06 August, 2021

Emergency And Its Eager Converts

Vidhu Vincent’s nuanced graphic memoir on the Emergency examines that nadir of political practice through its warm, puzzling embrace in Kerala and the rebels who dared to say nay

Malabar defies the national mood Vincent’s drawings show the reality of Kerala politics during the Emergency from the perspective of a child.
Emergency And Its Eager Converts

As I was reading Vidhu Vincent’s drawings and the lines that accompanied them on the Emergency, I wondered, a bit ruefully, how Narendra Modi failed in ensuring that trains in India ran on time! If he willed Indian Railways into punctuality in May 2014, that would have given a magnificent ‘Sab ka saath sab ka vikas’ resonance to it. I suspect the reason for this apparent failure lies elsewhere. Being a man of futuristic vision, he thought it would be better to focus his attention on smart cities and bullet trains instead of wasting precious time on India’s unmodern, noisy, inelegant trains. The numerous smart cities across the country that materialised from nowhere in the past seven years, and the hundreds of brand-new bullet trains that crisscross our vast republic at breakneck speed, testify to this assumption made in good faith.

Vidhu’s graphic memoir on the Emergency is a personal tale and a critique. She is, literally, a child of the Emergency. Like ‘midnight’s children’, one is tempted to call people born during the 21...

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