Terming ‘Emergency’ as the “darkest chapter” in India’s democratic history, Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu today stressed the need for dedicating a chapter on it in the school curriculum. “The Emergency, a historical scar in the minds of one generation, is treated as a curiosity today. It is hardly remembered by younger generations and a few of them can recite the trauma and torture stories of that era. Though four decades have passed, Emergency should not be forgotten and forgiven,” said the Union Information and Broadcasting Minister.
“I feel there should be a chapter on Emergency in our school curriculum to make the younger generation know about the murder of democracy and how it was restored. This is quite essential I feel,” he said, adding the Indian Council of Historical Research should bring a volume on the same and it should be made part of the curriculum. Naidu was speaking at an event to mark the 42nd anniversary of imposing of Emergency organised by BJP’s Telangana unit here.
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He said the younger generation must know what was Emergency, why it was imposed, its effect and how it was lifted. “This function is organised to recall those memories. What happened in 1975…what is Emergency…the younger generation should know why Emergency was imposed, how it was misused and who is responsible for it. Emergency was one of the darkest periods in India and could not be forgotten…every youngster should be made aware of the importance of ‘eternal vigilance’ to safeguard and preserve democracy in the country,” added Venkaiah.
He also said during Emergency, the role of media was less than inspiring. “Except for Ramnath Goenka’s Indian Express, C R Irani’s Statesman and Nikhil Chakrabarty’s Mainstream, hardly any newspaper stood up against the Emergency. Similarly, the judiciary also failed to come to the aid of common man. Unfortunately, the role played by intellectuals was also very shameful and many of them could not condemn Emergency”.
He further said it was time for the media and social scientists to re-tell the Emergency story. Venkaiah said every step taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is to strengthen democracy and India.
Meanwhile, on NDA picking Ram Nath Kovind as its presidential nominee, the BJP leader said, “It was due to his calibre, contribution and conduct that he was made the candidate. We do not attack other candidates. We do not play caste politics…they (opposition) play…we do not play communal politics…they do…we do not play family politics.”
He reiterated that there was absolute freedom of press in the country and the government is committed to the same, but in the name of freedom of press, one cannot escape from other crimes and faults.
“Freedom of press is to express and write and not to suppress the truth. We have to understand that.. One of the channels was given notice by the Congress government because of some financial irregularities and now they are portraying as if there is an assault on media and there is nation-wide campaign,” Naidu said.
“Time has come to stop pseudo secularism. Hindu bashing has become a fashion…Hindu bashing cannot be called as secular. Secularism is respecting everyone. The country has to be alert about these people and forces,” he added.
Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar claimed that in 1975, then prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency for “her selfishness and only to retain power”.
“It was second round of fight for independence between 1975 and 1977. Till Congress is there in this country and even today they have Emergency mindset…we need to remember Emergency till the country becomes ‘Congress Mukt Bharat’,” Javadekar said.
Union Labour Minister Bandaru Dattatreya was also present at the function.