Book Release: ‘The Emergency: Indian Democracy’s Darkest Hour’, authored by Dr. A. Surya Prakash
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The Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), on June 25th 2018, organised a book release ceremony for the release of the book, ‘The Emergency - Indian Democracy’s Darkest Hour’, penned by Dr. A. Surya Prakash, eminent political commentator and current Chairman Prasar Bharati. The VIF was honored to have Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Vice President of India as the Chief Guest to unveil the book in four languages simultaneously - Hindi, Kannada, Telugu and Gujarati.

The session was chaired by Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director VIF, who, while introducing the Hon’ble Vice President of India and the author, briefly touched on the circumstances when India under Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi reeled under a most repressive regime in the post-independence era. Describing the period of Emergency as the darkest hour of independent India’s, Dr. Gupta stressed that it led to suppression of the citizen’s Fundamental Rights, including the Right to Life under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Many political personalities as well as innocent citizens were jailed during the Emergency. Shri Naidu, a student then at Andhra University, was also jailed. All three pillars of our democracy and media came under severe attack. A sense of fear pervaded the country during those days, Dr. Gupta reminded the audience.

The book provides a sharp scrutiny of the mindsets of principle actors during the Emergency era. Dr. Surya Prakash’s book gives a vivid account of the repression during the emergency of 1975-77 through various stories. This book is a stark reminder that institutions of democracy and democratic values should be strengthened. It is also an education for the new generation which does not know what it feels like when Fundamental Rights are taken away and Freedom is not guaranteed. The book informs us how priceless democracy is and why it needs to be cherished, nurtured and protected.

The author drew attention to the grim situation that prevailed and how Mrs. Gandhi’s decision turned this vibrant democracy into a dictatorship. On a sarcastic note, he said pallbearers of democracy of 1975 cannot claim to be standard-bearers of democracy in 2018. The younger generation must be apprised of the dark days of the emergency and the manner in which the political and social leaders fought a silent revolution to put democracy back on the rails.

Expressing similar sentiments, Shri Venkaiah Naidu underscored the need for incorporating chapters on Emergency in textbooks across India; since Emergency is a part of history, it cannot be suppressed. He further enlightened the audience that democracy demands the participation of leaders who conduct themselves on the basis of 4 C’s - character, caliber, capacity and conduct. But unfortunately these 4 C’s are rephrased by other 4 C’s - caste, community, cash and criminality. He further alluded that moral degradation is largely responsible for political degradation in India. So, we have to educate the people in order to remain vigilant against any kind of political mis-adventure. The Hon’ble Vice President left the audience with his final thought that government’s actions, formulations, policies should be in the interest of the larger section of the society. Civilization must be understood in a proper context and we all must live up to the expectation of values enshrined in our Constitution.

Event Date 
June 25, 2018

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