20 January, 2021

Frayed Midnight Knots

1975 does not have the same resonance in the Indian psyche as 1947, 1961 or 1972.

Frayed Midnight Knots
The usual spate of articles on the Emergency that appear in newspapers on June 25 were missing this year. After almost 30 years, have the crises thrown up by the Jayaprakash movement of 1974 and Indira Gandhi’s Emergency of 1975 faded from our memories? An eminent historian like Professor Bipan Chandra thinks so. According to him, people feel closer to the events of 1947, 1962 and 1971. And even though the massive popular movements which started in Bihar and spread into large parts of north India and its traumatic aftermath were "potentially fascist", neither have left "an abiding legacy".

Chandra accepts that his reconstruction of events is largely based on "careful reasoning" in the absence of adequate direct historical material. Mrs Gandhi’s private papers are not in the public domain while JP’s papers consist mostly of his articles and speeches, which do not provide any special insights into what went on behind the scenes. Access to such records would have provided a clearer picture about the source of important allegations regarding "subterranean foreign...



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