Veteran journalist Madhu Trehan witnessed the Emergency as a young editor when Indira Gandhi suspended fundamental rights and threatened a democracy.
“At that time, we didn’t know what we were getting into. Nobody knew how long it would last or how deeply this would affect us,” she says.
She finds parallels between the Emergency years and now, with some subtle differences. “It is a lot different now, more clever and in a different form. But there are similarities. There is some censorship and more opposition leaders are being thrown into jail, in preparation for (the general elections) 2014. I am not a fan of these Opposition leaders but it worries me that we are beginning to resemble Pakistan, where opposition leaders are routinely sent to jail. But there is subterfuge in the manner it is being done now and is perhaps more insidious than what happened then.”
But what does one have faith in during such times?
“Faith in what? The constitution will save us? There is no assurance. Even Indira Gandhi didn’t know what would happen when she finally declared the elections in 1977; which she called because she was perturbed with the Western press calling her a dictator. So aren’t we doing the same thing now - just going on doing what we do, with some apprehension that censorship and retribution are in the air?”