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.
By SOHAIL HASHMI: Though the East and the West have great differences in issues cultural, in one matter they are like twin brothers. Both insist we should not speak ill of the dead. This does not apply to Changez Khan, Hitler and Mussolini. Some would add a few more to the list, but there are chances of violent disagreements on some of those names.
There have been honourable deviations from this haloed creed and if my memory serves me right, at least one of them has been attributed to The Bard, who made Mark Antony declare at the funeral of Caesar, “Friends Romans and Countrymen, we have gathered here to bury Caesar and not to praise him,” or words to that effect.
These were some of the confused musings that floated to the top of the mind when I heard the news of V.C. Shukla’s passing away. Does the fact that he is dead or the dastardly fashion in which death stalked him and ultimately consumed him, give him an escape from his deeds?
It is a commentary on our justice delivery system that V.C. Shukla, one of those who belonged to the coterie that ran the Emergency establishment for Mrs Gandhi, did not spend a long time behind bars for his acts of commission as Minister of Information and Broadcasting. Some of his achievements as Minister of Information included snapping power supply to newspapers critical of the Emergency, introducing Draconian censorship, banning magazines and newspapers, and sealing printing presses that dared to publish anything critical of the infamous Mrs G or her Emergency regime. Continue reading A memorable evening with Vidya Charan Shukla
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.
Guest post by INDU VASHIST
In recent years, we have seen a number of filmic representations of Delhi, (Love Aaj Kal, Delhi 6, Band Baaja Baraat, to name a few.) Amit Trivedi has even given Dilli a new anthem. All of these artist representations have been trying to capture or at least showcase the contemporary social, political and economic layers of India’s Powerpolis. Implicit within these depictions is that Delhi is actually Dilli, a place mired in contradictions and tensions, but still dil wali, a city with heart.
Vishwajyoti Ghosh’s graphic novel Delhi Calm (Harper Collins Press, 2010) recounts the 21-month period from 25 June 1975 – 21 March 1977 that is known in this country as the Emergency. This book shows another side of the city, one that does not talk about or acknowledge the atrocities committed in the name of the nation. In fact, Ghosh’s Delhi functions on the principle that silence or “self-censorship” is the key to survival in this city and by extension the mythical nation. Continue reading Think Freely, but Obey: Indu Vashist