“The history of the Emergency should be included in the curricula of schools and colleges… There should be a proper Loktantra Prahari Memorial in New Delhi,” he suggested to the Prime Minister, adding that it would enable the new generation of Indians to know the country’s history better.
Advani lauded Prime Minister Narendra Modi for organising the “Loktantra Prahari Abhinandan” function on the 113th birth anniversary of Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan and highlighting the contribution made by the Socialist leader in saving and strengthening democracy.
“You have made a good beginning. But, obviously, more need to be done,” he said at the function where the Prime Minister felicitated many such people for their contribution and struggle during the Emergency days.
“In two years from now, we will come to a landmark year ? the 40th year of the end of the Emergency and victory of democracy. I suggest to the Prime Minister that the government commemorate this year in a befitting way — beginning from June 25, 2016 and ending on June 25, 2017,” he said.
Advani said, “It is rightly said that a people or a nation that forget their history, and their true heroes, do so at their own peril.”
It is unfortunate that in the decades after Independence, especially during Congress rule, heroes like Jayaprakash Narayan were not given their due, the BJP veteran said.
“Only members of one family were projected as the heroes of independent India,” he said, adding that he did believe that Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi also were patriots and they too served the nation with dedication.
“However, the deliberate attempt to ignore or de-emphasise the contribution of other leaders was reprehensible,” he said.
He alleged successive Congress governments “deliberately tried to marginalise” the memory of JP and other ‘Loktantra Praharis’ and attempted to erase the Emergency from the collective memory of Indians.
Remembering all those heroes who fought against Emergency, he said, “All of them were soldiers in the Army of Democracy that won the battle against it” and the present and future generations should know them and their contribution to the defence of democracy.
Lauding JP’s contribution, he recalled the non-doctrinaire and non-dogmatic approach in the battle he fought against authoritarianism.