Indira Gandhi

Defying Sanjay Gandhi: A Civil Servant Remembers the Emergency

Anand Sarup
Anand Sarup

Born in Lahore on 5th January, 1930, to Savitri Devi and Shanti Sarup and brought up in an open environment, without any mental conditioning by a denominational commitment. He imbibed a deep commitment to democracy and freedom because his family participated actively in the freedom struggle. In 1947, together with his family, he went through the trauma of losing all, and then participating in rebuilding a new status and identity. He Joined the IAS in 1954 and retired in 1988 as Education Secretary, Government of India. Later, he became Chairman, National Book Trust. Also co-authored, with Sulabha Brahme, Planning for the Millions.

When Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared an Internal Emergency - which came to be known as just ‘the Emergency' - on June 26, 1975, I was a senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer in Uttar Pradesh (UP).

I was Secretary of the Transport, Public Works, Tourism and Estate Departments. Many people, including me, did not believe that there were legitimate grounds to declare an Emergency. Instead, I believed then - as I do now - that the real reason was that the Emergency declaration gave Mrs. Indira Gandhi a way to avoid being forced to step down after her 1975 election to Parliament had been declared invalid by Justice Jag Mohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court on the ground that she had used corrupt practices during her election campaign.

A Morning with Indira Gandhi

T.S. Nagarajan

T.S. Nagarajan (b.1932) is a noted photojournalist whose works have been exhibited and published widely in India and abroad. After a stint with the Government of India as Director of the Photo Division in the Ministry of Information, for well over a decade Nagarajan devoted his life to photographing interiors of century-old homes in India, a self-funded project. This foray into what constitutes the Indianness of homes is, perhaps, his major work as a photojournalist.

Editor's note: This story is reproduced, with permission, from Mr. Nagarajan's not-for-sale book of his memories, A Pearl of Water on a Lotus Leaf &amp\; Other Memories, 2010.

As a photojournalist, I have tried to keep myself away from politicians though I have a perfunctory interest in politics. I like some politicians, especially of the comical kind for their entertainment value - only from a distance.

I know the world of politicians interests journalists and photographers. But it is a world from which I have managed to keep my camera away.

A meeting with Prime Minister Nehru

Reginald Masssey
Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is INDIA: Definitions and Clarifications (Hansib, London). A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Editor's note: This story is an expanded version of an excerpt from the author's book Azaadi!: stories and histories of the Indian subcontinent after Independence, Abhinav, Delhi 2005. It is reproduced here with the author's permission.

At the time of India’s Independence, my father, J. M. Massey, was in the Royal Indian Air Force, stationed at Lahore.

He opted to join India and the Indian Air Force, and we moved to Delhi. In 1948, he did some highly sensitive intelligence work, whose nature I cannot reveal.

Flying Officer J. M. Massey on his Harley Davidson motorcycle with his orderly, Nazir. 1947

Some time after Independence, my father had to call on the Prime Minister in New Delhi to discuss a sensitive intelligence matter. The appointment was fixed for the evening at the PM's residence.

Indira Gandhi Interview 1971


Indira Gandhi Interview
No date or description available, but
the discussion is about tensions between
India and Pakistan over what was East Pakistan
and became Bangladesh.

Working with Muhammad Ali, the boxing champ

Reginald Masssey
Reginald Massey

Reginald was born in Lahore before Partition. He writes books on various subjects pertaining to South Asia. A former London journalist, he now lives in Mid Wales with his actor wife Jamila. His latest book is Shaheed Bhagat Singh and the Forgotten Indian Martyrs, Abhinav Publications, New Delhi. A member of the Society of Authors, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

In the mid-1970s, I was chairman of a small film and TV production company, Seven Stars Limited, which had offices in Piccadilly, London.

There were three directors: Omer Ahmed, a businessman from Calcutta, Marc Alexander, a prolific author from New Zealand, and I. We had a businessman friend in Dhaka named Ghiasuddin Chowdhury.

Ghiasuddin told us that Bangladesh wanted to be put on the world map. It had been devastated and needed foreign aid.

Muhammad Ali was a great boxing hero at that time. His stand against the American involvement in the Vietnam War had won him many admirers all over the world. We thought: who better than Ali to front a film on Bangladesh?

Omer Ahmed and I made many trips to the US and eventually persuaded Ali that it was his duty to help this new country.

In the meantime, Ali had just been beaten by Leon Spinks. (Ed. note: see the fight here). Ali was very downhearted. We told him that he was still a hero in Bangladesh.

Morarji Desai’s Visit to INS Shakti

Manohar Awati
Manohar Awati

Manohar Pralhad Awati was born in September 1927, had his schooling in King George's School, Mumbai, and The Maharashtra Education Society School, Pune. He was selected for the Royal Indian Navy in November 1945. He was awarded the Vir Chakra for his role as the Commanding Officer of INS Kamorta during the 1971 war with Pakistan. In March 1983, he retired as a Vice Admiral and the Flag officer Commanding- in-Chief of the Western Naval Command. His love for ecology and its conservation emerged after retirement, in association with the legendary Dr Salim Ali. His particular love for the conservation of the Lion and the Tiger was reflected in the books he edited ­Homo Sapiens and Panthera Leo and The Vanishing Indian Tiger.  Another of his post-retirement ventures is the conception and founding of the Maritime History Society of India, a unique institution which sustains all of maritime research in India today.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in Quarterdeck, from where it is reproduced by permission from the author.

Shri Morarji Desai, Prime Minister, boarded INS Shakti by helicopter, off Cochin (now Kochi) one fine morning in February 1979.

Captain S. K. Gupta, MVC, NM (known in the Service as Gigi to his friends and admirers) was in command. I had, earlier, transferred my flag to Shakti.

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