After 38 years, politicos debate Emergency in their own perspectives

 Two senior Congress leaders and members of Parliament — S M Krishna and A H Vishwanath, on Saturday, sought to explain the positive impact of Emergency, an act which was regretted by Indira Gandhi herself.

The leaders said imposition of Emergency in 1975 served as a blessing in disguise for implementing welfare programmes including land reforms in Karnataka.

Former external affairs minister Krishna was speaking after releasing “Apathsthihiya Alapagalu”, a book on Emergency penned by Vishwanath, in Bangalore. The 95 page book is in Kannada.

Krishna said one should never forget the situation, in which the country was. There were clear symptoms of anarchy at that time. Emergency brought discipline in the country. Law and order was strictly enforced. Even trains and buses arrived on time.

In Karnataka, emergency acted as a shield to implement the land reform programmes effectively and lakhs of bonded labourers and other suppressed classes got ownership of land, he pointed out.

Krishna, however, said in some other states emergency was used as a hate tool by vested interest groups to throw out the Congress out of power.
“I agree there was a curb on certain rights of people. People also welcomed this and within few years the Congress government was back to power”, he added.

Vishwanath described land reforms as “silent revolution” in Karnataka and said the same couldn’t have happened without emergency and efforts of then chief minister D Devaraj Urs.

Law Minister Suresh Kumar countered their arguements. He pointed towards black shirt, which Krishna was wearing, and said Emergency meant cruel for him and many others, who were jailed for months during that time.

“The entire nation was a prison and there are no words with me to describe the way in which the police tortured us. Though I welcome land reforms, which came as a byproduct during Emergency, in no way I can defend the main product,” he added.

Vishwanath, while saying  politicians should write books, said there is a general opinion that politicians don’t read literature. A recent survey, revealed only 21 of the 800 parliamentarians have the habit of book writing and art interests, he pointed out.

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