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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.

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