Front cover image for Emergency chronicles : Indira Gandhi and democracy's turning point

Emergency chronicles : Indira Gandhi and democracy's turning point

Gyan Prakash (Author)
On the night of June 25, 1975, Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India, suspending constitutional rights and rounding up her political opponents in midnight raids across the country. In the twenty-one harrowing months that followed, her regime unleashed a brutal campaign of coercion and intimidation, arresting and torturing people by the tens of thousands, razing slums, and imposing compulsory sterilization on the poor. This book provides the first comprehensive account of this under-studied episode in India's modern history. The author strips away the comfortable myth that the Emergency was an isolated event brought on solely by Gandhi's desire to cling to power, arguing that it was as much the product of Indian democracy's troubled relationship with popular politics. Drawing on archival records, private papers and letters, published sources, film and literary materials, and interviews with victims and perpetrators, the author traces the Emergency's origins to the moment of India's independence in 1947, revealing how the unfulfilled promise of democratic transformation upset the fine balance between state power and civil rights. He vividly depicts the unfolding of a political crisis that culminated in widespread popular unrest, which Gandhi sought to crush by paradoxically using the law to suspend lawful rights> her failure to preserve the existing political order had lasting and unforeseen repercussions, opening the door for caste politics and Hindu nationalism
Print Book, English, 2019
Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey, 2019