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Publisher's Summary

As the world once again confronts an eruption of authoritarianism, Gyan Prakash's Emergency Chronicles takes us back to the moment of India's independence to offer a comprehensive historical account of Indira Gandhi's Emergency of 1975-77. Stripping away the myth that this was a sudden event brought on solely by the prime minister's desire to cling to power, it argues that the Emergency was as much Indira's doing as it was the product of Indian democracy's troubled relationship with popular politics, and a turning point in its history.

Prakash delves into the chronicles of the preceding years to reveal how the fine balance between state power and civil rights was upset by the unfulfilled promise of democratic transformation. He explains how growing popular unrest disturbed Indira's regime, prompting her to take recourse to the law to suspend lawful rights, wounding the political system further, and opening the door for caste politics and Hindu nationalism.

©2019 Gyan Prakash (P)2019 Random House Audio

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    3 out of 5 stars

Good one on Modern India's political history..!!

Emergency Chronicles is a book that actually makes you live in the early independent India (1950s-1970s), events are so elaborately described that you feel like they are happening around you (though sometimes the writer deviates to elaborate minor instances too much, thus leaving no option but to fast forward some minutes). For people who are mostly oblivious of recent political past of modern India, this book allows you to gain a first hand understanding of the events in development of Indian political system and its democracy… and how it is sabotaged at times by powerful personalities, most influential of them being Mrs. Indira Gandhi.
When you submerge yourself into the flow of the narration, you will experience how Indira Gandhi transformed from being a ‘Dumb Doll’ to ‘India is Indira, Indira is India’ and how she (along with her tyrannic son) took all possible advantages of the country’s politico-legal system. I especially like the chapter titled ‘Lawful suspension of law’ where the situation and scenario of emergency is explained. ‘Aftermath’ is also enjoyable which discusses how emergency was removed and what happened when it was removed. Pretty interesting!

Some observations about the text, and as I already notified above, the book sometimes loses track and start explaining minor events in such detail that I felt like missing the major track. At some places, the writer gives too much facts about law and political science so being a layman I got a bit bothered.

On the audio compilation part, there are some linguistic mistakes coupled with narration immaturity. For example, ‘rallied’ is pronounced as ‘railed’, ‘Impasse’ is pronounced as ‘impass’, many unexplained 1-2 second blanks are there in soundtrack, page turning sound is captured at some instances etc. I hope Audible takes note of these and improve future compliations, to brings its Indian products at par with world.

Overall, I can say I am feeling enlightened about my country’s modern political history after finishing this audio-book and I recommend it to my fellow audiblers. 😊

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Thoroughly researched

I have to admit that I am no expert in history and whatever I know of the dark period of democracy in India is mostly from literary works. But this has been an excellent starting point to know more about Indira Gandhi's rule and how a single leader with immense power can be the end of democracy. Highly recommended if you are worried about the current state of our country.