Monday, June 28, 2010

Emergency - Between August 11th and 25th

The National Herald, the daily paper in Delhi started by Pandit Nehru, wrote an editorial then praising the one party system in African states like Tanzania as being no less virile than the multi-party system. The paper observed:

The Westminster model need not be the best model, and some African states have demonstrated how the people’s voice will prevail whatever be the outward structure of democracy. By stressing the need for a strong Centre the PM has pointed out the strength of Indian democracy. A weak Centre threatens the country's unity, integrity, and very survival of freedom. She has posed the most important question: If the country’s freedom does not survive, how can democracy survive?

On 25th of August, the same news paper wrote:

“The PM has made it clear in recent days that there will be no attempt to establish a one party system in this country and that she is not thinking in terms of a constituent assembly or a new Constitution. As far as the party system is concerned, the one party system, however well it might answer needs theoretically, will not be forced; it can come about only in the course of natural evolution, and at present there is no such prospect.”

Uma Vasudev, a journalist, after citing this statement of the Prime Minister (Indira Gandhi), asked L.K.Advani, "What happened between August 11 and August 25?"

His immediate answer was : “Mujib’s assassination on August 15”, he added: “That gave her a shock; and made her realize that the kernel of Democracy must be maintained.”

Summary: On August 11th, The news paper started by Jawaharlal Nehru emphasized that, there should be a single party system in the country (so that Indira Gandhi can rule without any obstacles). On August 25th, Indira Gandhi gave a contradictory statement that, there was no plan to introduce single party system. L.K.Advani says, the difference in just 15 days, is because of the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (President of Bangladesh) on August 15th.

Source: Memories of the Emergency

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