Emergency Retold- Kuldip Nayar

Title- Emergency Retold

Author- Kuldip Nayar

Published- 2013

Pages- 320

Genre- Non-Fiction

The book is an account, a live third person account of the Emergency. Kuldip Nayar was a journalist, who was imprisoned during the Emergency and had to undergo the injustice inflicted upon the masses.

We all know that the Emergency was one of the darkest phases India had to go through post-independence. The sufferings of the people at large, the motives and selfishness of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the multiple reasons that were given to justify the action etc are fascinating to think about and to read.

The narrative is apt and the facts presented are amazing. The book has been written with a lot of background research and interviews with stakeholders and the affected parties. It critically examines the effect and the impact of Emergency in shaping up of the political destiny of the country. It does not mince words when describing the tyranny of Sanjay Gandhi during the phase or of the inability of Indira Gandhi to accept the truth of Sanjay.

I have read a similar book authored by Shri.P.N.Dhar, who was Indira Gandhi’s secretary during Emergency. The review of that book can be read here. I had the feeling that Dhar was sympathetical and too soft towards the Gandhis and was in denial to see what really happened during the Emergency. This book by Kuldip Nayar does not do that mistake and gives us a neutral and blunt view of what is what.

Another book that I would love to read on this subject is the one written by Coomi Kapoor. She was also a journalist back then and had lived through Emergency. It must be an interesting read.

Despite a few editing errors here and there, the book is good. Readers craving masala, stay away, for this one is dry and boring if you are expecting drama.


Mummy Returns! Or does she?

Yesterday ( February 5th, 2017) will go down in the annals of Tamilnadu’s Political history. A lady with absolutely no experience of even competing in any election was unanimously handed over the reins of ruling a state.

It has been decided in the Ruling Party’s MLA meeting that she would be the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, whose incumbent passed away in December last year. While this has sent waves of disgust and indignance through the state, it was not sudden. Nor was it something that was accomplished through stealth mode.

Sasikala Natarajan, now popularly known as “Chinnamma”, was Jayalalithaa’s close aide for over thirty years. She used to run a CD shop when she got an introduction with Selvi Jayalalithaa years ago. Since then there has been no turning back for her, till may be recently. She and her family members, who were popularly known as the “Mannargudi Mafia”, were expelled from the Poes Garden residence of Jayalalithaa since it was said that the latter was not happy with the former’s actions.


Later on, though it is said that they reconciled and then all was back to square one, it was evident to the public that the CM was keeping a safe distance from her friend, at least to the public’s view. It is safe to say that Sasikala has always been in the shadow of Jayalalithaa.

Let the bygones be bygones. Now that the expected thing is underway, let us pray that Tamilnadu does not slide down in the path of tyranny and chaos. For a group known for its illegal land amassing techniques and other activities, it is expected that the law and order is about to go on a downward spiral. Also, a caste based dominance is anticipated in the southern territories of the state.

Also, she has about a dozen of corruption cases against her, pending in various courts of law,  which could potentially hamper her scamper to the top post or rather make her life a living hell. This could be a kill joy for her ambitions.

The public opinion seems strongly against her, with the meme creators working on 24 hour shift since the announcement was made officially. Within minutes #RIPTN and #TNSaysNoToSasikala began trending on Twitter. There could even be a mass uprising by the people, just like the Jallikkattu issue, but honestly speaking that would set a wrong precedent. The only thing what the people of Tamil Nadu can do right now is to have an excellent memory and not elect her whenever the election happens. But as they say, peoples memory is short and there is a high chance that she would be elected to the Assembly in the forthcoming elections.

This opportunity could be the best point for the opposition to snatch away the victory which eluded them in the previous elections by a meagre margin.  This could even be used by the erstwhile parties with a minor vote share to stomp their dominance and slowly work their way up.

She could be an able administrator, who could even be a worthy replacement for some pretty large shoes out there.  All of this is remaining to be seen. But, as of now, her first test is to get herself elected to the legislative assembly of the state and be legally eligible to be the Chief Minister.