June 25 #Emergency 40 years ago this day…
I knew what it was while I was home during that summer from college. I was back to late nights with friends at the club, formally an ” institute,” at tea shops, on the roads, sitouts in public places…
Until one day, my father, forever limpid and soft spoken, said with a worried look : Don’t stay out for long, and never late. These days, you can never tell.
I was perplexed, truly. What the hell ? Wasn’ t this my town, the one that always spelled laughter and joy for an otherwise perpetually parched soul, such as I then was ?
My mother looked on … quiet, serious, contemplative with love. She brought on dinner to break the spell. It still tasted divine; but the cloud on my mind wouldn’t go away. Because, there was fear behind those words my father had spoken. A strange emotion in the man I had known until then. Which was little, as I later found out during the same visit.
Visiting the railway station, the book stall actually, I read the display board in some alley I cannot remember. The area was ill lit, yet I could read his name as President of Divisional Railwaymen’s Federation. Year 1958–59.
I never did query him about it, ever. The man I knew was totally apolitical, though people would often congregate at home and talk … waiting for what he had to say. He and mother never failed to walk into the booth on election day. But active, vociferous, never, as I knew him. Not then, when I was in my late teens, and not later.
He had quit the politics entirely but had his strong belief in Jan Sangh, and Dr S P Mukherjee, even R M Lohia. They, in his values system, represented what the nation really needed. He found his idealism in arts, the film buff he was. And Ramayana, which he would often read aloud, haltingly because of throat choked of surged emotion and eyes blurred with tears.
Journal entry made this day, June 25th 2015.