Tuesday October 17, 2017
Home Opinion The night dem...

The night democracy died: Account of Emergency through the eyes of a journalist

0
50

indiraBy Arul Louis

In the summer of 1975, the anger against corruption and high-handedness that rippled across the northern half of India had built into waves of fury against a prime minister whose legitimacy had been shattered by an Allahabad High Court verdict unseating her.

Riding the crest of a mass movement that began in Gujarat and rolled across the northern plains, Jayaprakash Narayan – JP as he was popularly known – brought the spirit of the rebellion to the citadels of power in Delhi on June 25.

At the Ramlila Maidan, a spot hallowed by the annual enactment of the drama of victory of good over evil, JP thundered his call for Indira Gandhi to leave the prime minister-ship that she was clinging to with a temporary stay of the court verdict banning her from parliament.

The reporters and senior editors of the United News of India (UNI) news agency wrapped up the story of the day and headed home, leaving the desk to me and to Tarun Basu, now the chief editor of Indo-Asian News Service – both of us sub-editors with barely three years’ experience.

Just after midnight, disjointed, but ominous, dispatches from across Haryana, Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh dribbled in. Police were stopping trucks out to deliver newspapers; power was going out at newspaper offices and plants. And some local opposition politicians were being rounded up.

A bureau chief from Chandigarh phoned in saying that police sources had told him that they had been asked to stop the printing and distribution of newspapers. A tip came from a Madhya Pradesh bureau, passing a rumor that “martial law” was coming.

We called the late G.G. Mirchandani, the fearless general manager and chief editor of UNI. He told us not to be intimidated and keep the dispatches flowing.

Sometime after 2 a.m. came the cryptic call, “JP giraftar ho gaye (JP has been arrested)”.

Our 10-letter bulletin went out:

F L A S H J P ARRESTED. UNI

Thus began the long night of the lathis and bullets; the 21 months of fascist terror, of censorship, of craven cowardice, of despair – and also of heroism, of faith in democracy, of unbending commitments, of idealism and hope.

I called Myron L. Belkind, the bureau chief of the Associated Press, and he got word out to the world before censorship struck.

We quickly wrote up a story while getting more calls of arrests before sprinting off from UNI’s office on Rafi Marg to the Parliament Street Police Station a few hundred yards away.

Outside the colonnaded building, the cops said nothing was happening and we should go. They hadn’t yet grasped the powers bestowed on them. Suddenly there was a bustle, and we saw the frail figure of JP being brought to one of the waiting cars. I asked him what was happening.

His bespectacled eyes, sad but not despairing, looked at us, his hands made slight wave of resignation, and he said feebly: “Vinaashakaale Viparita Buddhi.”

Krishna Kant, a Congress party dissident and supporter of JP’s movement who was under arrest alongside him, repeated louder for us the Sanskrit proverb which can be translated as, “Madness takes hold at the moment of disaster.”

JP was put in one of the tourist taxis and driven away.

We headed back to the UNI offices and filed a story with his quote that became a motif of the opposition to the Emergency.

The phones began ringing with news of more arrests – Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Jyotirmoy Basu and many others.

But two names were missing from the arrested list: George Fernandes and Subramanian Swamy. Both had staged strategic disappearances to lead the resistance.

Answering our SOS, editors and reporters poured into the office in the middle of the night, to report on a tragic history in the making.

The office had been spared electricity and communications cuts as it shared the grid with many government offices and Parliament. In the cacophonous teleprinter room, the machines spewed copy on arrests and interdictions from the bureaus across the country, and some went silent when power was turned off or communications lines cut.

At around 7 a.m., Indira Gandhi came on the air to proclaim her Emergency and the rules of dictatorship.

Two government censors, drafted from the government’s Press Information Bureau marched in with rubber stamps, one for stories censored and approved for publication and the other for stories banned.

Mirchandani defiantly kept the reports flowing, till the censors, after hasty phone consultations with their higher-ups, delivered an ultimatum: Submit to censorship or the agency will be forthwith shut down permanently.

Mirchandani deferred, but with an order to the staff to continue to cover the news professionally and never to self-censor anticipating censorship. That was the censors’ job, not the reporters’, he said.

Therefore, many of the censored reports secretly made their way to underground bulletins.

Soon, assorted spineless politicians, businessmen, trade unionists and self-styled civic activists lined up with press releases swearing fealty to the dictator and denouncing the people’s movement.

And in the media, as in all other sectors, many lived up to BJP leader L. K. Advani’s description of their cravenness: “Some who were asked to bend, chose to crawl.”

That was a time when fascism tried to rule India. Let no one, least of all the Congress party, now talk of fascism. Except for the BJP, the Marxists, the assorted socialists now scattered in different parties, the DMK and the courageous independents, the others lost their moral ground that day 40 years ago.

The long night of the Emergency was undone 19 months later only by the hubris of the Gandhi family that believed their censored untruth.

“Vinaashakaale Viparita Buddhi” is its fitting epitaph.

(IANS)

Next Story

5 Mobile Apps to Help you with the Arrangements for the Upcoming Festive Season!

Is the upcoming festive season giving your jitters? Are you worried about organizing the best party? We have you covered!

0
53
mobile apps
Are you ready for the upcoming festive season? Pixabay

New Delhi, October 4, 2017: In the digital era, one can pick and choose from a variety of mobile apps to connect and bond over with friends and family, and enjoy the festive season.

Mobile apps are a great way to not only engage users, but their easy-to-use interface makes it easier for individuals to organize and manage all work. This demand further rises multifold during festivals when a lot has to be done in very little time.

mobile apps
Mobile apps allow you to avail every possible service at your doorstep using your smartphone. Pixabay

Is the upcoming festive season giving your jitters? Are you worried about organizing the best party? We have you covered!

The following five mobile apps perfectly fit the bill for mobile apps for festivals and help you organize the most memorable festivities!

 1. View and Revise Mythology

Various especially designed mobile apps for festivals are offering advanced viewing of animated mythological epics that will not only keep you engaged but also help you revise and brush up your information and knowledge.

Apps like HOTSTAR are offering Ramayana movie for its viewers. Kids can watch animated stories around Ramayana and Panchatantra, among other texts and learn moral lessons on virtues that will help them throughout life.

mobile apps
Watch all your favorite TV series on mythology on Hotstar. Youtube

 2. Learn More About Diwali and Upcoming Festivals

A vast number of people celebrate all major festivals; however they do not know the deeper meanings and significance behind these festivities. Are you wishing to learn more about the upcoming festivals, too?

ALSO READ Get Your Home Festive Ready for Dussehra and Diwali!

There are some mobile apps for festivals like YuppTV that offer elaborate catalogs on festivals like Diwali, centered around information on the significance and practices of the festivals and also interesting stories and legends. Individuals can avail these apps to learn more about these festivals on the go!

 3. Do Not Compromise on Security

Single girl in the city, or not visiting your family for the upcoming festival season?  That shouldn’t stop you from going out and celebrating with fervor.

mobile apps
Do not compromise on security this festive season! Pixabay

However, festivals might mean travelling across the city and staying out till late. Your security must not be compromised.

For these security reasons, download apps like SOS, which send an alert to family members in case of an emergency.

 4. Get All Odd Jobs Done

Looking for an electrician to put up Diwali lights? Or do you need a beautician to deck you up for your glamorous best? Or did the air conditioner stop functioning at the last moment right before your guests arrive?

mobile apps
Do not have time to visit the parlor in the festive rush? Bring the parlor home by ordering these service online. Pixabay

For all your last moment and also all pre-planned tasks, you can avail services of apps like UrbanClap, LocalOye, HelpForSure etc for all your nitty-gritty and major developments.

 

 5. Order Food For Everybody

Did more people turn up for your Diwali cards party than expected? Or did uninvited guests drop by? Or are you too tired to cook after all the festive cleaning?

While welcoming people home is not troublesome, problem lies in cooking for a large number of people, especially during times of festivals.

To take care of those moments, you can make use of food delivery apps like Food Panda, or Zomato Online. These apps come with a wide variety of menus, and delivery and packaging choices. Get it delivered during the early hours of the day, or during late night hours.

mobile apps
Online food deliveries are a savior! Pixabay

Today, it will not be wrong to say that there exists a mobile app for almost everything. However, our list will sort all your confusions regarding mobile apps for festivals and their preparations. Have a great festive season ahead!

Next Story

Drought and Economic collapse might lead to Famine: Fleeing is the Only Option for People in South Sudan

The civil war that erupted two years ago has reduced the production of oil by about a third in the country

0
267
Already starving Image Source:Henry Wilkins/Al Jazeera
  • A region of South Sudan has recently entered “phase 4”, an “emergency” on the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) scale
  • The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan currently has a shortfall of $106m in its food distribution budget
  • 38,000 have left the region surrounding Kanjak to Sudan where prospects for families to feed themselves are said to be better

Kanjak, South Sudan- With thousands of people killed and almost two million displaced in a civil conflict that erupted in late 2013, South Sudan has disintegrated into chaos. Apart from violence that continues to strike this country, to make things worse, recent analysis of the situation says that the parts of the country are just weeks away from a famine.

Northern Bahr el Ghazal, a region of South Sudan close to the border with its neighbor Sudan is usually self-sufficient in food, but because of drought in parts of the country, and an economic collapse , it is unable to provide for itself this year, 2016.

According to the Aljazeera report, South Sudan has recently entered “phase 4”, an “emergency” on the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) scale. What it means is that even with any humanitarian assistance at least one in five households in the area have large food consumption gaps resulting in very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality or extreme loss of livelihood assets that will lead to food consumption gaps in the short term.

Follow NewsGram on facebook: NewsGram

Image Source :Henry Wilkins/Al Jazeera

South Sudan depends largely on imports. The sharp increases in the prices of staple foods were due to the depreciation of the South Sudanese pound. The families are reliant on buying food from the market where prices have risen sharply, while their livelihoods have rapidly declined.

The economy of South Sudan is largely dependent on oil exports as it has sub-Saharan Africa’s third-biggest reserves. The civil war that erupted two years ago has reduced the production of oil by about a third in the country. It has also been  badly affected by plummeting oil prices internationally.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) in South Sudan currently has a shortfall of $106m in its food distribution budget. With no help underway, fleeing seems to be the only option.

38,000 have left the region surrounding Kanjak – known as Aweil East to Sudan, where prospects for families to feed themselves are said to be better. According to the WFP, since February about 7.6 percent of the population has left.

Follow NewsGram on twitter: @newsgram1

In the past the UN has provided residents with sheets of corrugated steel, used as an alternative to the traditional thatched roofing.

Now, many of the houses lie empty with gaping holes where the roof once was.

“When people decide to leave the village, they roll up the sheets and sell them for a few pounds. Some houses even have mounds of sand piled outside, the graves of their former inhabitants. Malnutrition is the primary cause of death,” explains Chout to Al Jazeera.

-prepared by Ajay Krishna, an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @ajkrish14

ALSO READ:

 

Next Story

Ten Bizarre Mental Disorders that will make you bite your nails

Mental health conditions are just as real as the physical ones and people with several mental disorders are at special risk

2
361
Scared. Image source: Huffingtonpost.com

Study of human brain is no piece of cake but it is definitely a field to explore. Mind is like book which contains things many of us don’t even know. One small problem in brain can lead to many problems and even to a disorder. It’s a wonder to study about brain and its effect on the body .

10 bizarre and interesting medical conditions that will leave you surprised and amused-

(i)                                             Alien Hand Syndrome

Image Source: realclear.com Patients who alien hand syndrome usually find their hand reach, grab and hold onto something without the knowledge of the person. This action occurs due to activation parts in brain that control voluntary movement.  For example, 35 year old man who suffered from always grabbed the hand/arm of person next him.

(ii)                                                    Autophagia

Image Source: flickr.com
Image Source: flickr.com

Autophagia is a impulse control disorder in which a person is compelled inflicts pain on themselves by biting, chewing, scratching, cutting or even devouring any part of the body. The person who have autophagia become possessed and does not control over it; they can’t even resist as it is associated with the psychosis.

 

(iii)                                                     Synesthesia

Image Source: synesthesiaworld.com
Image Source: synesthesiaworld.com

Synesthesia is considered to one of the rare neurological condition  in which a patients senses get entwined. This cause a person to associate number and letter, days and month,emotion and senses with colours and taste. For example if a patient listens to word cinema he/she will get a taste in their tongue. Like if some said car then the patient could taste lemon tea.

(iv)                                                  Apotemnophilia

Image Source: markryan mayo.wordpress.com
Image courtesy: markryan
mayo.wordpress.com

Apotemnophilia is associated with the Body intergrity Disorder. In this type of disorder usually rational person express every strong and specific desire for amputation of the limb or limbs. Some even seek s surgeons to perform an amputation or purposefully injure a limb in order to force emergency medical amputation.

(v)                                        Walking Corpse Syndrome

Image Source: news.com.au
Image Source: news.com.au

WCS (Walking Corpse Syndrome) is another rare condition in which a person affected think that a part of the body or they themselves does not exists. Walking corps Syndrome is also known as Cotard Delusion. Mostly in these type of cases about 55% of the diagnosed patients in a 100 feel that they were immortal.

 

(vi)                                                   Coprolalia

Image Source: muyintersante.es
Image Source: muyintersante.es

Coprolalia is not that serious condition when compared to others on this list. People who from coprolalia tend to do involuntary swearing or the involuntary utterance of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks. It is a neurological disorder which makes say these offensive and derogatory words which are not necessarily their thoughts and opinions.

 

(vii)                                            Stendhal Syndrome

Image Source: drodd.com
Image Source: drodd.com

Stendhal syndrome is a type of psychosomatic disorder. People who suffer from this tend to have rapid heartbeat, fainting, dizziness, and hallucination when they exposed to a over whelming personal significance. It is also known as the Florence syndrome and is used to describe a same reaction when exposed to immense beauty in natural world.

(viii)                                          Clinical Lycanthropy

Image source: think-aboutit.com
Image source: think-aboutit.com

It is a rare psychiatric syndrome where a person affected has delution that they can transform into or has transformed into or is animal. The name of this syndrome is associated with mythical condition of lycanthropy, in which it is said that human can physically change into wolves.

 

(ix)                                            Stockholm syndrome

Image Source: in.bookmyshow.com
Image Source: in.bookmyshow.com

Stockholm Syndrome is type of psychological phenomenon where the hostage shows empaths , affection and positive feelings towards the kidnapper sometimes to the point where they to defend the kidnapper. It also be seen as bonding where it does require hostage situation but which describes strong emotional ties that develop between two persons where one person intermittently harasses, beats, threatens, abuses, or intimidates the other. In Highway Bollywood movie Alia bhat suffers from Stockholm syndrome.

 

(x)                                              Alice in wonderland

Image source : brainblogger.com
Image source : brainblogger.com

It is a neurological condition in which a patient feel severe migraine headache, causing them see and perceive objects as greatly out of proportion. Patients also suffer from altered sense of touch and time. This happens because of abnormal amounts of electrical activity causing abnormal blood flow in the parts of the brain that process visual perception and texture. This syndrome is named after the classic novel by Lewis Carroll.

-by Bhaskar Raghavendran

Bhaskar is a graduate in Journalism and mass communication and a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter handle: bhaskar_ragha

ALSO READ: