Discuss the significance of "The Emergency" in Indian History.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The time period of the mid- 1970s in Indian History was marked by "The Emergency."  It was the brain child of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, in order to solidify and consolidate her control over a political system that was moving outside of her reach.  Accused of election fraud and other elements related to noticeable voting irregularities, opposition to Mrs. Gandhi grew in the forms of public strikes and unrest.  To end this, the imposition of a State of Emergency became a reality in India.  It was this time period where the suspension of civil rights for Indian citizens became a reality, and where governmental control was the dominant element in Indian society.  The jailing of opposition leaders without due process, arrests without notification to families, destruction of slum areas of old Delhi where the poor lived, as well as a forced sterilization campaign under the term "Family Planning" became noticeable elements of the time period.  The Emergency showed Indira Gandhi to be someone who could not be trusted to hold the trust of the people in a democratic setting, and was a moment where worldwide criticism of her administration was evident.


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