Emergency a dark period: Modi in Mann ki Baat
PM recalls oppression unleashed against people, saying the country should not forget crimes against freedom
NEW DELHI: A couple of days before leaving for his US trip, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday sought to stir the political pot in the country alleging that the people who supported democracy were tortured during the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government on June 25, 1975. Describing the ‘Emergency’, a “dark period” of India’s history, the PM said that June 25 cannot be forgotten.
Speaking on the 102nd episode of his radio broadcast ‘Mann Ki Baat, the PM said India is the mother of democracy where democratic ideals are paramount as the Constitution is supreme. Taking a jibe, albeit obliquely at the Congress, the PM said: “We cannot forget June 25. This is the very day when the Emergency was imposed. It was a dark period in the history of India. Lakhs of people opposed Emergency with their full might.”
The PM’s remarks against the Emergency came at a time when the Congress in particular has often accused his government of damaging the vitality of democracy. “The supporters of democracy were tortured so much during that time, that even today it makes one tremble in fear.”
The PM referred to some books, including ‘Torture of Political Prisoners in India', published during the Emergency and asked the people to read those books, including his own titled ‘Sangharsh Mein Gujarat, to know about the tyranny during the Emergency.
“Many books have been written on the atrocities, punishments meted out by the police and administration. I also had the opportunity to write a book named ‘Sangharsh mein Gujarat’ at that time. A few days ago, I came across another book written on the Emergency ‘Torture of Political Prisoners in India,’” the PM said.
“This book describes how, at that time, the government was treating the guardians of democracy most cruelly”, the Prime Minister said.
He suggested that when the country is celebrating Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, the people should know about such crimes. “We must also glance through those crimes which endanger the freedom of the country. This will make it easier for today’s young generation to understand the meaning and significance of democracy,” the PM said.
The PM in his monthly radio ‘Mann Ki Baat’ broadcast also lauded the country’s collective efforts to tackle natural disasters. He said after the devastating earthquake two decades ago, people had expressed doubts about whether Kutch would be able to recover from the destruction. “But the people of Kutch recovered through their collective efforts”, he said.
Prime Minister Modi said that he is deeply moved whenever he sees the efforts of the common man and his hard work that becomes a part of collective willpower. “Be it the loftiest goal, the toughest challenge, the collective might of the people of India, the collective willpower, provides a solution to every challenge. A few days ago, cyclone Biparjoy caused destruction in Kutch. But the courage and preparedness with which the people of Kutch fought such a dangerous cyclone are equally unprecedented,” PM Modi said.
The PM cited the initiatives of many people including Tulsiram Yadav of Uttar Pradesh who built 40 ‘pokhar’ (ponds) in the area for water conservation. He also remembered Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, saying a lot can be learnt from his management skills, especially in water management. He also lauded an initiative of the social organisation ‘Nikshay-Mitras’ for the elimination of tuberculosis.
He also hailed the achievements of India in sports, including the Women’s Junior Asia Cup, saying India was making its presence felt in every field. On the June 21 International Yoga Day, which is observed every year, Prime Minister Modi urged people to adopt Yoga to make it a part of their daily routine.