New book flays Indira Gandhi's decision to impose Emergency

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Indira Gandhi
New Delhi, May 31: Indira Gandhi's decision to impose Emergency has come in for sharp criticism in a book on Congress, which described it as "ugly", a "monumental mistake" and "nightmare" and attacked the "extra-constitutional authority" of Sanjay Gandhi and his "coterie".

It also accuses the late Prime Minister of "having emasculated the Congress party" and takes a dig at the "sycophancy" of Congress leaders that crossed all boundaries of decency.

Congress has, however, described the views expressed in this fifth volume of Congress history brought out by a group of editors, headed by senior party leader Pranab Mukherjee, as those of the individual writers and historians that cannot be taken as party views.

In the preface to the book, Mukherjee noted that Congress desired the volume to be edited and contributed by experts in order to generate an "objective and scholarly perspective for the period under review and "not necessarily have a party perspective".

The book, which was brought out to commemorate 125 years of the party, has in its various chapters contributed by independent authors, analysed the events from 1964 to 1984 in which Indira Gandhi dominated the political scene of the country.

"There is no question that emergency was a sordid chapter in independent India's history and a 19-month nightmare for all those who lived through it...it took an excruciatingly long time to flush out of the body politic the emergency had pumped into the system," columnist Inder Malhotra says in his article, Indira Gandhi an overview.

PTI

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