New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday recalled the Emergency imposed on the country 42 years ago on June 25, and said it was the darkest time in the history of India.
"Democracy is not just a system, but also a ‘sanskar' (ethos). One needs to be constantly alert about our democracy, that is why we must also keep remembering the events that inflicted harm upon our democracy. June 25, 1975, was a dark night that no devotee of democracy, no Indian can ever forget," Modi said in the 33rd edition of his radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat' broadcast on Sunday.
Modi recalled that during that period the country had virtually become a "prison", the voice of the opposition had been smothered and the press was completely muffled.
"The judicial system too could not escape the sinister shadows of the Emergency. The present-day students of journalism and the champions of democracy have been endeavouring towards raising awareness about that dark period, by constant reminders, and should continue to do so," Modi said.
The Prime Minister also recited a poem written by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the completion of one year of Emergency wherein he longed for the end of restrictions and return to freedom. Vajpayee was in jail at that time.
Modi said the Emergency was the resistance movement in which the "champions of democracy" came together and fought a prolonged battle to safeguard the democratic values. This legacy, Modi said, must be kept alive.