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Present day corruption linked to '75 Emergency: Kuldip Nayar
Sunday June 23, 2013 12:46 PM, IANS

Corruption scandals that have shamed India in recent years are linked to the Indira Gandhi-imposed 1975-77 Emergency regime when democratic institutions were crushed, says noted journalist Kuldip Nayar.

"The new generation must understand that today's non-governance or mis-governance is the fallout of what Gandhi did by destroying the established order, a natural corollary," Nayar says in a reprint of "Emergency Retold" (Konark).

In the preface to the 2013 edition, he said kickbacks alleged in the Bofors artillery purchases of the 1980s to the recent 2G spectrum scam "are only a tip of the iceberg. Many more scandals are going to come out in the open".

He says that in a democratic society the nation expects the state to assure that vital links of the government will not be subjected to strain. "But the situation is the opposite."

Nayar, who later became an MP and India's high commissioner to Britain, was one of the thousands of government critics, including opposition leaders and activists, who were jailed in the Emergency era when civil liberties were suspended.

In the preface, he referred to the anti-corruption movement launched by the late Jayaprakash Narayan when Gandhi was the prime minister, ultimately leading to the imposition of Emergency.

"The same problem has returned after 38 years," he says. "The entire debate before the country is on corruption. The government wants to do little to eliminate it. The public is determined to end corruption once and for all..."

According to him, people want more and more transparency "while the government sees to it that the avenues for public knowledge are lessened".

Nayar says even after Gandhi and the Congress were voted out in March 1977, ending the Emergency era, the national institutions suppressed during that period "never got back their original vigour or sanctity.

"The rulers coming after the Emergency concentrated more on undoing (what) Gandhi (did) than correcting her misdoings.

"Most of them, even state chief ministers, adopted her autocratic ways of governance. They found it easy and convenient to deal with the opposition.

"Since then, the hapless civil service and the battered police have begun to obey whoever comes to power, notwithstanding the service rules or the age-old traditions.

"Both have fitted themselves in a new mould where the requirement is obedience, not integrity which the rulers lack.

"The lower judiciary has still not got out of the Emergency hangover when magistrates signed blank warrants of arrest," said Nayar.

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