Thirty-nine years have passed since that day when Indira Gandhi decided that Indians had enough of “democracy” and it was time that she dictated to them. Indians did what they have always been good at: they obeyed. Instead of resisting, they obeyed. Our problem, as Howard Zinn used to say, is not civil disobedience; our problem is civil obedience.
Emergency ended on 23rd March, 1977. Did the people learn much? No. She won a landslide victory and once again became the prime minister in January 1980. She was right: the people did not deserve freedom. The people believed that they were free but in truth it was — and still is — an illusion. Frank Zappa said it best. “The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.”
Indira Gandhi was an evil person. Indians suffered much because of her and her spawn. However it was well-deserved. It’s all karma, neh?
Note: The source of that Howard Zinn quote is from an opening statement in a 1972 debate at Johns Hopkins. Read the transcript here.
Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is the numbers of people all over the world who have obeyed the dictates of the leaders of their government and have gone to war, and millions have been killed because of this obedience. And our problem is that scene in All Quiet on the Western Front where the schoolboys march off dutifully in a line to war. Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world, in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves, and all the while the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem. We recognize this for Nazi Germany. We know that the problem there was obedience, that the people obeyed Hitler. People obeyed; that was wrong. They should have challenged, and they should have resisted; . . . Even in Stalin’s Russia we can understand that; people are obedient, all these herdlike people.
I agree. For the record I should state that I agree with Zinn on many, but not all, matters.
Speaking of obedience, do read this post: THE POLITICS OF OBEDIENCE: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude.
And finally, here’s Matt Damon reading excerpts from the transcript of Howard Zinn’s speech: