS in leading the Sangharsha Samiti and in winning the elections in March 1977. After the dictatorship was overthrown the RSS went back to its basic nation-building mission without any fanfare.
The paranoia of the so-called secular progressives does not permit them to see the truth of the past and the writing on the wall for the future. They want to forget the glorious RSS role during Emergency, they want to condemn the revolutionary resurgence of the nationalist sentiment in Ayodhya in December, 1992 and they want to bury the cultural nationalism of this country under the verbosity, which they produce every day.
There is no doubt that the nationalism of the RSS has now become the mainstream of this country and the imported secular socialist ideologists are marginalised in the minds of the people.
The last 20 years have seen a forward march of nationalist forces throughout the world. The disintegration of the U.S.S.R. is not merely because of the failure of Communism but is an assertion of cultural nationalism of various nationalities, which were sought to be cobbled into a territorial nation. In this country the people are now recognising their roots, which lay in the hoary tradition of this country. The twentieth anniversary of the Emergency reminds one of this process of change which is destined to overrun all the systems of this country.
The Times of India in its issue dated September 29, 1995 informs us that Giulio Andreotti, seven times Italy’s Prime Minister and a member of successive Italian cabinet for 26 years, is now undergoing trial in Palermo, Sicily on the charge of collaborating with the mafia. The charge is that while the Mafia helped him and his friends in elections, he in turn shielded the mafia and often interceded to get the sentences of convicted Mafiosi reduced. In our country, the nexus between criminals and politicians was sought to be investigated by the Vora Committee.
The committee produced a report, which resembles an empty shell. It has left many material things unsaid. However, it reveals that in this country a parallel economy operates with the operation of Black (unaccounted for) Money and a parallel administration runs under the guidance of the underworld.
Menace before Democracy
As far back as in early seventies, Smt. Indira Gandhi said that corruption was a world phenomenon. Corrupt politicians, unseated through judicial process, getting re-elected to legislatures is not confined to this country. Former Prime Minister of Japan, who was compelled to resign and faced charges, could manage to get re-elected with impressive margins. Corruption is the foundation of the nexus between politicians and criminals.
When criminals with political patronage stalk the society, citizens feel more and more insecure. Democratic institutions also get devalued when people experience that their representatives represent the interests of the exploiters and extortionists. Money and muscle power play crucial role in electioneering and this continues even with the presence of the Seshan factor.
The unholy nexus becomes dangerous when it affects national security and displays anti-national extra-territorial loyalties and connections. The Bomb blasts of 12th March, 1993 in Mumbai are the best evidence of this. The blasts here coupled with those in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu show the disastrous results of this nexus, which requires to be identified and exposed.
People of this country have taken the corruption in administration in their stride. But they resent corruption in high places (e.g. Bofors and Suitcase diplomacy) and react strongly, even overthrown the governments. The threat to social security is daunting enough, but the people get really enraged when they find the nexus to be direct threat to national security.
When the politician becomes a criminal bully he takes popular support for granted. He believes that he can get away with it. The statistics presented by the Election Commissioner about the percentage of criminals among legislators sustains this belief.
Here is a warning for them—times are changing. The mood of the people is also different. The Govt. in Maharashtra led by Shri Sharad Pawar had to go because of the popular resentment against this criminalisation of politics affecting national security. Political parties will have to think thrice before giving tick to criminals.
It is necessary that this popular mood is sustained and expressed through popular mobilisation and further enlightenment. The student community has a crucial role to play in this popular mobilisation. Students ought to play their role as enlightened young citizens and expose the deeds of corrupt politicians whose activities in-league with criminals verge on the anti-national and treason. The politicians for whom the bomb blasts in Mumbai do not amount to treason are suspect from the beginning. Let the people know where their interests lie and let the students do their bit in this national mission.
Bal Apte (Courtesy: Nation First, Pp 131 to 134, published by Prabhat Prakashan, New Delhi)