At the JNU rally in Delhi yesterday, I caught up with JNU alumni and historians, Rana Behal and Mukul Mangalik and asked them about their experiences as students at JNU in the 1970s (Behal) and 1980s (Mangalik) and what brought them to Mandi House on a damp, but pleasant, thursday afternoon.
Mrs Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, represented the Rai Bareli seat in the Lok Sabha. On 12th June 1975 she was unseated on charges of election fraud and misuse of state machinery in a landmark judgement by Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court. Fakhr-ud-Din Ali Ahmad, the then President of India, declared internal emergency on the 25th of June, on the recommendation of a pliable cabinet presided over by Mrs G. The people of India lost all civil liberties for a period of 21 months.
Trade unions were emasculated, political opponents were arrested, newspapers censored, the only place where a semblance of freedom survived, for a short while, were the universities, most were in turmoil and were being singled out for special attention. Students unions were being banned and activists were being picked up and thrown in jail.