Indira Gandhi- Corruption at Its Finest

In a country that claims democracy, Indians seem to be confused on the definition of the government style. You can not blame the people however, because it is the duty of the people to have faith in their country to do the right thing. Indira Gandhi manipulated the people of India by legitimizing the repression by calling for order in a chaos that she created. Indira Gandhi has made catastrophic changes to India’s political, social, and religious views that still have negative repercussions today because of the authoritarian precedent that she set for India’s political system.

Politically Indira Gandhi is remembered as one of the greatest politicians by India’s upper class, because they were the only ones that benefited from her regime. She was extraordinarily savvy at manipulating the government in her favor. Originally she was elected into the position of Prime Minister because the “syndicates” and corrupt fat cat politicians thought she would be easy to manipulate and the connection to her father would make her a perfect candidate to get elected by the popular vote.

However, they greatly under estimated her knowledge of politics and her first smart move was getting rid of the corrupt syndicates. By removing herself from the corrupt syndicates, in the eyes of the people, she was representing the progressive forces of history. (Bidwai) The people of a country are constantly looking for hope for a better future. Mrs. Gandhi knew this because she was raised around politics, her father being a former Prime Minister regularly took her along on business trips. And being elected into an already corrupt system gave her lee way to rule as a tyrant while appealing to the public eye.

She knew the value of a powerful slogan, and in 1971 won the general elections by appealing to the poverty stricken people, which consisted of one third of Indians, with her slogan “Giribi Hatao” {remove poverty} (Bidwai). Which, of course, was a political promise that was never achieved, because it was never fully attempted. And it was farfetched slogan to begin with because realistically speaking every economy needs poor people. And for Gandhi to claim that it could be eliminated is an impossible promise to keep, yet her words were powerful and the people blindly followed her or idly sat by powerless to speak out.

However, to promise high hopes that never came are bound to have negative effects on the trust people have put in her. In the end it is her greatest strength that becomes her biggest downfall. “Indira Gandhi who boasted that she was fighting corruption of senior congress leaders, lent support to new corrupt leaders and in the process became the target of the anti-corruption movement” (Sabat). She was found guilty of electoral malpractice in 1975 but responded to the decision by declaring a state of emergency in which she censored the press, and put thousands of opposition politicians in jail.

In a democracy, certainly opposition is supposed to bring the wrong doings of the government to public focus and correct them. But during the Emergency Act the means of bringing government issues to the public is being censored by that very government, Democracy can not be claimed. “Mrs. Gandhi inaugurated an altogether different (and deeply damaging) tradition, whereby ministers, chief ministers, and prime ministers decided the assignments of civil servants on the basis of kinship or loyalty” (Bidwai).

She called for the people to give her full support telling them that in order for progress to happen the people needed to work with her, no questions asked. And by censoring the papers and silencing opposition politicians she could guarantee that there would be no public debate on her questionable policies. She also guaranteed that everyone would be on her side by starting the trend of choosing her own chief ministers, abolishing the former inner party elections. When Labor unions started to arise because of unfair work conditions, Indira was able to put a stop to them by calling for “order” and “discipline”.

Claiming that the whim of the union workers was holding back the economy from progressing forward. She was able to control the workers by implementing stricter laws that made the workers look like they were bringing down the economy. The laws putting a stop to labor unions made her popular among the rich business and company owners that allowed them to continue taking advantage of their workers. “Since Indira Gandhi’s time, one issue or the other has pre-occupied the entire nation’s attention and the real people are forgotten.

” (Sabat) Indira has set a standard for politicians to distract the country from real issues that would help better the progress of society by helping the country’s economic progress, taking real steps towards solving the poverty issue. Instead she set an agenda that would benefit her interests at the cost of taking away time, attention, and money that rightfully belong to the people of India, that both need and deserve it. Eventually her own political strategies became her downfall. She had no press support because all the press she created was fake.

And since free, independent press is crucial in political freedom, society can not get the real truth because everything was censored. Although they felt the replication, they remained ignorant to the realities of politicians. This is due to the fact the press, which is a crucial component of the political process, was subjected to comprehensive, pre publication censorship. (BBC) Eventually the people of India felt betrayed and grew uneasy because the promises, including the abolishment of poverty, never came.

However because of the spontaneous laws that she could impose under the Emergency Act, and the silencing of opposition politicians, society was powerless to take a stand. Even protests to bring attention the needs of society and human rights were against the law. Claiming that these protesters were traitors of the country. Often times any one with the thought or intention of starting a protest or making some type of political statement was arrested under “committing treason”. “Unprecedented social and political turmoil, channeled into energetic movements against [other “problems”] (BBC).

In order to gain back society’s trust she created more falsehoods and re-directed her, and the nations, focus on population control. The means of accomplishing a control of population was through the process of forced sterilization. “It meant the forces sterilization of millions of people, a large portion of them Muslims, in the name of rational population control. It spelled a reign of terror for the urban poor. ” (BBC) There was an uneasy feeling among society’s poor. They feared for their lives and had to keep their political views underground.

Being poor made you an automatic target of forced sterilization because you had no voice. They were also the victims of forced relocation. Laws were implemented by Indira Gandhi that allowed the discrimination against society’s poor under the Emergency Act. The Emergancy regime was anti-poor. Indira Gandhi was able to manipulate the laws by appearing to benefit the public interests such as population control and Beautification of the city. When she claimed to speak on behalf of the poor and represent them, what she was ultimately doing was trying to exterminate them out of society.

They had no say in any process. By the process of forces sterilization she ensured that the poor would not reproduce. She sets another precedent by allowing legislature to create laws against the rights of the poor. By taking away their reproductive rights she was able to expand her power. She implemented laws in an area where, prior to her Prime Ministry, the Indian government had no say in individual reproductive rights. The society’s poor was not represented in any legal form. Therefore they were not given the option to choose whether or not they wanted to go through the sterilization process.

Her attempts to eliminate poverty by means of exterminating the poor were relentless. In the name of the Beautification process she implemented laws to forcibly relocate hundreds of thousands of poverty stricken citizens. In the process of relocation, her legislatures made it legal for her to turn non-criminal, law abiding citizens into forced laborers. She brought back slavery within the first decades of India’s independence from the British government. In which all Indians were repressed under the tyrannical rule of Britain. Indira brought back the tyrannical rule by forcing her own people into positions of slavery.

They had no rights, no options, and no means to fight back. Under her emergency act she could forcibly send the poor to work camps in the name of relocation for the purpose of beautification. She turned her own people into slaves and slowed down, even reversed, the process of India becoming a progressive, free, independent, democracy. It is now obvious as we look back in history that she created great perks for herself at the expense of the Indian people. She abused her power and over- stepped her boundaries but manipulated the laws to legitimize her actions. However, she is still remembered as a great leader by some.

Those that remember her to be great are naturally the corrupt individuals that benefited from her scrutinizing actions. These people included the upper, and upper middle class of India’s society. Most of these people had great investments in the country’s government and economy. So naturally they would be supporters of her policies. These policies did not abide by her political promises, instead they only benefited special interests groups. (Bidwai) And these fortunate individuals felt no sympathy for the inhumane way the lower class was treated because it did not directly negatively affected them.

They did not know any one that belonged to the lower class, and the complaints were never heard because the non representation of these lower class people in society restricted the voices from reaching the public ear. Although it was painfully obvious that the people were suffering, Indira Gandhi used her torture that she was causing the people by blaming the very victims of her crimes. She called for stability and every law she created against the poor was said to be with the intention of discipline. This was one of her greatest forms of manipulation.

To first cause chaos and then deem yourself the only person that can bring stability to the chaos of society. This put a great breach in the societies “haves” and “have nots”. It separated the country and of course the beneficiaries of the policies (business owners, CEO’s, and self appointed high rank government officials) are going to be the supporters of the Gandhi party. And due to the censorship that silences any negativity towards the government, the only stories being heard is of praise of the policies.

Once again we see how the Emergency regime was anti-poor and had no intentions of helping out the people in society that needed it the most. Not only was Indira Gandhi’s secret agenda anti poor, it was also anti- Sikh. Her policies clearly favored the Hindus and discriminated against Muslims and Sikhs. Religion plays a major role in the Indian government and at a tine when Hindus and Muslims bumped heads, Indira Gandhi instigated the matter further by claiming Sikh terrorists where out to destroy the country.

This gave non-Sikh citizens, as well as the police force, a free ticket to publicly discriminate against Sikhs. (Singh) “When Indira Gandhi was back in government in 1980, she spent all her time by destabilizing state governments and in tackling the Sikh problem. ” (Sabat) By creating chaos she is ensuring that the people will have a need for her strong leadership to stay in power. That is the basis by which she was re-elected in 1980. She claims to bring discipline to the country just to satisfy the political promise quota, when her real focus was on the anti-Sikh movement.

“It was claimed at the time that the Prime Minister deliberately stoked the troubles in the Punjab, so that when elections were held in 1985 she could put herself forward as the one person standing between India and anarchy (Singh)”. Indira organized mobs to specifically attack Sikh homes and businesses as a warning to Sikh’s to disassemble there organization for independence. The reason Sikhs were so desperate for Independence is because they were experiencing religious persecution, which was authorized and even encouraged by Indira Gandhi.

Their religion was being criminalized and there was a sense of alienation and rage because genocide was being directed against the Sikh people. (BBC). They wanted to put a stop to the Khalistan movement and the most effective way was mass genocide which was army assisted at the command of the prime minister. Indira Gandhi had no respect for the Sikh religion. And she was determined to prove this by undermining their sanctities. She organized an attack against the Sikhs most holiest temple, Operation Blue Star, claiming that Sikh terrorists were taking refuge inside the building. Mrs.

Gandhi ordered the Indian army to go in and massacre thousands of Sikhs in there holy shrine. “Those poor people were killed by their own army, which was suppose to protect them…there was almost disbelief that a government could do it to its own people and no one could be held accountable and brought to justice. ” (Singh) Indira Gandhi denied any and all allegations of pogroms, although there is documentation and first hand witnesses that have testified against her. She claims that any riots against Sikhs were spontaneous and have no links to the government’s involvement. Although these “rioters” had lists of Sikh businesses and homes ready.

They had trucks to transport people, and were provided with weapons and petrol. Yet they claim all this organized crime to be “random violence. ” (Singh) Indira has allowed leaders of political parties to use any type of justification to minimize the government’s responsibility. Claiming they had no hand in establishing hate crimes against Sikhs, even though the evidence points against their favor. It allows people of high power to dismiss any evidence against them claiming whatever ground best suits the circumstances. India continues to fail when it comes to protecting the rights of the minorities.

They continue to justify their actions at the expense of true justice so as not to admit to any mistakes. They have a strong sense of pride which seems to be one of the country’s biggest downfalls, because they continue to suppress the truth, which only strengthens the denials of the countries wrong doings. “[There was] failure to follow law that was laid down by the Supreme Court, and statements made by judges who said to my face that there are no fundamental rights for the Sikhs, because you can’t tell the difference between an innocent Sikh and a militant Sikh.

” (Singh) To this day the same justifications are used by judges, that were drawn by Indira to grant impunity to the Sikh killers. There is a reason that half a century later, judges are still granting impunity to the murderers. It is because Indira Gandhi has set the trend of justifying unjust actions by never admitting to her wrong doings. She claims that it was necessary and righteous for the security of the country’s well being. If she were to admit that she made a mistake it would mean persecution for her. Even today the anniversary of the Sikh massacre is hardly recognized because the government wants to suppress the truth.

Too much acknowledgement would turn into blame which makes the country look bad regardless of the truths. Five months following the attack on the Golden Temple in Amristsar, Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh body guard. However, she was looked upon as dying a Martyr’s death because she continuously rejecting dismissing the Sikh body guards from her staff. I believe this led to a posthumous evaluation of Indira Gandhi that exculpates or ignores her very mistakes. It was also the beginning of a two decade long repression against the Sikhs.

“For ten days following Indira Gandhi’s death, all the Sikhs in Delhi were put on a curfew. We were not allowed to leave our homes because everywhere Sikhs were being attacked, burned, and murdered. Two hours after the news of Indira being attacked I was sent home from work, my boss told me my life was in danger. We had a lot of Hindu supporters but we could not trust anyone. There was no form of communication to let our families know we were safe. It was complete chaos and I feared for my family every minute of those 10 days. ” (Mangat) Indira Gandhi has made huge political strides in Indian government, for the worse.

She has made irreversible changes during her Emergency regime that has negatively affected India’s political, social, and religious views. She resembled a brutal, crude tinpot dictatorship based on dynastic rule. And set precedents that are used to justify wrong doings of the government even today. Ultimately I believe her assassination was inevitable because she believed she was invincible. She had every department of the government favoring her, and laws implemented against those that did not support her, that when she took it too far, with Operation Blue Star, she did not see her career as a politician and her life, coming to an end.

She was blind with power and ultimately walked into her own destruction. Citation Bidwai, Praful. `Never Again’ to the Evils of Emergency Rule. India Abroad. New York, N. Y. :Jul 7, 1995. Vol. XXV, Iss. 40, p. 2 Sabat, Upendra. Why Does Poverty Continue In A Great Land? News India – Times. New York, N. Y. :Jul 25, 1997. Vol. 27, Iss. 30, p. 53| Singh, Michael, dir. Riding The Tiger. Narr. Michael Singh. 2008. Chicagos Lifeline. CD-ROM. 1th ed. CD-ROM. Mangat, Zora. Personal interview. 19 nov 2009. “Indira Gandhi’s death remembered. ” BBC NEWS 31 oct 2009: n. pag. Web. 30 nov 2009. <http://news. bbc. co. uk/2/hi/south_asia/8320101. stm>.