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By the Way

June of 1975

What happened on June 25, 1975 when Emergency was imposed in India, at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration? One of the 1973 batch sent a first-person account of the day to gfiles, which is being published as food for thought. “As far as I can recollect, we were at FRI Dehradun when Emergency was declared, or perhaps the day when Indira Gandhi was unseated by the High Court judgment. When the news broke, some of us went looking for Delhi newspapers. Meanwhile, the lecture at FRI commenced with poor attendance. Besides tracking the news, some of us were also interested in spending the last few days with batchmates who would soon be scattered across the country. This provided an excellent opportunity to a police member of the directing staff to demonstrate to the Director, Rajeshwar Prasad, his investigative skills, as well as his alertness. A written attendance was carried out. Some signed up for their friends. Some of us were unlucky to have more than one well-wisher and were signed in more than once. False attendance was an even graver charge. Back in Mussoorie, we were all summoned to Pant Hall by the Director for an inquisition. One by one, the absentees stood up and mumbled some excuse, mostly fabricated. One particular explanation, which I believe was very true, I can vividly recall. A lady probationer said that she had lost her keys and was out looking for them. I was highly appreciative of this very appropriate explanation for the grave charge of absence. The key to democracy had been lost. Mercifully, keys are almost invariably never lost, only misplaced, to be found again. I only hope that the member of the directing staff, who had displayed a high sense of duty, earned an Outstanding ACR, and with some luck, a well-deserved nudge to promotion. I may be wrong in my perception but attendance in a lecture, as in a government office, was more important than momentous events in Indian history. But, I know it too well by now, that the boss is always right. Never question his judgment.”

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