14 May, 2021

Ghost Writers Of 1975

Was Emergency Indira’s move alone? Or was she ‘led’ to it?

Sharad Saxena
Ghost Writers Of 1975

Indira Gandhi’s transition from Durga, the embodiment of feminine power, to the Empress of India, the authoritarian figure who presided over the Emergency, was perhaps inevitable. It must have been hard to resist becoming prisoner to the larger-than-life profile she had acquired after the Bangladesh war. And there was apparently no shortage of people who encouraged her to believe that the national interest and her self-interest were identical. Indeed, on June 18, 1975, six days after the Allahabad High Court ruled against her in the election petition case, the then Congress president, D.K. Barooah, earned himself a place in the history books, declaring, “Indira is India and India is Indira.”

Today, a quarter century after her violent death, fresh evidence would suggest that, in the troubled run-up to the Emergency, Indira was “led” far more than is believed—and not just by son Sanjay Gandhi. There was also the triumvirate, comprising Barooah and two others: West Bengal chief...

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