Thousands of predawn arrests of opposition political figures and journalists, the suspension of civil liberties by presidential decree, the imposition of a rigid press censorship—thus in June, 1975, was signaled the end of Indian democracy. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's actions mean that the number of people in the world living under democratic regimes has been more than halved. Perhaps India's masses prefer bread to liberty, but they are likely to have neither. Having obtained absolute power, Mrs. Gandhi and her ruling Indian National Congress seem to have little idea of what it is to be used for.
Apologists for the emergency say it was necessary to ward off a right-wing conspiracy against Mrs. Gandhi because of her efforts at reform. They note that most of those arrested since the emergency began are hoarders of food, manipulators of prices, and holders of money from secret deals.