Skip to main content

Recalling Emergency: 'Indira Gandhi was saved from being assassinated at my hands, but she did make a grave error'

By Our Representative
Reproduced below is the personal experience at the Emergency, as felt by former fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force Rajiv Tyagi when he was in his teens, courtesy his FB timeline: 
Today marks 43 years to the declaration of Emergency, India's darkest hour before the 2014 election of Modi...
It was the winter of 1975. Indira Gandhi had invoked Emergency six months ago. I was an Air Force cadet at the National Defence Academy, home on leave. Brought up on Camus, Brecht, Gide, Anouilh, Kafka, Ayn Rand, Joyce and pornography, I was like any other rebellious 18 year old, at war with the world and its many hypocrisies, many of them inside my own home.
My heroine from 1971 was Indira, Vajpayee's Durga; and my hero, the natty General Sam Manekshaw, not because they won a war or divided an enemy nation, but because they did it with a chutzpah and ease that belied what must have taken the most awesome planning, diplomacy and nerves of steel.
On 25th Jun in 1975, I could not comprehend what had happened. What is an Emergency? What or who has caused it? What happens now? For many days I moved in a daze, scrounging for newspapers, listening to the radio. Slowly it dawned upon me that India had become a totalitarian state. The Indian Express bravely marked censored news with a black fill. The Times of India followed suit. Every morning one saw blacked-out frames in newspapers. 
An 18 year old was scared. Not for himself, but for a nation that was going down the way of China, Cuba, Russia. Then came news of the entire Opposition being jailed or in hiding. Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the BJP/RSS stalwart, wrote a letter to Indira from jail, promising to be a good boy if released.
Rajiv Tyagi
My heroine fell from grace. All around me there was talk of the wonderful things that were happening - trains running on time, Government servants doing their job. And an 18 year old screamed inside his head "That's not important, you fools!" I thought I would go mad with no one to talk to, who could understand what was happening to us, to our nation... Almost every moment was spent in reading and trying to absorb the enormity of what Indira had done to us all.
The winter break saw me back home, sitting with a classmate on a culvert over a drain, spilling out everything - my fear for what would happen, how we would now destroy our nation. He heard me out and with great prescience said the only way out would be if Indira made a grave error or if someone killed her.
It took me two days to decide that killing her would be the easier way out and the least destructive for India. I threw around the words murderer, assassin and executioner inside my head, preferring to be called the latter but hoping history would allow me the label 'assassin' at least. But I did not even know where the Prime Minister of India lived! 
Still dependent on my parents for pocket money at the NDA, I reactivated my school-time business of selling snakes and lizards preserved in formalin, to a shop that specialized in school laboratory-ware. That and some cadging from my mother, collected enough for an 18 year old to travel to Delhi to assassinate the Prime Minister of India.
I spent two nights on a park bench, found out where the PM lived, staked the house and found just too many armed guards to make a reliable success of my plan. There was also the small matter of obtaining a weapon to do the deed. The young but growing tactician within me decided to leave the job for another day, while I polished the plan.
A few days later, it was time to catch the special train back to the NDA. Indira Gandhi was saved from being assassinated at my hands, but she did make the grave error, driven by the inevitable hubris, of announcing an election that brought her down and liberated a nation that had forgotten what liberty meant.

Comments

TRENDING

Political consensus? Celebrations, with over 5,000 plus post-vaccine deaths in India

By Rosamma Thomas*  As India fully vaccinated nearly 20% of its population and celebrated the “milestone” of administering one billion (100 crore) Covid-19 vaccine doses, it was time to remember those who died shortly after vaccination . By October 20, 2021 Twitter handle C400T, tracking deaths reported to have occurred after receiving the Covid-19 shot in India, updated the 5,134th death.

Is sacrilege charge against Punjab Dalits any different from Pak blasphemy cases?

Lakhbir Singh, his wife By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  There is no doubt that Sikhism actually was a revolt against the Brahmanical system and superstition. Guru Granth Saheb is perhaps the only Holy Book which contains matters from different religions as well as those of various Sufi saints, including Kabir, Ravidas, Baba Farid and others. The aim of Sikhism was to create an egalitarian society, and, definitely, Punjab that way is far better than many other States in India, where violence against Dalits is rampant.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Uttarakhand, Kerala disaster due to policies favouring India's developmental mafia

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Two of India’s most beautiful regions where thousands of people go to watch and feel the wonders of nature are suffering because of the extremely disastrous rains and floods. The pain that the rains brought to Kerala and Uttarakhand is a warning to all of us. It's nature’s warning to us to mend our ways.

Religious mobs replicate blasphemy laws, 'threatening' liberty in a free country

Nihangs, Lakhbir Singh By Ajit Singh*   A Dalit man, Lakhbir Singh, was mercilessly beaten up and lynched to death near farmers’ protest site in the State of Haryana allegedly by Nihang Sikhs. It was alleged that he committed blasphemy by desecrating the Holy Book Guru Granth Sahib.

How are Tripura Muslims responsible for attacks in Bangladesh?: 'Concerned' citizens

Counterview Desk  Calling it a “retaliation” of Bangladesh violence, several “concerned citizens”*, including Magsaysay award winning social activist and academic Sandeep Pandey and PV Rajagopal of the Sarvodaya Samaj, have said that the recent attacks on Muslim community in different areas of Tripura is a the reflection of “growing trend of using violence against another community.”

Shabana Azmi joins Pak physicist Hoodbhoy to condemn B'desh anti-minority violence

By Our Representative  Several well-known South Asian activists and public figures of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Maldives have expressed “deep distress” by the spate of violence and killings in Bangladesh on the occasion of Durga Puja and Vijayadashami. “Attacks on minorities are a sign of injustice and a matter of shame for any society and bring a bad name to the Government”, they said in a joint statement.