18 January, 2021

That ’70s Show

Back to the era of mad dictators and tinfoil democracies

Illustration by Saahil
That ’70s Show

Oh, the shivers of nostalgia! It’s true—to paraphrase an old saying—if you remember the seventies, you weren’t in them. But who didn’t grow up learning about the dictatorial reign of Indira Gandhi? That disciplinarian of the Emergency years (secretly endorsed by the middle classes—you know, trains running on time etc), the conceited excesses of Sanjay Gandhi, the suppression of free speech and thought, news censorship, the crackd­own on universities and student demonstrations and slapping of terrifying sedition laws—all history now.

Or is it? It looks like the ghosts are back. If it weren’t for Twitter and headlines to remind us this is the 21st century, the two decades would be united by the tyranny of the majority. After all,  aren’t we all being stealthily prodded to see the s­­­im­ilarities between Modi and Indira all the time? If the paeans, both within his party and government, about his stately gait and dazzling machismo were not enough, his stature and working style are constantly used...



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