Is the Emergency Relevant to Understanding Political Conditions Today? A Discussion on Gyan Prakash's Book

How did the Emergency shape India’s current political climate? Arvind Rajagopal’s 2019 article reviews Gyan Prakash’s book Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point, and argues that while the book is one of the more comprehensive accounts of the Emergency period, it should have drawn clearer links between the Emergency and the economic and political climate under the current National Democratic Alliance government. 

Gyan Prakash responds to Rajagopal’s review of his book, and contends that the neoliberal reforms of the 1990s and the rise of the Hindutva project were never supposed to be within the scope of his book. Rajagopal replies, writing that a resource that is laden with historical fact is significant only when it adds to current knowledge.

A few other works that are broadly related to this discussion:

  1. Remembering Emergency: Coercion and Surveillance as Bases of the State, Suhas Palshikar, 2017
  2. The Emergency and Popular Memory, Arvind Rajagopal, 2004
  3. Sangh's Role in the Emergency, Arvind Rajagopal, 2003


Ed: To contribute to a more comprehensive discussion map, please share links to other relevant articles in the comments section or write to us at with the subject line “The Emergency and Hindutva.”


Curated by Kieran Lobo []

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