Post-Emergency Period

-Charges and Endorsements

The 21 month Emergency period was long and intensive, enough to leave permanent scars.  The Janata Party was now the ruling party in India.  The Janata government’s response to the natural calamities (seasonal floods and their associated devastation) and old Indian Problems proved no more effective than other methods had been in the past.  Thus social and political discontent were very much present in the post-emergency India.  It became harder for the government with the increase in smuggling, strikes and social protests.  Moreover, no satisfactory solution was produced that insured the Indian people and the democratic institutions that they will not be threatened by Emergency again.  In response to this, the Shah commission was appointed by the new government on May 28th 1977.  The commission inquired into the allegations of abuse of authority and the malpractices during the emergency period.  The commission found that Indira Gandhi had been motivated by considerations of exigency, as there was no concrete evidence that could warrant the declaration of emergency.  She never consulted the cabinet with her decisions and the citizens were denied their basic freedom.

Charges against the government during the Emergency era:


 Taking these findings into consideration, the Janata government’s Home Minister, Choudhary Charan Sigh ordered the arrest of Indira and Sanjay Gandhi. The arrest meant that Indira was automatically expelled from Parliament. However, this strategy backfired disastrously. Her arrest and long-running trial, gained her great sympathy from many people who had feared her as a tyrant just two years earlier.  Mrs. Gandhi succeeded in defying both the courts and the government over the alleged improprieties committed even before the emergency. She began giving speeches again, tacitly apologizing for "mistakes" made during the Emergency, thus proceeding with her political comeback in the backdrop of the crumbling rule of the Janata party.  This set up the stage for the 1980 elections, which brought Indira Gandhi back to the office.

Mrs. Gandhi with M.g Ramchandran, Cheif Minister of Tamil Nadu.. In the post-emergency elections in 1977, only the Southern states returned Congress majorities.

The Emergency was endorsed by Vinoba Bhave (who called it Anushasan parva or Time for discipline) and Mother Teresa. Pioneer industrialist J.R.D Tata, and writer Khushwant Singh were among the other prominent supporters. Some have argued that India badly needed economic recovery after the Indo-Pak war had strained the exchequer. Indira's 20-point economic program increased agricultural production, manufacturing activity, exports and foreign reserves. The national economy achieved high levels of growth and investment, and as strikes were non-existent, productivity increased rapidly. Communal Hindu-Muslim riots, which had re-surfaced in the 1960s, and 70s, virtually ceased, and initially the government seemed to be working with vigor. Police in cities had sweeping powers to destroy gang and syndicate structure


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