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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Just a few days before the 40th anniversary of the 1975 Emergency, BJP’s senior leader, Lal Krishna Advani talked about what is often termed as one of the darkest period of Indian political history, to a leading national daily. During the interview, he talked about what went wrong during the Emergency, how it could have been tackled, and also expressed his fears that it might happen again.

Newsgram brings to you excerpts from the interview, in which Advani explains his point of view.
On whether the Emergency can happen again
“At the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards are stronger. ”

On our immunity (or lack thereof) from political unrest
“I don’t think anything has been done that gives me the assurance that civil liberties will not be suspended or destroyed again. Of course no one can do it easily, but that it cannot happen again-I will not say that.”

On the role and position of the media
“The media is more independent today, but does it have a real commitment to democracy and civil liberties- I don’t know. It’s something that should be put to test.”

On popular culture and the Emergency
“I find it surprising that filmmakers haven’t been provoked by the Emergency. Someone could take the rudiments of history and make up the rest- even that has not been done. It is almost as if the Emergency has not been touched by popular culture.”

On the lack of responsibility during the Emergency
“There are many accounts of the Emergency, but I have not seen anyone responsible for the guilt admit to it.”

“During the emergency, no one stood up. Some of us fought and went to jail, not one person in the parliament rejected. Everyone was so scared of Indira Ji. ”

On the present lack of commitment
“I do not see any sign in our polity that assures me. A commitment to democracy and to all other related aspects is lacking.”
“From what I can see, the number of people in this generation who are committed to democracy and civil liberties is going down. Even when I think of writing a history of the Jana Sangh, I cannot think of many others who can help me write a correct history.”

Advani’s personal apprehensions
“I do not say that the political leadership isn’t mature. But kamiyo ke karan, vishwas nahi hota.

On the evolution of media, civil society and other institutions
“Media’s commitment is something that should be put to test. In civil society, we have only seen the Anna Hazare mobilization for the Lokpal, which disappeared after raising hopes. The failure of that movement has highlighted that if an agitation tries to take the form of government, it won’t be successful.”


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