Overview for In the Name of Democracy: JP Movement and the Emergency
The Emergency of 1975-77 was a dark chapter of Indiaâ€™s democracy. Leading up to it was the JP movement, named after its leader Jayaprakash Narayan, which paralysed much of northern India and directly challenged Prime Minister Indira Gandhi at the Centre. This book, unlike earlier studies, looks at these happenings sequentially, seeking to understand their character and the nature of the challenge they posed to our democracy. Tracking the events of the period, Bipan Chandra finds that instead of pressing for Mrs Gandhiâ€™s resignation, JP could have waited for the law to take its course or asked for immediate elections. Similarly, Indira Gandhi could have preponed elections on grounds of political instability and sought a popular mandate rather than impose Internal Emergency. Both sides seemed to have been prisoners to immediate circumstances and had the potential for leading to a totalitarian dictatorship though they did not. Yet, despite the authoritarianism inherent in the Emergency, particularly with the rise to power of Sanjay Gandhi and his Youth Congress brigade, Indira Gandhi ended it and called for elections. Likewise, the JP movement ran out of steam, though the danger of it turning fascist was real, given the fuzzy ideology of Total Revolution, confused leadership, and dependence on the RSS for its organization. Finely argued, incisive and original, this book is a valuable contribution to our understanding of those turbulent years. Further, by raising the matter of acceptable limits of popular protest in a democracy, it offers insights of great contemporary relevance.
Bipan Chandra (Author)
Bipan Chandra born and brought up in kangra, Himachal Pradesh, studied at Forman Christian College, Lahore, and Stanford University, U.S.A. He is at present Professor Emeritus at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and National research professor. He has been UGC National Lecturer, a Visiting professor at El Colegio de Mexico, member of the university Grants Commission and president of the Indian History Congress. His other Publications include The Rise and growth of economic nationalism in India, nationalism and Colonialism in Modern India, Modern India, Communalism in Modern India, Ideology and Politics in Modern India, essays on Contemporary India, Essays on Indian nationalism, Epic Struggle, essays on Colonialism and In the name of democracy: J P Movement and the Emergency. He has edited Indian left: critical Appraisals and Ranade's economic Writings and co-authored freedom Struggle, India's Struggle for Independence and Indian After Independence 1947-2000.