Monday September 24, 2018
Home Uncategorized Indian democr...

Indian democracy facing greatest dangers since Independence: Author Nayantara Sahgal

0
//
92
Republish
Reprint

By Preetha Nair

New Delhi: Nayantara Sahgal, India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s niece, who is known for not holding back any punches, says India is facing the gravest danger to democracy under the current BJP dispensation.

Jawaharlal_Nehru“Our country is facing the destruction of the very idea of India as a great, multi-religious, multi-cultural civilization. We are facing the gravest danger we have faced since independence. Our freedom is not merely under threat, it is being ‘openly attacked’,” Sahgal, whose latest work, “Nehru’s India: Essays On The Maker Of A Nation”, has just been released, told IANS in an e-mail interview.

Sahgal, outspoken and erudite author, held that India under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule has moved backwards from reason and science to superstition and ignorance. “What else can one call the absurd and dangerous nonsense we now hear? Ganesh’s elephant nose was grafted by Vedic surgery; Hindu women must breed more Hindus and must have 10 children; the whole world will be Hindu in a few years.”

The Sahitya Akademi Award winner says India’s modern outlook that has been cultivated since independence is under attack by the dismissal of qualified historians, scientists, and filmmakers from premier institutions. “Obedient servants of the RSS have been put in crucial posts. Writers and artists are under attack. The media is heavily controlled. Nearly 75 percent of it is owned by one corporate house,” she rued.

Holding both the BJP and the opposition Congress responsible for the washout of the recently concluded monsoon session of parliament, Sahgal said it is time that rules were made that business can proceed in both houses. “The BJP made a washout of parliament sessions during the previous regime. The Congress has done it this time. Obviously parliament must make rules that will keep it in session so that business can proceed,” she said.

Parliament’s three-week-long monsoon session that concluded on August 13 was washed out over Congress demands for the resignations of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and two BJP chief ministers, Vasundhara Raje Scindia and Shivraj Singh Chauhan, on graft charges.

Sahgal was equally harsh on the Congress.

Indira Gandhi

Taking a swipe at the emergency clamped during prime minister Indira Gandhi’s rule, she said: “The Indian people justified Nehru’s faith in them when they defeated Indira at the next election. It is up to the Indian people to do likewise with Narendra Modi (at the next general election).”

In a similar vein, Sahgal attributed to Indira Gandhi, then the Congress president, the dismissal of Kerala’s first democratically elected communist government in 1959.

“The decision was Indira Gandhi’s, as Congress president. I do not justify it,” Sahgal said.

Sahgal also lamented the “systematic” move to “wipe Nehru out of history”, attributing this to the “psychopathic fear” of Hindutva forces.

“Hindutva has been waiting in the wings since 1920 and can now, under its own government, promote its ideology. What you call Nehruvian ideology is in fact the fundamental beliefs on which modern India is based; it has led us to the modern nation we have become and to all the achievements which make us proud today,” she maintained.

(IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Arun Jaitely Says Indira Gandhi Was No Different Than Hitler

The BJP leader said the 42nd Amendment diluted the power of High Courts to issue writ petitions

0
Harsh Penal Proceedings For Illegal Swiss Bank Deposit Holders: Arun Jaitely
Harsh Penal Proceedings For Illegal Swiss Bank Deposit Holders: Arun Jaitely. flickr
Indira Gandhi Imposed Emergency. Flickr
Indira Gandhi Imposed Emergency. Flickr

Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday compared former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who imposed Emergency, to Hitler, stating that both used the Constitution “to transform democracy into dictatorship”. Jaitley, whose second blog of a three-part series coincided with the 43rd anniversary of imposition of the Emergency, also noted that unlike the German dictator, Gandhi went ahead to transform India into a “dynastic democracy”.

“Both Hitler and Gandhi never abrogated the Constitution. They used a republican Constitution to transform democracy into dictatorship,” he said. The BJP leader said Gandhi imposed Emergency under Article 352, suspended fundamental rights under Article 359 and claimed that disorder was planned by the opposition.

Jaitley said Hitler, who became the German Chancellor on January 30, 1933, got his President to invoke Article 48 of the country’s Constitution which gave emergency powers for the “protection of people in the State”. “The decree giving emergency powers put restrictions on personal liberty, free speech… The pretext for imposition of Emergency was that on February 27, 1933, German Parliament House, known as ‘Reichstag’, had been set on fire.

“Hitler claimed that it was a communist conspiracy to burn Government buildings and museums. Thirteen years later, in the Nuremberg trials, it was established that Reichstag fire was the handiwork of Nazis and Goebbels had conceived it.” He said Hitler arrested most opposition MPs.

“Indira Gandhi arrested most opposition MPs and, therefore, procured, through their absence, a two-third majority of members present and voting and enabling the passage of several obnoxious provisions through Constitution amendments,” Jaitley said.

The BJP leader said the 42nd Amendment diluted the power of High Courts to issue writ petitions, “a power which Dr. (B.R.) Ambedkar had said was the very heart and soul of India’s Constitution”. “They also amended Article 368 so that a Constitution amendment was beyond judicial review. There were a few things that Hitler did not do which Gandhi did.

 

“She prohibited the publication of Parliamentary proceeding in the media. The law which gave mandate to the media for publishing Parliamentary proceedings was popularly known as the Feroze Gandhi Bill,” he said. Since Hitler’s own election has been set aside, he had no change to make in this regard.

Also read: ‘1984 riots shut our doors to a better life’ (October 31 is the 32nd anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s assassination)

“Gandhi amended both the Constitution and the Representation of People Act. The Constitution amendment made the election of the Prime Minister non-justiciable before a court. “The Representation of People Act was retrospectively amended to insert those provisions so that the invalid election of Gandhi could be validated by changes in law.” He said amendments to the constitution made during Emergency were later reversed by the Janata Party government. (IANS)