The Bharatiya Janata Party has decided in a core committee meeting held on the 12th of June to observe June 25th as ‘Black Day’. June 25 will be observed as Black Day to mark the 43rd anniversary of the day on which the Emergency was imposed in the country in 1975 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. BJP core committee has chalked out a long list of programmes for the day including honouring the detainees under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). More than 20 Union Ministers are expected to participate in the Black Day programme where they are going to take an oath to safeguard democracy in the years ahead.
The union ministers and state leaders have also been requested to address districts on June 25th, so that people never forget the imposition of the Emergency by Congress. The same leaders from Congress who call BJP and the growing nationalism a threat to democracy have refused to open their mouths against their ex-leader and former PM Indira Gandhi. It is important for the present day Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his followers to learn about what draconian laws and their implementation really means. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) had been a major opponent of Indira Gandhi and her Emergency decision and its political offshoot BJP has decided to highlight the plight of the ordinary people and political leaders during the Emergency. A BJP leader spoke about what the party hoped to achieve by holding June 25th as Black Day, “This day is going to be marked to protest the autocratic rule of former PM Indira Gandhi. Today’s generation will be hardly aware of the emergency imposed by her and the atrocities they meted out to the leaders of the BJP and common people.”
It is important to note that the 21 month long period of Emergency was one of the most oppressive times for the people of India on a nationwide scale post Independence. Political opponents of the Congress were thrown into jail, there was no freedom of press and anybody who raised his voice against government’s decisions was dealt with harsh punishment. Many prominent leaders from the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, and the RSS were thrown into jail during that period. Prominent among them are former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani. The RSS itself was banned during the phase of the Emergency, even when it did not have any direct political affiliations.
RSS was targeted as Indira Gandhi and her close aides believed that RSS had the organisational base to protest and challenge the Emergency rule. Thousands of people participated in the Satyagraha (peaceful protests) against the curtailment of Fundamental Rights. RSS leaders who were out of bounds for the police formed an underground network for the restoration of democracy. They published and distributed news on a large scale, working secretively as the Emergency period had a strict control on the freedom of the press. Freedom of expression was first challenged in independent India by Congress PM Indira Gandhi by imposition of Emergency in the country. The Economist described RSS movement against the Emergency as “the only non-left revolutionary force in the world” and praised the movement by saying, “its platform at the moment has only one plank: to bring democracy back to India”
Marking 25th of June as a Black Day is a great move by the BJP, but it should not forget that the maximum troubles to be faced if it loses the battles to come are reserved for them. A second direct attack on RSS and BJP would follow if they lose the battle in 2019. The Congress, in spite of its tall claims has not been a champion of democracy and humane treatment of its opposition in the past. That era could once again resume if the BJP falls short of winning the upcoming elections. The present day Congress is as venomous, if not more, as that which existed in the era of 1975. Their intentions are doubtworthy and they can fall down to any means to get back to power. Something BJP and RSS need to keep in their minds and the people of India as well must remember this.