Amarendra Dhaneshwar and Dr Suresh Khairnar, two of the leading voices against the emergency, which was imposed in India in 1975, were honored by Republic TV in their special broadcast - 'Heroes of India'. Both the individuals saw jail time for opposing the Indira Gandhi government, which had imposed emergency in the country. Also, the two individuals led from the front by refusing to accept a cheque by the Maharashtra government.
Speaking to Republic TV, the two opened about the struggles they faced during emergency and their reasons behind refusing the cheque given to them. First to go was Dhaneshwar, who said, "I don't regret anything that I have done during those days. I must admit that I was a bit scared in the first or the first 15 days, like all the Indians or all the political activists who were active during those days.
"Slowly, we began to realize it's going to be a long struggle. And then I saw, courageous people, taking bold stand against emergency. So, I was a common man, a common political activist, but they inspired me, and I said, 'I must do something which I can do'. I was doing overground work, but I was helping underground leaders. It was a very difficult situation, it was one of the darkest chapters in post-Independent India. It was very different from pre-emergency days. Pre-emergency days you could do anything, and no one could touch you. But here, you need to look behind your shoulders to see if police is following you," he added.
Dhaneshwar, an activist and a singer, was jailed during the 1975 Emergency. He was found guilty of shielding the opposition leaders, and spent 15 months in jail, at the tender age of 23.
Recently, he refused to accept a cheque given to him by Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis as compensation to the time they spent behind the bars during emergency. The government had announced that everyone who spent over a month in jail during that period would be given Rs 10,000, whereas all those spending less than a month will get Rs 5,000.
After him, spoke Dr. Khairnar, who stated that remembering Emergency is an important thing.
He said, "It is very necessary to remember Emergency. I believe, Independence Day is Retrospective day. And because of this retrospection, I was the chief guest of the Independence Day celebration at Palghar. In front of the kids who weren't even born during the Emergency, I recalled and recited those days.
"I was one year younger to Mr. Dhaneshwar during those days. And despite that, I am surprised to not fear anything. What is a real jail, I have been able to witness it. I was kept in isolation alone. So I have tasted what it feels like to be in a jail," he added.
Khairnar was also one of those jailed during the emergency. He also rejected government's offer of a compensation for the time spent behind the bars.