Political unrestOpponents had long made allegations that Indira's party, Congress, had practiced electoral fraud to win the 1971 elections. The Gandhian socialist Jayaprakash Narayan had been agitating in Bihar for a change in provincial government, and increasingly sought to direct popular action against the Central Governmentsatyagrahas. through
Narayan and his supporters sought to unify students, peasants, and labour organisations in a 'Total Revolution' to nonviolently transform Indian society. Indira's party was defeated in Gujarat by a coalition of parties calling itself the Janata Party (People's Party), and even faced an all-party, no-confidence motion in Parliament.
 The Allahabad conviction
- See also State of Uttar Pradesh v. Raj Narain
 Declaration of EmergencyThe Government cited threats to national security, as a war with Pakistan had recently been concluded. Due to the war and additional challenges of drought and the 1973 oil crisis, the economy was in bad shape. The Government claimed that the strikes and protests had paralyzed the government and hurt the economy of the country greatly. In the face of massive political opposition, desertion and disorder across the country and the party, Indira stuck to the advice of a few close party loyalists and her younger son Sanjay Gandhi, who had become a close political advisor.Siddhartha Shankar Ray, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, proposed to Ms. Gandhi the imposition of "internal emergency". He drafted a letter for the President to issue the proclamation on the basis of information Ms. Gandhi had received that "there is an imminent danger to the security of India being threatened by internal disturbances". He showed how democratic freedom could be suspended while remaining within the ambit of the Constitution.
President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed a 'rubber-stamp' appointee who she had got elected earlier on, declared a State of Emergency upon her advice, as the Prime Minister, on 26 June 1975. In her own words, Ms. Gandhi brought democracy "to a grinding halt".
As the constitution requires, Ms. Gandhi advised and President Ahmed approved the continuation of Emergency over every six-month period until her decision to hold elections in 1977.
 The Emergency AdministrationIndira Gandhi devised a '20-point' economic program to increase agricultural and industrial production, improve public services and fight poverty and illiteracy, through "the discipline of the graveyard". It was famously said that during the Emergency, trains would run on time, employees would be regular in attending offices and work could actually be got done in government offices.
 ArrestsInvoking article 352 of the Indian Constitution, Indira granted herself extraordinary powers and launched a massive crackdown on civil liberties and political opposition. The Government used police forces across the country to place thousands of protestors and strike leaders under preventive detention. J.P. Narayan, Raj Narain, Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Jivatram Kripalani, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Satyendra Narayan Sinha and other protest leaders were immediately arrested. Organizations like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Jamaat-e-Islami along with some political parties were banned. Numerous Communist leaders were arrested along with many others involved with their party. At least nine high courts pronounced that even after the declaration of an emergency a person could challenge his detention. The Supreme Court over-ruled all of them upholding the state's plea for power to detain a person without the necessity of informing him of the reasons/grounds of his arrest or, to suspend his personal liberties or, to deprive him of his right to life, in an absolute manner (the 'habeas corpus case'). Many political workers who were not arrested in the first wave, went ‘underground’ continuing organising protests. Dr Subramanian Swamy of the JanSangh - a staunch opposition party, escaped arrest and fled to the USA.
 Laws, Human Rights and ElectionsElections for the Parliament and state governments were postponed. Indira Gandhi and her parliamentary majorities could rewrite the nation's laws, since her Congress party had the required mandate to do so - a two-thirds majority in the Parliament. And when she felt the existing laws were 'too slow', she got the President to issue 'Ordinances' - a law making power in times of urgency, invoked sparingly - completely bypassing the Parliament, allowing her to rule by decree. Also, she had little trouble amending the Constitution that exonerated her from any culpability in her election-fraud case, imposing President's Rule in Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, where anti-Indira parties ruled (state legislatures were thereby dissolved and suspended indefinitely, much against the federal spirit of the Constitution), and jailing thousands of opponents. The 42nd Amendment, which brought about extensive changes to the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India, is one of the lasting legacies of the Emergency. In the conclusion of his Making of India's Constitution, Justice Khanna writes:
If the Indian constitution is our heritage bequeathed to us by our founding fathers, no less are we, the people of India, the trustees and custodians of the values which pulsate within its provisions! A constitution is not a parchment of paper, it is a way of life and has to be lived up to. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty and in the final analysis, its only keepers are the people. Imbecility of men, history teaches us, always invites the impudence of power."A fallout of the Emergency-era was, that the Supreme Court laid down that, although the Constitution is amenable to amendments (as abused by Indira Gandhi), changes that tinker with its basic structure cannot be made by the Parliament.
 Family planningSanjay Gandhi was especially concerned with issues of overpopulation. He initiated a birth control program, chiefly employing sterilization, primarily vasectomies. Quotas were set up that enthusiastic supporters worked hard to achieve. Critics arouse anger by charging it involved coercion of unwilling Indians. In 1976-1977, the program counted 8.3 million sterilizations, up from 2.7 million the previous year. The bad name forced changes in the name of the program and every government since 1977 has stressed family planning is entirely voluntary.
 Criticism against the GovernmentCriticism and accusations of the Emergency-era may be grouped as:
- Detention of people by police without charge or notification of families
- Abuse and torture of detainees and political prisoners
- Use of public and private media institutions, like the national television network Doordarshan, for government propaganda
- Forced sterilization.
- Destruction of the slum and low-income housing in the Turkmen Gate and Jama Masjid area of old Delhi.
- Large-scale and illegal enactment of laws (including modifications to the Constitution).
 Sikh oppositionWith the leaders of all opposition parties and other outspoken critics of her government arrested and behind bars, the entire country was in a state of shock. Shortly after the declaration of the Emergency, the Sikh leadership convened meetings in Amritsar where they resolved to oppose the "fascist tendency of the Congress". The first mass protest in the country, known as the "Campaign to Save Democracy" was organized by the Akali Dal and launched in Amritsar, 9 July. A statement to the press recalled the historic Sikh struggle for freedom under the Mughals, then under the British, and voiced concern that what had been fought for and achieved was being lost. The police were out in force for the demonstration and arrested the protestors, including the Shiromani Akali Dal and Shiromani Gurdwara Prabandhak Committee (SGPC) leaders.
The Prime Minister seemed genuinely surprised at the strength of the response from the Sikhs. Fearing their defiance might inspire civil disobedience in other parts of the county, she offered to negotiate a deal with the Shiromani Akal Dal that would give it joint control of the Punjab Legislative Assembly. The leader of the protests, Sant Harcharan Singh Longowal refused to meet with government representatives so long as the Emergency was in effect. In a press interview, he made clear the grounds of the Save Democracy campaign.
- "The question before us is not whether Indira Gandhi should continue to be prime minister or not. The point is whether democracy in this country is to survive or not. The democratic structure stands on three pillars, namely a strong opposition, independent judiciary and free press. Emergency has destroyed all these essentials."
According to Amnesty International, 140,000 people had been arrested without trial during the twenty months of Indira Gandhi's Emergency. Of them, 40,000 had come from India's two percent Sikh minority.
 The role of RSSRashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, which was seen close to opposition leaders, and with its large organizational base was seen potential of organizing protests against the Government, was also banned. Police clamped down on the organization and thousands of its workers were imprisoned.
The RSS defied the ban and thousands participated in Satyagraha (peaceful protests) against the ban and against the curtailment of fundamental rights. Later, when there was no letup, the volunteers of the RSS formed underground movements for the restoration of democracy. Literature that was censored in the media was clandestinely published and distributed on a large scale and funds were collected for the movement. Networks were established between leaders of different political parties in the jail and outside for the coordination of the movement.
'The Economist', London, described the movement as "the only non-left revolutionary force in the world". It said that the movement was "dominated by tens of thousands of RSS cadres, though more and more young recruits are coming". Talking about its objectives it said "its platform at the moment has only one plank: to bring democracy back to India".
 Elections of 1977See Also: Indian general election, 1977, Janata Party, Jayaprakash Narayan, Morarji Desai
On January 23, 1977, Indira Gandhi called fresh elections for March and released all political prisoners. The Emergency officially ended on March 23, 1977. The opposition Janata movement's campaign warned Indians that the elections might be their last chance to choose between “democracy and dictatorship.”
In the Lok Sabha elections, held in February, Indira and Sanjay both lost their Lok Sabha seats, as did most of their loyal followers. Many Congress Party loyalists deserted Indira. The Congress was reduced to just 153 seats, 92 of which were from four of the southern states. The Janata Party's 298 seats and its allies' 47 seats(of a total 542) gave it a massive majority. Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India.
The elections in the largest state Uttar Pradesh, historically a Congress stronghold, turned against Gandhi. Dhanagare says the structural reasons included the emergence of a strong and united opposition, disunity and weariness inside Congress, an effective underground opposition, and the ineffectiveness of Gandhi's control of the mass media, which had lost much credibility. The structural factors allowed voters to express their grievances, notably their resentment of the emergency and its authoritarian and repressive policies. One grievance often mentioned as the 'nasbandi' (vasectomy) campaign in rural areas. The middle classes also emphasized the curbing of freedom throughout the state and India. Meanwhile Congress hit an all-time low in West Bengal, according to the Gangulys, because of the poor discipline and factionalism among Congress activists as well as the numerous defections that weakened the party. Opponents emphasized the issues of corruption in Congress and appealed to a deep desire by the voters for fresh leadership.
 The tribunalThe efforts of the Janata administration to try government officials and Congress politicians for Emergency-era abuses and crimes were largely unsuccessful due to a disorganized, over-complex and politically motivated process of litigation. Although special tribunals were organized and scores of senior Congress Party and government officials arrested and charged, including Indira and Sanjay Gandhi, police were unable to submit sufficient evidence for most cases, and only a few low-level officials were convicted of any abuses.
The people lost interest in the hearings owing to their continuous fumbling and complex nature, and the economic and social needs of the country grew more important to them. An impression was created that corruption and political subversion stalled the process of justice.
 The debate over its legacyIndira's Emergency rule lasted 21 months, and its legacy remains intensely controversial. On 26 June 1975, a the day after emergency was imposed, the Bombay edition of The Times of India in its obituary column carried an entry that read "D.E.M O'Cracy beloved husband of T.Ruth, father of L.I.Bertie, brother of Faith, Hope and Justica expired on 26 June".
 Support for Indira's decisionsThe Emergency was endorsed by Vinoba Bhave (who called it Anushasan parva or Time for discipline) and Mother Teresa. Pioneer industrialist J. R. D. Tata, writer Khushwant Singh and Indira's close friend & Orissa CM Nandini Satpathy were among the other prominent supporters, though Tata regretted later that he spoke in favor of emergency as cited in his biography Beyond the Last Blue Mountain by RM Lala. Even Nandini Satpathy too had regreted for having supported emergency as cited in her biography ' Nandini Satpathy' (in Oriya) by Ashisa Ranjan Mohapatra. Some have argued that India badly needed economic recovery after the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war had strained the exchequer. Others have argued that Indira's 20-point economic program increased agricultural production, manufacturing activity, exports and foreign reserves. Communal Hindu-Muslim riots, which had re-surfaced in the 1960s and 1970s, reduced in intensity, leading to increased productivity.
 Notable incidents
 Rajan CaseP. Rajan, a student of the erstwhile Regional Engineering College, Calicut, was arrested by the police in Kerala on March 1, 1976, tortured in custody until he died and then his body was disposed. The facts of this incident came out owing to a habeas corpus suit filed in the High Court of Kerala.
 In popular culture
- The book A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry takes place during the Emergency and highlights some of the abuses that occurred during that period.
- The book Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie has the protagonist Saleem Sinai in India during the Emergency. His home in a low income area called the "magician's ghetto" is destroyed as part of the national beautification program. He is forcibly sterilised as part of the vasectomy program. The principal antagonist of the book is the Widow (a likeness that Indira Gandhi sued Rushdie for).
- The Plunge An English novel by Sanjeev Tare is their own story told by four youths studying at Kalidas College in Nagpur. They tell the reader what they went through during those politically turbulent times.
- The Malayalam novel Delhi Gadhakal (Tales from Delhi) by M. Mukundan highlights many abuses that occurred during the Emergency including forced sterilization of men and the destruction of houses and shops owned by Muslims in Turkmen Gate.
- Brutus,You!, a book by Chanakya Sen is based on internal politics of Jawaharlal Nehru university,Delhi during the period of Emergency.
- Amrit Nahata's film Kissaa Kursee Kaa a bold spoof on the Emergency, where Shabana Azmi plays 'Janata' (the public) a mute, dumb protagonist, was subsequently banned and reportedly, all its prints were burned.
- Although Satyajit Ray's 1980 film Hirak Rajar Deshe was a children's comedy, it was a satire on the Emergency.
- The 1985 Malayalam film Yathra directed by Balu Mahendra has the human rights violations by the police during the Emergency as its main plotline.
- 1988 Malayalam film Piravi is about a father searching for his son Rajan, who had been arrested by the police (and allegedly killed in custody). He was accused of being a Naxalite during the Emergency.
- The 2005 Hindi film Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi is set against the backdrop of the Indian Emergency. The film, directed by Sudhir Mishra, also tries to portray the growth of the Naxalite movement during the Emergency era. The movie tells the story of three youngsters in the 70s, when India was undergoing massive social and political changes.
- The Marathi movie Shala released on January 2012.
- 25 June 1975: Emergency is declared, censorship is imposed and opposition leaders are arrested.
- 5 August 1975: The Maintenance of Internal Security Act bill is approved by the parliament.
- 26 September 1975: The Thirty-ninth Amendment, placing election of Prime Minister beyond the scrutiny of judiciary, is approved .
- 9 January 1976: The government suspends seven freedoms guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution of India.
- 4 February 1976: The Lok Sabha's life is extended by one year.
- 2 November 1976: The Lok Sabha passes the Forty-second Amendment, making India a socialist secular republic and laying down the fundamental duties of its citizens.
- 18 January 1977: The President dissolves the Lok Sabha.
- 21 March 1977: The emergency promulgated on 25 June 1975 is withdrawn.
- 22 March 1977: The Janata Party gains absolute majority.
|This article includes a list of references, but its sources remain unclear because it has insufficient inline citations. (March 2009)|
- Gupta, Shekhar (Nov 12 2011). "No noose is good noose". The Indian Express. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/no-noose-is-good-noose/874648/0. Retrieved 5 September 2012.
- Prasad, Kamala (2006). Indian Administration: Politics, Policies, and Prospects. New Delhi: Dorling Kindersley (India). pp. 89. ISBN 81-7758-929-6. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=MeCHm9pLXWQC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
- INDIA: Symbol in Chains - TIME, 18 Oct 1976
- "India in 1975: Democracy in Eclipse", ND Palmer - Asian Survey, vol 16 no 5. Opening lines.
- Yes, Prime Minister, KULDIP NAYAR, June 25, 2000
- Arun Jaitely -  A tale of three Emergencies: real reason always different (The Indian Express, Mon Nov 05 2007)
- Pratap Bhanu Mehta, "The Rise of Judicial Sovereignty," Journal of Democracy (2007) 18#2 pp. 70-83
- the habeas corpus judgment was overturned by the 44th amendment to the Constitution
- NCERT Text Book For Political Science on Emergency (p.112)
- H. R. Khanna. Making of India's Constitution. Eastern Book Co, Lucknow, 1981. ISBN 978-81-7012-108-4. http://www.ebcwebstore.com/product_info.php?products_id=100108&id=4&set=1?SSL.
- V. Venkatesan, Revisiting a verdict Frontline (vol. 29 - Issue 01 :: Jan. 14-27, 2012)
- Gwatkin, Davidson R. 'Political Will and Family Planning: The Implications of India’s Emergency Experience', in: Population and Development Review, 5/1, 29-59;
- Carl Haub and O. P. Sharma, "India's Population Reality: Reconciling Change and Tradition," Population Bulletin (2006) 61#3 pp 3+. online
- J.S. Grewal, The Sikhs of the Punjab,(Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990) 213
- Gurmit Singh, A History of Sikh Struggles, New Delhi, Atlantic Publishers and Distributors, 1991, 2:39
- Ram Narayan Kumar, Georg Sieberer, The Sikh Struggle: Origin, Evolution and Present Phase, Delhi, Chanakya Publishers, 1991, 250
- J.S. Grewal, The Sikhs of the Punjab,(Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1990) 214; Inder Malhotra, Indira Gandhi: A Personal and Political Biography,(London/Toronto, Hodder and Stoughton, 1989) 178
- Jaffrelot Christophe, Hindu Nationalism, 1987, 297, Princeton University Press, ISBN 0-691-13098-1, ISBN 978-0-691-13098-9
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- Post Independence India, Encyclopedia of Political Parties,2002, Published by Anmol Publications PVT. LTD, ISBN 81-7488-865-9, ISBN 978-81-7488-865-5
- 'The Economist' London, dt.4-12-1976
- D.N. Dhanagare, "Sixth Lok Sabha Election in Uttar Pradesh - 1977: The End of the Congress Hegemony," Political Science Review (1979) 18#1 pp 28-51
- Mira Ganguly and Bangendu Ganguly, "Lok Sabha Election, 1977: The West Bengal Scene," Political Science Review (1979) 18#3 pp 28-53
- Austin, Granville (1999). Working a democratic constitution: the Indian experience. Oxford University Press. pp. 295. ISBN 0-19-564888-9. http://books.google.co.in/books?id=r42bAAAAMAAJ&q=.
- PUCL Archives, Oct 1981, Rajan.
- Rediff.com, Report dated June 26, 2000.
- The Hindu Jan 25, 2011.
- Mathur, O.P. (2004). Indira Gandhi and the emergency as viewed in the Indian novel. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 978-81-7625-461-8.
- Farzand Ahmed, 1978 - Kissa Kursi Ka: Celluloid chutzpah Cover Story - India Today (December 24, 2009)
- Gulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. New Delhi, Mumbai: Encyclopaedia Britannica (India), Popular Prakashan. p. 425. ISBN 81-7991-066-0. http://books.google.co.in/books/about/Encyclopaedia_of_Hindi_Cinema.html?id=8y8vN9A14nkC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false.
 Further reading
- Gupta, Kanchan. Democracy is alien to dynasties (2012). Column in DailyPioneer.com
- Dhar, P. N. Indira Gandhi, the "Emergency," and Indian Democracy (2000), 424pp, critical memoir by Gandhi's top aide
- Guha, Ramachandra. India After Gandhi: The History of the World's Largest Democracy (2008) pp 491-518
- Klieman, Aaron S. Klieman. "Indira's India: Democracy and Crisis Government', Political Science Quarterly (1981) 96#2 pp. 241-259 in JSTOR
- Malhotra, Inder. Indira Gandhi: A Personal and Political Biography (London/Toronto, Hodder and Stoughton, 1989) 165-97; Northeastern Univ Pr (1991) ISBN 1-55553-095-8
- Roy, Ramashray; Sheth, D. L. "The 1977 Lok Sabha Election Outcome: The Salience of Changing Voter Alignments Since 1969," Political Science Review (1978), Vol. 17 Issue 3/4, pp 51-63
 Primary sources
- The Judgement by Kuldip Nayar
- "Memories of a Father," a book by Eachara Varier, father of a student killed in police custody during the emergency
- India Country Study
- Economic policy and political insights into the Emergency
- A. Z. Huq Democratic Norms, Human Rights and States of Emergency: Lessons from the Experience of Four Countries