Greetings Mr. Bhandarkar,
I have recently seen on television your utter confusion in trying to decipher what it is about your upcoming movie that has got the Congress party in knots. You repeatedly assert that you, as a film maker, are known to take up inconvenient plot lines in your attempt to educate the society of national issues through your cinema.
I write this letter as an attempt in explaining their predicament.
I admit, the ones that question you today, haven’t watched the movie. But you must understand that they do expect you to cater to their delusions of grandeur and endure their insufferable insecurities because they consider their claim on this country, her citizens and its narrative, absolute and indisputable.
You must be wondering why they must feel insecure about a movie when they have gone to town beating their chest about Freedom of Expression?
You see, it is difficult for dynasts to wrap their head around the fact that the Country has changed and is moving beyond the hollow rhetoric that they have furthered for so long. They can’t imagine, for example, the citizenry asking for measures of poverty alleviation and not trusting their “Gareebi hatao” slogans blindly. It is difficult for them to understand that a population as young as India’s is far more astute in sniffing the facts.
Your research might have led you to a certain “State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Raj Narain” case which was fought in the High Court. The research might have said that after Indira Gandhi’s 1971 electoral win, Narain filed a petition alleging that Indira Gandhi has used bribery, government machinery and other resources to gain an unfair advantage in the elections.
Owing to this petition, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha found Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractice, declared Indira ji’s win from Rae Bareilly null and void and having found our leader guilty of gross malpractice, barred her from contesting elections for 6 years. At that time, the court gave Congress 20 days to replace Indira Gandhi. Indira ji then got a stay order on 24th June 1975.
What you fail to understand is that between 24th June (when Indira ji got the stay order) and 25th June (when the Emergency was declared), the Economy had plummeted to abysmal lows. The dark shroud of economic distress had gripped the Nation in those sinister 24 hours. It is in these 24 hours, that their great leader realised how terribly the Country had been plummeted after the 1971 war. She realized we were dealing with widespread drought and oil crisis as an aftermath of the 1971 war.
You might wonder why it took Indira ji so long to realize all that ails our economy, considering 4 years had passed after the war? Don’t be fooled. The Gandhi family has a long history of concentrating on issues and making informed decisions that take time. It’s in their genes. Why else do you think Rahul Gandhi ji takes these long vacations?
Perhaps you think Indira Gandhi ji imposed the emergency a day after she got the stay order in order to postpone impending elections and pass a bill that amended the law under the provisions of which she was held guilty by Justice Jagmohanlal? This couldn’t possibly be further from the truth.
You must research the benevolence of Indira ji and her suputra, Sanjay Gandhi ji. The two luminaries, after imposing the Emergency, came up with a 20 point program to help the Economy fight poverty and illiteracy. For example, illiteracy was fought with a long term vision. Sanjay ji rationalized that the reason there was such widespread illiteracy is because the unwashed Indians were reproducing like bunnies. So he decided to catch hold of all unsuspecting plebeians and forcefully perform vasectomy on them. Na rahega baas, na bajegi bansuri.
And to shoot two birds with the same policy arrow, they also distributed Ghee to the poor people after they had enforced, nay, endowed nasbandi on them. It is both horrifying and upsetting for them, that you would misunderstand such visionary steps taken during this revolutionary period to rid the country of it’s problems.
The bhagwadhari liars spread many lies. One such is how the country had been going through a terrible economic crisis even before the 1971 war, right from the early 1970s. They talk about widespread discontent among the people about rising prices. corruption, fall in supply of essential commodities and unemployment. In fact, such is their lies that they just created an entire movement that never happened, and pompously called it the “JP Movement”. They even concocted an “All India Railway strike of 1974”. Tell me Mr. Bhandarkar, how can any strike or protest be “all India” when their leader and her followers firmly believed that Indira was India and India was Indira?
The Emergency was imposed because pesky little Jay Prakash Narayan wouldn’t listen. He thought it is acceptable for him to ask Indira ji to resign simply because she was accused of electoral malpractice. He thought it was his right to ask accountability for widespread corruption and economic distress. And also, because the judiciary had to be shown its true place when it tried to assume they had the right to dictate what the Gandhi’s could or couldn’t do. What else was Indira ji suppose to do at the face of such insubordination, Mr. Bhandarkar?
It is only a matter of coincidence that Indira ji and her trusted senanis had originally met to hatch a plan to arrest pesky JP Narayan and mere fiction that S.S.Ray had suggested that she could impose internal emergency. It is also mere coincidence that the first people to be arrested after the imposition of the Emergency (imposed to rectify the failing economy) were Raj Narain, JP Narayan, followed by Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani. Yes. It was only economics and nothing else.
It is almost gruesome that you choose to focus on the declared internal Emergency of 1975 and not the undeclared one we are going through right now. In Congress’ reign, nobody could think of even writing the letter I am writing today, let alone make a movie about politicians. The Congress was sensitive about what the country needs to know, and doesn’t. They ensured that the country never knew the harsh facts about our first family and their vote-bank. To that end, they generously and astutely banned the books that could shatter the citizenry’s dreams. From the “Rangeela Rasool” to “Red Saree”.
Today, books by Barkha and Sagarika are being given bad reviews, which is worse than books being banned. Sanghis like you are free to research and make movies and Sanghis like me are free to write articles, giving the crass unwashed masses a chance to vitiate the atmosphere with their opinions.
It is shocking that you are not interested in making a movie about how Press freedom is being curbed today by unleashing IT sleuths on owners of news channels accused of tax frauds, but you rather focus on how all news articles had to be cleared by the government in 1975 and how the electricity supply had been cut off to newspaper printers.
Your motives stink of bias, when you ignore protests like #NotInMyName (however one sided), and focus on the imposition of Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) by which all sorts of dharnas and protests were banned during the Emergency.
It is depressing to watch you talk about arbitrary arrests during the Emergency and focus on reports like that of Amnesty International that says over 140000 people were arrested without trial and how due to lack of jail capacity, some were just tied to poles and pillars. It is depressing because you ignore today’s undeclared emergency where if one criticises the Modi government, people are trolled on Twitter.
It is indeed disconcerting that you have not focused on how today, fundamental right to eat cow is in danger, but instead choose to focus on 24th amendment of 1971, where it was expressly provided that the parliament could change any part of the constitution including that of Fundamental Rights.
You forget how people are brainwashed to support PM Modi today, and focus on 39th Amendment (26th September 1975) that made the election of the Prime Minister exempt from Judicial scrutiny.
Yes, Mr. Madhur Bhandarkar, you deserve to be hounded and abused. You deserve it because you have dared to break the code of silence. Breach to honour among thieves. Shatter the Omerta.
You have dared to assume that you have a voice. That the story of India lies beyond what we have been fed so far. You have the temerity to presuppose that you, as a movie maker, can move beyond cliched love stories.
You, Mr. Bhandarkar, have committed a sin. Your sin is to consider yourself a citizen of this country who has the right to speak of dark chapters of our existence. You have committed the sin of being a voter who has made his political choice known and the “liberals” must impose punitive measures till you fall in line.
You chose wrong. You made the mistake of going against the first family. And now, the ones who call the current political dispensation fascist, will hound you till you break. Till they silence you and beat you into submission.
They will if you let them, sir. Stand firm and steady your heart. The “liberals” are yet to show you how “liberal” they really are. Stick to your fascism. Stick to your convictions. Keep the faith.
Editor, OpIndia.com since October 2017