Emergency 1975 anniversary: Union minister Arun Jaitley on Monday drew parallels between Indira Gandhi and German dictator Adolf Hitler to hit out at the Congress party 43 years after its decision. In the second installment of his three-part series of articles on the Emergency, Jaitley said, “Hitler had announced a Twenty-five point economic programme. Mrs. Gandhi had announced twenty. To cover up the gap, Sanjay (Indira’s son) announced his five point economic and social programme.”
Jaitley writes that younger son of the Late prime minister, Sanjay Gandhi had taken over the reins of the Congress Party and the Youth Congress. “The Youth Congress became a law into its own-self. Its’ functioning terrorized the society. ..Dissent became a sin and sycophancy the rule.”
About Indira Gandhi’s 20-point programme, Jaitley says, “On June 29th, in order to deflect attention from the suspension of democracy in India, she announced a Twenty Point Programme for the revival of Indian economy. In fact, large number of these twenty points were also retrograde economic measures which had to be reversed in the post 1991 economic reforms.”
In the article, Jaitley has also provided some evidence to claim that the script of Emergency was well thought out in advance. He also asks, “Was this script inspired by what happened in Nazi Germany in 1933?”
Jailtey says when Hitler became the Chancellor of Germany on 30th January 1933, he did not have absolute majority in the Parliament. “On February 28th, he got his President to invoke Article 48 of the Constitution which gave emergency powers for the ‘protection of the people in the State’. The decree giving emergency powers put restrictions on personal liberty, free speech, right of assembly, association, violation of privacy, home searches and promoted restrictions on property and all other rights.”
As a pretext to impose Emergency, Jaitley writes, Hitler used an incident of February 27 in which German Parliament House, known as “Reichstag”, was set afire. Hitler claimed it was “a communist conspiracy to burn Government buildings and museums.”
However, “thirteen years later, in the Nuremberg trials, it was established that Reichstag fire was the handiwork of Nazis and Goebbels had conceived it.”
Like Hitler, Jaitley claimed, Indira imposed Emergency claiming “disorder was planned by the opposition in the country”. Comparing the German incident with that of Indira Gandhi’s, Jaitley says both Hitler and Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in their respective countries claiming their actions were under the ambit of the Constitution.
“Hitler continued to maintain that his actions were within the four corners of the Constitution. Mrs. Gandhi imposed the Emergency under Article 352, suspended fundamental rights under Article 359 and claimed that ‘disorder was planned by the opposition in the country’. The security forces were being asked to disobey illegal orders and, therefore, in the larger interest of the nation, India had to become a ‘disciplined democracy’, writes Jaitley.
“Both Hitler and Mrs. Gandhi never abrogated the Constitution. They used a republican Constitution to transform democracy into dictatorship.”
Jaitley claims Indira Gandhi even did something that Hitler didn’t. “There were a few things that Hitler did not do which Mrs. Gandhi did. She prohibited the publication of Parliamentary proceeding in the media.”
While Hitler’s Goebbels claimed the “German Revolution has just begun”, Indian ambassadors and High Commissioners were asked to tell the world in 1975 that “what was happening in India now was nothing short of a revolution.”
“The press censorship laws imposed in India and in Germany were almost similar. You had effectively a one party system in play,” he adds.
However, the Union minister also points out a difference between Indira and Hitler: “Unlike Hitler, Mrs. Gandhi went ahead to transform India into a ‘dynastic Democracy’.”