India's First Dictatorship Christophe Jaffrelot and Pratinav Anil
By: Jaffrelot, Christophe [Author].
Contributor(s): Anil, Pratinav [Author].Material type: BookSeries: Oxford Scholarship Online.Publisher: Oxford University Press ISBN: 9780197577820.Subject(s): History | Indian History | India’s first dictatorship | World’s largest democracy | RSS | Emergency | Indira Gandhi | Sanjay Gandhi | Hindu Nationalism | Style of rule | Populism | CongressOnline resources: Click here to access online
Introduction -- Part I The Varieties of Authoritarianism what Kind of Regime was the Emergency? -- Part II Causes and Beyond: What Made the Emergency “Necessary” and Possible? -- Part III Resistance and Endgame
In June 1975 Prime Minister Indira Gandhi imposed a state of emergency, resulting in a twenty-one-month suspension of democracy. Jaffrelot and Anil revisit the Emergency to re-evaluate characterisations of India as the ‘world’s largest democracy.’ They explore India’s first experiment with authoritarianism, which resulted in a constitutional dictatorship with an unequal impact across states. The impact was felt more strongly in the capital, its neighbouring states and in the Hindi belt than in states ruled by the opposition—the North East and South India. This was largely due to the resilience of federalism and local socio-political factors in these regions. India’s First Dictatorship focuses on Mrs Gandhi and her son, Sanjay, who was largely responsible for the mass sterilization programs and deportation of urban slum-dwellers. However, it equally exposes the facilitation of authoritarian rule by Congressmen, Communists, trade unions, businessmen and the urban middle class, as well as the complacency of the judiciary and media. While opposition leaders eventually ended up in jail, many of them—especially in the RSS—tried to collaborate with the new regime. Those who resisted the Emergency, in the media or on the streets, were far and few between. The Emergency accentuated India’s political culture, which is reflected in the current zeitgeist, as the illiberal aspects of Indian democracy yet again resurface with the rise of Hindu nationalist authoritarian populism. This episode was neither a parenthesis nor a turning point, but a style of rule that is very much alive today.
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