gfiles magazine

March 10, 2015

Emergency years

prime ministers indira gandhi

Between midnight and the early hours of June 26, 1975, Indira Gandhi closed down the world’s largest democracy. Most people awoke to a hot, sultry and oppressive day, like most summer mornings in Delhi, not knowing that the course of history had changed while they slept. On the radio, Indira Gandhi was telling a dazed nation, in a voice gone shrill, about the “deep and widespread conspiracy” which had forced her government to act. The “plot”, she intoned, “sought to negate the very functioning of democracy...How can any government worth the name stand by and allow the country’s stability to be imperilled?”

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