New Delhi: “We will have a pretty face for a time and she will be burdened with the weight of her father’s (Nehru’s) and Lal Bahadur Shastri’s misdeeds. To that we can safely add the burdens of her own misdeeds,” said socialist Ram Manohor Lohia long before Indira Gandhi had established herself as a 'popular' prime minister and a magnetic empress.
Emergency exposed the big hollowness in Congress party’s, her family’s and Indira’s personal claims about democratic mindset. The imposition of 21-month authoritative rule from June 25, 1975 to March 21, 1977 proved that Indira was authoritarian in character.
Obviously, she did not cherish any form of criticism. Some glimpses of these are found in some Congress and ‘former Congress’ leaders even after her though there is yet again constant clamouring about the so-called hyped and misuse of the phrase ‘struggle to protect democracy’. For instance, look at Mamata Banerjee. Trinamool Congress chief and a former Congress leader only recently proved in front of live television reporting that just mention of the name ‘Suvendu Adhikari’ can bring an end to a media conference. So much of ‘intolerance’ to that name that she decided to opt out of a meeting with the Prime Minister in office and also place the career of a senior IAS officer, Alapan Bandyopadhyay, in jeopardy.
If the version of Himanta Biswa Sarma is to be believed, Indira’s grandson, Rahul Gandhi, also does not think he is showing disrespect to any Congress leader if his ‘treatment’ to his pet dog is different. That’s also autocratic.
“When she (Indira) died, she left nothing behind of any redeeming value),” Romesh Thapar has been quoted as saying in the book ‘’Mother Indira – A Political biography of Indira Gandhi’ (Penguin/Viking Publication).
Thapar, a journalist who launched the periodical 'Seminar was a longtime associate of Indira Gandhi and grew as a part of her inner circle along with politicians such as Dinesh Singh.
But during Emergency, he was shunned once Sanjay Gandhi came into the scene.
“Look how she tried to destabilise Punjab,” Thapar had said. Of course, in the ultimate analysis her mistakes in Punjab and in Sri Lanka with Tamils – finally led to the end of her life and also her son Rajiv’s life in 1991.
Talking about Indira Gandhi – one should also refer to the ‘secularism’ menace she brought into Indian politics – which was largely a tool to appease Muslims and garner votes. Urdu was glorified in Kerala, Assam and West Bengal – where native Muslims had and have nothing to do with the language.
Both Indira Gandhi and her father Nehru pushed a particular thought process almost as a well-crafted conspiracy.
So generations of Indians and chiefly the Hindus grew up in this country ‘fascinated and excited by the achievements of the west in general – and also of the communists and minorities, both Christians and Muslims. The Emergency and a long stint of Indira Gandhi and decades of Congress rule from Nehru to P V Narasimha Rao and even under Manmohan-Sonia duo, the powers actually hung with the rootless admirers of the west and pro-China Left-liberals.
MSN Menon, known as an inspiration among Hindus, once rightly summed up the entire paradox.
“Because writing history had gone from the hands of the British historians into the hands of the Marxists, they had nothing but contempt for the Indian civilisation”.
This was a big price, India – that is Bharat – has paid.
Thus, a time came and it was especially after the An emergency that anyone who had read Vedas or Ramayan and Mahabharat would be called obscurantist, one who deliberately prevents facts getting exposed.
Nationalism became taboo.
Sometimes questions are raised – is it not intriguing that while Max Mueller, Sir William Jones and John Marshall were attracted to the spell of Hindu civilization, how come more ‘desi’ guys knew more of England than their own country.