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Thursday, June 25, 2020

How should the Nation remember this day (25th June) in History !!

Today is 25th June . .. .. and my memory immediately took me back to the iconic image of  Kapil Dev standing at the Lord’s balcony holding aloft the World Cup.

There obviously is more in the history about this day ! – about 45 years ago, India suffered dark age with Govt making blatant and extensive use of its power of preventive detention. People were arrested and detained only on the apprehension that they may commit an offence.       According to Shah Commission, nearly 1,11,000 people were arrested under detention laws.  There were many reported incidents of torture and custodial deaths occurring ! and that of another clan who did not hold any official position at that time but exercising enormous control over the administration and interfering  in the functioning of the government.

On 25.6.1983, Indians were underdogs – they had never been in Finals.  Their opponents were mighty West Indies who had rock solid batting and fearsome quartet of pace bowlers.  India had a worst start – Gavaskar struggling and getting out.  Krishnamachari Srikkanth entertained us – hooking, going down on his knees for a square cut but the team ended up at just 183.  That day Doordarshan provided live coverage with a couple of ‘breakdowns’ – towards the end, commentary went-off and they quickly added radio commentary to the visuals. 

It was Sri Azhagiya Singar Aani Brahmothsavam ~ those were the days, when people would at street corners stand in group listening to radio commentary.  Gordon Greenidge left to a big banana inswinger of Balwinder Sandhu – trying to leave the ball, but the ball kept coming in and clipping his stumps. Viv Richards strode in and took on the bowlers – Madanlal was the workhorse and every Indian supporter would remember that frozen moment.  Richards getting into the line and flicking Madanlal over midwicket – Kapil Dev kept running back and took the catch with effortless ease – an exemplary effort – great anticipation, finest athleticism and classy fielding. It was really a combined effort as India defended the low target to emerge victorious.  Most of us thought Srikkanth’s pick and throw caught Bacchus short of the crease but those of days when TV replays would not be conclusive.

On this day in 1991 Martina Navratilova won her  record 100th singles match at Wimbledon, beating Elna Reinach of South Africa 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 in the 1st round.  In 1903, Eric Arthur Blair  known by his pen name George Orwell,  was born. As a writer, Orwell produced literary criticism and poetry, fiction and polemical journalism; and is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).  

RMS Lancastria was a British ocean liner requisitioned by the UK Government during the Second World War. She was sunk on 17 June 1940 during Operation Ariel. Having received an emergency order to evacuate British nationals and troops in excess of its capacity of 1,300 passengers, modern estimates range between 3,000 and 5,800 fatalities—the largest single-ship loss of life in British maritime history.  Operation Aerial was the evacuation of Allied forces and civilians from ports in western France from 15 to 25 June 1940 during the Second World War. The evacuation followed the military collapse in the Battle of France against Nazi Germany, after Operation Dynamo, the evacuation from Dunkirk and Operation Cycle, an embarkation from Le Havre, which finished on 13 June.

The Luftwaffe attacked the evacuation ships and, on 17 June, evaded RAF fighter patrols and sank the Cunard liner and troopship HMT Lancastria in the Loire estuary.  The Luftwaffe  was the aerial warfare branch of the Wehrmacht during World War II.   The ship sank quickly and vessels in the area were still under attack during rescue operations, which saved about 2,477 passengers and crew. The loss of at least 3,500 people made the disaster the greatest loss of life in a British ship, which the British government tried to keep secret on the orders of Winston Churchill, the British Prime Minister. The official evacuation ended on 25 June, in conformity with the terms of the Armistice of 22 June 1940 agreed by the French and German authorities.

Inheritance of power and wealth in the Mughal empire was not determined through primogeniture, but by princely sons competing to achieve military successes and consolidating their power at court. This often led to rebellions and wars of succession. As a result, a complex political climate surrounded the Mughal court in Khurram's formative years. In 1611 his father married Nur Jahan, the widowed daughter of a Persian noble. She rapidly became an important member of Jahangir's court and, together with her brother Asaf Khan, wielded considerable influence. Arjumand was Asaf Khan's daughter and her marriage to Khurram consolidated Nur Jahan and Asaf Khan's positions at court.  Aurangzeb was born in 1618 as the third son and sixth child of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal. In June 1626, after an unsuccessful rebellion by his father, Aurangzeb and his brother Dara Shukoh were kept as hostages under their grandparents' (Nur Jahan and Jahangir) Lahore court.

45 years ago -  in 1975, India saw its darkest phase when then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared emergency across the country. The emergency was issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352(1) of the Constitution and lasted 21 long months beginning 25th June 1975 and going on until 21st March 1977.  
3 past PMs of India - Rajiv PV Narasimha rao and Indira Gandhi

On 12 June 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court found the PM  guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign. The court declared her election null and void and unseated her from her seat in the Lok Sabha. The court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years. Serious charges such as bribing voters and election malpractices were dropped and she was held responsible for misusing government machinery and found guilty on charges such as using the state police to build a dais, availing herself of the services of a government officer  and use of electricity from the state electricity department.   Indira Gandhi challenged the High Court's decision in the Supreme Court. Justice V. R. Krishna Iyer, on 24 June 1975, upheld the High Court judgement and ordered all privileges Gandhi received as an MP be stopped, and that she be debarred from voting. However, she was allowed to continue as Prime Minister pending the resolution of her appeal.

JP Narayan and Morarji Desai called for daily anti-government protests. On 25th June 1975  JP organised a large rally in Delhi, where he said that a police officer must reject the orders of government if the order is immoral and unethical as this was Mahatma Gandhi's motto during the freedom struggle. Such a statement was taken as a sign of inciting rebellion in the country. Later that day, Indira Gandhi requested a compliant President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to proclaim a state of emergency. Within three hours, the electricity to all major newspapers was cut and the political opposition arrested.

So from 25th June 1975 for 21 months it was dark days of Emergency – the order bestowed upon the Prime Minister the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed. For much of the Emergency, most of Indira Gandhi's political opponents were imprisoned and the press was censored. News was censored and remember that Thuglak had nothing but a dark black colour on its coverpage and Indian Express used to release its paper with dark ink cutting out many of its daily news.

How much the Nation remembers its history !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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