News Frontliner Web Desk, 25 February 2019: The social media platform is abuzz on the CPI(M) All India General Secretary Sitaram Yechury’s tweet on 23rd February where he pointed to an article written by New Delhi-based defence and security analyst Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad.
Yechury trying to expose the RSS’s deceitful compromises relied upon an article written by R V Sharada Prasad, whose late father H Y Sharada Prasad was the information advisor of Indira Gandhi before, after and during emergency period.
In his article titled ‘Why did Indira Gandhi call off the Emergency?’ (IE, February 08), Fali S Nariman hypothesized that the then US president, Jimmy Carter, had put pressure on Indira Gandhi to lift the Emergency and hold elections in March 1977. However, Nariman could not put in any documents to substantiate his “recollections”.
Jimmy Carter being sworn in as US president on January 20, 1977 and just two days earlier, on January 18, Indira Gandhi addressed the nation on All India Radio declaring elections. As president-elect, Carter would not have written on such a sensitive topic to a leader from another country, before he was sworn in.
In his article defence and security analyst Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad wrote, that back in early November in 1976, Indira Gandhi had told her principal secretary, P N Dhar, and R V Sharada Prasad’s late father H Y Sharada Prasad, who was her information advisor: “I am going to call off the Emergency and hold elections. I know that I will lose, but this is something which I absolutely have to do. The intelligence agencies will tell me what they think I want to hear. But I know that I am going to lose, even though the IB is saying that I will win 330 seats.” Neither of them ever got to know the reasons behind her decision.
The article wrote,” Although, N K Seshan, Dhar, and my father got the impression that, from about September 1976 onwards, Indira Gandhi was beginning to get disillusioned with the Emergency, and was implementing measures to re-take power away from her younger son, Sanjay Gandhi. She was particularly perturbed by a rash interview which Sanjay Gandhi gave to a newspaper, in which he had harshly criticised the Soviet Union and the Indian communist parties. She had also received inputs from intelligence agencies that the CIA had penetrated Sanjay’s inner circle.”
In the March 2006 issue of the magazine Realpolitik, R V Sharada Prasad’s father wrote: “The Emergency can be described as Indira Gandhi’s coup against her own prime ministership. Her Secretariat, the Home Ministry, the Cabinet, and indeed her government as a whole, were deprived of their effective power, and the prime minister herself was made a prisoner of the Palace Guards…”
Talking about the RSS and its role look at the following two paragraphs:
In recent years, the RSS has been trying to portray that it was its strong grass roots opposition which led to the defeat of Indira Gandhi. But the truth is quite different. Its then sarsanghchalak, Balasaheb Deoras, had issued numerous statements supporting Sanjay Gandhi’s Five-Point Programme. In November 1976, over 30 leaders of the RSS, led by Madhavrao Muley, Dattopant Thengadi and Moropant Pingle, wrote to Indira Gandhi, promising support to the Emergency if all the RSS workers were released from prison. The RSS’s abjectly cringe-inducing letter of surrender was processed by my father.
This surrender by the RSS has been confirmed by Subramanian Swamy too. He wrote in The Hindu in 2000, on the 25th anniversary of the Emergency: “…A tearful Muley told me in early November 1976 that I had better escape abroad again since the RSS had finalised the document of surrender to be signed in end January of 1977, and that on Mr. Vajpayee’s insistence I would be sacrificed to appease an irate Indira and a fulminating Sanjay whose names I had successfully blackened abroad by my campaign. I asked him about the struggle, and he said that in the country everyone had become reconciled to the 42nd Amendment, and democracy as we had known it was over. Democracy was over for the RSS but not for all others. A few weeks later general elections to the Lok Sabha were declared. No one quite understood then what had made Indira Gandhi do that. But as a consequence, the RSS, luckily, did not need to sign the document of surrender.”
The fact that Ravi Visvesvaraya Sharada Prasad is not any ordinary man and being the son of someone who was a close administrative official of India Gandhi, his observation has gained immense attention. Yechuri with a fan following of 740 thousands in the twitter, has been able to draw attention of the people of the country about the lie behind RSS’s claim of its role in lifting the emergency.