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.

Subscribe to RSS - 1970s