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Updated March 26th, 2021 at 21:59 IST

As PM Modi recounts his 1971 'satyagraha', here's a look at his book on 1975 Emergency

As Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminisced his 'satyagraha' for Bangladesh's Liberation in 1970s, a book written by him in his 20s against the 1975 Emergency

Reported by: Suchitra Karthikeyan
Edited by: Suchitra Karthikeyan
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As Prime Minister Narendra Modi reminisced his 'satyagraha' for Bangladesh's Liberation in 1970s, a book written by him in his 20s against the oppressive Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi regime has come to the forefront. A then youth-leader Modi had written a book titled ‘Sangharshmaan Gujarat’ which was published in 1978 about how Gujarat had opposed the Emergency and his involvement in it. In the book, he has urged his fellow young citizens to rebel against the government's oppression, warning about a dangerous tomorrow.

PM Modi's book on Emergency

On the cover of the book, in an open letter to the youth, Modi had highlighted how citizens had been silenced and how democracy had been destroyed, while autocracy was being promoted. Calling for youth's sacrifice to solve poverty, unemployment, lack of education, immorality and corruption, he had urged the youth to become the 'creators of the history'. Stating that it was upto the youth to 'free those imprisoned', Modi had reminded the yputh of their duty to challege the widespread 'unrest and helplessness'.

Newspaper reports from August 1971, show 10,000 Janasangh workers including 1200 women and children had staged a satyagraha as part of the 12-day 'Recognise Bangladesh' Satyagraha in Delhi. A TOI report states "120 buses were kept ready to transport to Delhi's National Stadium where they were tried by nine magistrates. The mammoth rally was addressed by party president Atal Bihari Vajpayee who declared that the Indo-Soviet joint statement implied a conspiracy between Delhi and Moscow to deny recognition to Bangla Desh". 

(Credit: Times of India)

PM Modi recounts his 'satyagraha' for Bangladesh liberation

Earlier in the day, PM Modi recounted his own contribution to the nation's freedom struggle, while addressing the National Day program as its chief guest in National parade Ground, Dhaka. Lauding the Indian Army martyrs' sacrifice, he recounted how he had been arrested in India while staging a satyagraha in solidarity with Bangladesh's liberation. Today marks the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War, which resulted in the formation of Bangladesh from Pakistan.

"One of the first movements of my life to join the struggle for the independence of Bangladesh. I and my partners had done a Satyagraha in support of freedom of Bangladesh and was even sent into jail. The atrocities forced by the Pakistan Army disturbed all of us internally and moved us," said PM Modi.

Slamming Pakistan Army's war crimes during the war, he said that 'Operation Searchlight' had stirred the movement in support of Bangladesh in India. Remembering late PM Indira Gandhi's leadership, he said, "Indira Gandhi ji's efforts are known to all.  Atal ji also said that we aren't just fighting with people who're laying down their lives in the Liberation War, but we are also trying to give a new direction to history".

PM Modi's 2-day Bangladesh tour

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on a two-day visit to Bangladesh to be a part of the neighbouring country's 50th Independence Day, making it the first foreign visit by PM Modi after the outbreak of the Coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic. PM Modi recieved the invitation to be a part of its 50th Independence Day celebrations and to commemorate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from his counterpart Sheikh Hasina, where heads of state from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and the Maldives will also be present at the celebration. Incidentally, Bengal goes to polls on Saturday, amid PM Modi's Bangladesh visit.

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Published March 26th, 2021 at 21:56 IST

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