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The eighth conversation in the ‘Vidhi Book Adda’ series featured an online discussion on the book ‘Emergency Chronicles: Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point’ by Gyan Prakash on  29th April 2022.

On the night of June 25, 1975, Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India, suspending constitutional rights and rounding up her political opponents in midnight raids across the country. In the twenty-one months that followed, her regime unleashed a brutal campaign of coercion and intimidation, arresting and torturing people by the tens of thousands, razing slums, and imposing compulsory sterilization on the poor. ‘Emergency Chronicles’ provides a comprehensive account of this period of modern Indian history.  Gyan Prakash strips away the comfortable myth that the Emergency was an isolated event brought on solely by Gandhi’s desire to cling to power, arguing that it was as much the product of Indian democracy’s troubled relationship with popular politics.

Placing the Emergency within the broader global history of democracy, this book confronts the dangers of authoritarianism and populist nationalism.


  • GYAN PRAKASH, Author of ‘Emergency Chronicles Indira Gandhi and Democracy’s Turning Point’, Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University
  • JUSTICE JASTI CHELAMESWAR, former judge of the Supreme Court of India

The Adda was moderated by Arghya Sengupta, Founder and Research Director, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy.