Why was the ‘Emergency’ period under Indira Gandhi neither discussed nor even mentioned in school?

By Sunil Kumar

Good question and observation. Even in Maharashtra, where I was in school, the Emergency was never discussed or mentioned. My school was a Jesuit institution, and although we had the usual skits on national integration etc, this was never mentioned.

The answer to your question however is very simple in my opinion. Recently, I was at the Jaipur Literature festival in a session on ‘The Historical Imagination’ by Sanjeev Sanyal.

The guy was discussing the stranglehold of the Nehruvian and Marxist-Leftist intelligentsia on our national narrative, textbooks, foreign policy, institutions etc. (most of our post-independence history). Respect for the majority religion is branded as non-secular and we must be the only country in the world that actively discriminates and even oppresses the main religion on multiple counts.

So, why was it not discussed? Congress in power all over India for a long time. Note, I can actively vouch for the state I grew up in and the time I was there. But, the situation pan-India is not very difficult to imagine. We have sycophants, self-interested politicians and bureaucrats in every state. They simply execute what the boss wants them to. Mostly cowardly chameleons who have zero incentive to stand up to the power centre .

The Southern States get all high-minded and preachy on humanitarian values and an answer I saw mentioned not polluting the minds of children. I say that is not a valid excuse in the present day, as any young boy and girl with even a slight trace of intelligence can see what is happening around him from millions of sources, the TV or the Internet. Nothing like this present-day explosion of information on your fingertips not available earlier. Children’s minds are impressionable, but they also deserve to be gently educated on these problems created by adults.

For my school, I can definitely say that if it is not a part of the syllabus, no teacher will waste their time on discussing history. Everybody was focused on getting marks, choosing science etc, and becoming an engineer or a doctor. As it is, inquisitive students are usually a rarity and the more intelligent ones can just read up on the internet(more so these days).

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