NCERT Textbook - The Crisis of Democratic Order Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 12

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - The Crisis of Democratic Order Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


In this chapter…
We have seen in the last chapter that the Congress recovered after 
1971, but was not the same kind of party. The difference became 
clear in a series of events between 1973 and 1975 that brought new 
challenges to India’s democratic politics and the institutional balance 
sought by the Constitution. These developments led to the imposition of 
‘emergency’ in June 1975. Normally, we would associate ‘emergency’ 
with war and aggression or with natural disaster. But this ‘emergency’ 
was imposed because of the perceived threat of internal disturbance. 
The Emergency ended as dramatically as it had begun, resulting in a 
defeat of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977. 
In this chapter we focus on this crucial phase in the history of democracy 
in India and ask some questions that have remained controversial after 
all these years.
•	 Why 	 was	Emergency	imposed?	Was	it	 necessary?
•	 What 	did	the	imposition	of	Emergency 	mean	in	practice?
•	 What	were	 the	consequences	of	Emergency 	on	party	politics?
•	 What 	are	the	lessons	of	Emergency 	for	Indian	democracy?
The editorial page of 
‘Nai Dunia’ of 27 June 
1975  was like any other 
day, except that the 
space for editorial was 
left blank. The editorial 
was “censored” using 
emergency powers. 
Many other newspapers 
also carried such blank 
spaces–sometimes 
to protest against 
emergency. Later, leaving 
blank space was also 
banned.
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 2


In this chapter…
We have seen in the last chapter that the Congress recovered after 
1971, but was not the same kind of party. The difference became 
clear in a series of events between 1973 and 1975 that brought new 
challenges to India’s democratic politics and the institutional balance 
sought by the Constitution. These developments led to the imposition of 
‘emergency’ in June 1975. Normally, we would associate ‘emergency’ 
with war and aggression or with natural disaster. But this ‘emergency’ 
was imposed because of the perceived threat of internal disturbance. 
The Emergency ended as dramatically as it had begun, resulting in a 
defeat of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977. 
In this chapter we focus on this crucial phase in the history of democracy 
in India and ask some questions that have remained controversial after 
all these years.
•	 Why 	 was	Emergency	imposed?	Was	it	 necessary?
•	 What 	did	the	imposition	of	Emergency 	mean	in	practice?
•	 What	were	 the	consequences	of	Emergency 	on	party	politics?
•	 What 	are	the	lessons	of	Emergency 	for	Indian	democracy?
The editorial page of 
‘Nai Dunia’ of 27 June 
1975  was like any other 
day, except that the 
space for editorial was 
left blank. The editorial 
was “censored” using 
emergency powers. 
Many other newspapers 
also carried such blank 
spaces–sometimes 
to protest against 
emergency. Later, leaving 
blank space was also 
banned.
2015-16(21/01/2015)
6
chapter
the crisis of 
Democratic orDer
Background to Emergency
We have already studied the changes that were taking place in Indian 
politics since 1967. Indira Gandhi had emerged as a towering leader 
with tremendous popularity. This was also the period when party 
competition became bitter and polarised. This period also witnessed 
tensions in the relationship between the government and the judiciary. 
The Supreme Court found many initiatives of the government to be 
violative of the Constitution. The Congress party took the position 
that this stand of the Court was against principles of democracy 
and parliamentary supremacy. The Congress also alleged that the 
Court was a conservative institution and it was becoming an obstacle 
in the way of implementing pro-poor welfare programmes. The 
parties opposed to the Congress felt that politics was becoming too 
personalised and that governmental authority was being converted 
into personal authority. The split in the Congress had sharpened the 
divisions between Indira Gandhi and her opponents. 
Economic context
In the elections of 1971, Congress had given the slogan 
of garibi hatao (remove poverty). However, the social and 
economic condition in the country did not improve much 
after 1971-72. The Bangladesh crisis had put a heavy strain 
on India’s economy. About eight million people crossed over 
the East Pakistan border into India. This was followed by war 
with Pakistan.  After the war the U.S government stopped all 
aid to India. In the international market, oil prices increased 
manifold during this period.  This led to an all-round increase 
in prices of commodities.  Prices increased by 23 per cent in 
1973 and 30 per cent in 1974.  Such a high level of inflation 
caused much hardship to the people. 
Industrial growth was low and unemployment was 
very high, particularly in the rural areas.  In order to 
reduce expenditure the government froze the salaries of 
its employees.  This caused further dissatisfaction among 
government employees. Monsoons failed in 1972-1973. This 
resulted in a sharp decline in agricultural productivity.  Food 
grain output declined by 8 per cent. There was a general 
atmosphere of dissatisfaction with the prevailing economic 
Credit: Abu
PM says
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 3


In this chapter…
We have seen in the last chapter that the Congress recovered after 
1971, but was not the same kind of party. The difference became 
clear in a series of events between 1973 and 1975 that brought new 
challenges to India’s democratic politics and the institutional balance 
sought by the Constitution. These developments led to the imposition of 
‘emergency’ in June 1975. Normally, we would associate ‘emergency’ 
with war and aggression or with natural disaster. But this ‘emergency’ 
was imposed because of the perceived threat of internal disturbance. 
The Emergency ended as dramatically as it had begun, resulting in a 
defeat of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977. 
In this chapter we focus on this crucial phase in the history of democracy 
in India and ask some questions that have remained controversial after 
all these years.
•	 Why 	 was	Emergency	imposed?	Was	it	 necessary?
•	 What 	did	the	imposition	of	Emergency 	mean	in	practice?
•	 What	were	 the	consequences	of	Emergency 	on	party	politics?
•	 What 	are	the	lessons	of	Emergency 	for	Indian	democracy?
The editorial page of 
‘Nai Dunia’ of 27 June 
1975  was like any other 
day, except that the 
space for editorial was 
left blank. The editorial 
was “censored” using 
emergency powers. 
Many other newspapers 
also carried such blank 
spaces–sometimes 
to protest against 
emergency. Later, leaving 
blank space was also 
banned.
2015-16(21/01/2015)
6
chapter
the crisis of 
Democratic orDer
Background to Emergency
We have already studied the changes that were taking place in Indian 
politics since 1967. Indira Gandhi had emerged as a towering leader 
with tremendous popularity. This was also the period when party 
competition became bitter and polarised. This period also witnessed 
tensions in the relationship between the government and the judiciary. 
The Supreme Court found many initiatives of the government to be 
violative of the Constitution. The Congress party took the position 
that this stand of the Court was against principles of democracy 
and parliamentary supremacy. The Congress also alleged that the 
Court was a conservative institution and it was becoming an obstacle 
in the way of implementing pro-poor welfare programmes. The 
parties opposed to the Congress felt that politics was becoming too 
personalised and that governmental authority was being converted 
into personal authority. The split in the Congress had sharpened the 
divisions between Indira Gandhi and her opponents. 
Economic context
In the elections of 1971, Congress had given the slogan 
of garibi hatao (remove poverty). However, the social and 
economic condition in the country did not improve much 
after 1971-72. The Bangladesh crisis had put a heavy strain 
on India’s economy. About eight million people crossed over 
the East Pakistan border into India. This was followed by war 
with Pakistan.  After the war the U.S government stopped all 
aid to India. In the international market, oil prices increased 
manifold during this period.  This led to an all-round increase 
in prices of commodities.  Prices increased by 23 per cent in 
1973 and 30 per cent in 1974.  Such a high level of inflation 
caused much hardship to the people. 
Industrial growth was low and unemployment was 
very high, particularly in the rural areas.  In order to 
reduce expenditure the government froze the salaries of 
its employees.  This caused further dissatisfaction among 
government employees. Monsoons failed in 1972-1973. This 
resulted in a sharp decline in agricultural productivity.  Food 
grain output declined by 8 per cent. There was a general 
atmosphere of dissatisfaction with the prevailing economic 
Credit: Abu
PM says
2015-16(21/01/2015)
104                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
situation all over the country. In such a context non-Congress 
opposition parties were able to organise popular protests effectively.  
Instances of students’ unrests that had persisted from the late 1960s 
became more pronounced in this period. There was also an increase 
in the activities of Marxist groups who did not believe in parliamentary 
politics.  These groups had taken to arms and insurgent techniques 
for the overthrow of the capitalist order and the established political 
system. Known as the Marxist-Leninist (now Maoist) groups or 
Naxalites, they were particularly strong in West Bengal, where the 
State government took stringent measures to suppress them. 
Gujarat and Bihar movements
Students’ protests in Gujarat and Bihar, both of which were Congress 
ruled States, had far reaching impact on the politics of the two States 
and national politics.  In January 1974 students in Gujarat started 
an agitation against rising prices of food grains, cooking oil and 
other essential commodities, and against corruption in high places. 
The students’ protest was joined by major opposition parties and 
became widespread leading to the imposition of President’s rule in the 
state.  The opposition parties demanded fresh elections to the state 
legislature. Morarji Desai, a prominent leader of Congress (O), who 
was the main rival of Indira Gandhi when he was in the Congress,  
announced that he would go on an indefinite fast if fresh elections 
were not held in the State. Under intense pressure from students, 
supported by the opposition political parties, assembly elections were 
held in Gujarat in June 1975. The Congress was defeated in this 
election. 
In March 1974 students came together in Bihar to protest against 
rising prices, food scarcity, unemployment and corruption.  After 
a point they invited Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), who had given up 
active politics and was involved in social work, to lead the student 
movement. He accepted it on the condition that the movement will 
remain non-violent and will not limit itself to Bihar. Thus the students’ 
movement assumed a political character and had national appeal. 
People from all walks of life now entered 
the movement.  Jayaprakash Narayan 
demanded the dismissal of the Congress 
government in Bihar and gave a call for 
total revolution in the social, economic 
and political spheres in order to establish 
what he considered to be true democracy. 
A series of bandhs, gehraos, and strikes 
were organised in protest against the 
Bihar government. The government, 
however, refused to resign. 
                 Sampoorna Kranti 
ab nara hai, bhavi itihas 
hamara hai [With Total 
Revolution as our motto, the 
future belongs to us]
 
 
 
A slogan of the Bihar 
movement, 1974
“
“
                  Indira is India, 
India is Indira
A slogan given by  
D. K. Barooah, President of the 
Congress, 1974
“
“
Poor 
people must have 
had a tough time. What 
happened to the promise 
of garibi hatao?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 4


In this chapter…
We have seen in the last chapter that the Congress recovered after 
1971, but was not the same kind of party. The difference became 
clear in a series of events between 1973 and 1975 that brought new 
challenges to India’s democratic politics and the institutional balance 
sought by the Constitution. These developments led to the imposition of 
‘emergency’ in June 1975. Normally, we would associate ‘emergency’ 
with war and aggression or with natural disaster. But this ‘emergency’ 
was imposed because of the perceived threat of internal disturbance. 
The Emergency ended as dramatically as it had begun, resulting in a 
defeat of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977. 
In this chapter we focus on this crucial phase in the history of democracy 
in India and ask some questions that have remained controversial after 
all these years.
•	 Why 	 was	Emergency	imposed?	Was	it	 necessary?
•	 What 	did	the	imposition	of	Emergency 	mean	in	practice?
•	 What	were	 the	consequences	of	Emergency 	on	party	politics?
•	 What 	are	the	lessons	of	Emergency 	for	Indian	democracy?
The editorial page of 
‘Nai Dunia’ of 27 June 
1975  was like any other 
day, except that the 
space for editorial was 
left blank. The editorial 
was “censored” using 
emergency powers. 
Many other newspapers 
also carried such blank 
spaces–sometimes 
to protest against 
emergency. Later, leaving 
blank space was also 
banned.
2015-16(21/01/2015)
6
chapter
the crisis of 
Democratic orDer
Background to Emergency
We have already studied the changes that were taking place in Indian 
politics since 1967. Indira Gandhi had emerged as a towering leader 
with tremendous popularity. This was also the period when party 
competition became bitter and polarised. This period also witnessed 
tensions in the relationship between the government and the judiciary. 
The Supreme Court found many initiatives of the government to be 
violative of the Constitution. The Congress party took the position 
that this stand of the Court was against principles of democracy 
and parliamentary supremacy. The Congress also alleged that the 
Court was a conservative institution and it was becoming an obstacle 
in the way of implementing pro-poor welfare programmes. The 
parties opposed to the Congress felt that politics was becoming too 
personalised and that governmental authority was being converted 
into personal authority. The split in the Congress had sharpened the 
divisions between Indira Gandhi and her opponents. 
Economic context
In the elections of 1971, Congress had given the slogan 
of garibi hatao (remove poverty). However, the social and 
economic condition in the country did not improve much 
after 1971-72. The Bangladesh crisis had put a heavy strain 
on India’s economy. About eight million people crossed over 
the East Pakistan border into India. This was followed by war 
with Pakistan.  After the war the U.S government stopped all 
aid to India. In the international market, oil prices increased 
manifold during this period.  This led to an all-round increase 
in prices of commodities.  Prices increased by 23 per cent in 
1973 and 30 per cent in 1974.  Such a high level of inflation 
caused much hardship to the people. 
Industrial growth was low and unemployment was 
very high, particularly in the rural areas.  In order to 
reduce expenditure the government froze the salaries of 
its employees.  This caused further dissatisfaction among 
government employees. Monsoons failed in 1972-1973. This 
resulted in a sharp decline in agricultural productivity.  Food 
grain output declined by 8 per cent. There was a general 
atmosphere of dissatisfaction with the prevailing economic 
Credit: Abu
PM says
2015-16(21/01/2015)
104                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
situation all over the country. In such a context non-Congress 
opposition parties were able to organise popular protests effectively.  
Instances of students’ unrests that had persisted from the late 1960s 
became more pronounced in this period. There was also an increase 
in the activities of Marxist groups who did not believe in parliamentary 
politics.  These groups had taken to arms and insurgent techniques 
for the overthrow of the capitalist order and the established political 
system. Known as the Marxist-Leninist (now Maoist) groups or 
Naxalites, they were particularly strong in West Bengal, where the 
State government took stringent measures to suppress them. 
Gujarat and Bihar movements
Students’ protests in Gujarat and Bihar, both of which were Congress 
ruled States, had far reaching impact on the politics of the two States 
and national politics.  In January 1974 students in Gujarat started 
an agitation against rising prices of food grains, cooking oil and 
other essential commodities, and against corruption in high places. 
The students’ protest was joined by major opposition parties and 
became widespread leading to the imposition of President’s rule in the 
state.  The opposition parties demanded fresh elections to the state 
legislature. Morarji Desai, a prominent leader of Congress (O), who 
was the main rival of Indira Gandhi when he was in the Congress,  
announced that he would go on an indefinite fast if fresh elections 
were not held in the State. Under intense pressure from students, 
supported by the opposition political parties, assembly elections were 
held in Gujarat in June 1975. The Congress was defeated in this 
election. 
In March 1974 students came together in Bihar to protest against 
rising prices, food scarcity, unemployment and corruption.  After 
a point they invited Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), who had given up 
active politics and was involved in social work, to lead the student 
movement. He accepted it on the condition that the movement will 
remain non-violent and will not limit itself to Bihar. Thus the students’ 
movement assumed a political character and had national appeal. 
People from all walks of life now entered 
the movement.  Jayaprakash Narayan 
demanded the dismissal of the Congress 
government in Bihar and gave a call for 
total revolution in the social, economic 
and political spheres in order to establish 
what he considered to be true democracy. 
A series of bandhs, gehraos, and strikes 
were organised in protest against the 
Bihar government. The government, 
however, refused to resign. 
                 Sampoorna Kranti 
ab nara hai, bhavi itihas 
hamara hai [With Total 
Revolution as our motto, the 
future belongs to us]
 
 
 
A slogan of the Bihar 
movement, 1974
“
“
                  Indira is India, 
India is Indira
A slogan given by  
D. K. Barooah, President of the 
Congress, 1974
“
“
Poor 
people must have 
had a tough time. What 
happened to the promise 
of garibi hatao?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
The Crisis of Democratic Order                                               105  
The Naxalite Movement
In 1967 a peasant uprising took place in the Naxalbari police station area of 
Darjeeling hills district in West Bengal under the leadership of the local cadres 
of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Beginning from the Naxalbari police 
station, the peasant movement spread to several states of India and came to 
be referred broadly as the Naxalite movement.  In 1969, they broke off from the  
CPI (M) and a new party, Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML), was 
formed under the leadership of Charu Majumdar. It argued that democracy in 
India was a sham and decided to adopt a strategy of protracted guerrilla warfare 
in order to lead to a revolution.  
The Naxalite movement has 
used force to snatch land from 
the rich landowners and give it 
to the poor and the landless. Its 
supporters advocated the use of 
violent means to achieve their 
political goals. In spite of the use 
of preventive detention and other 
strong measures adopted by the 
West Bengal government run by 
the Congress party, the Naxalite 
movement did not come to an end. In later years, it spread to many other parts 
of the country. The Naxalite movement has by now splintered into various 
parties and organisations. Some of these parties, like the CPI – ML (Liberation) 
participate in open, democratic politics.
Currently about 75 districts in nine States are affected by Naxalite violence.   
Most of these are very backward areas inhabited by Adivasis.  In these areas the 
sharecroppers, under-tenants and 
small cultivators are denied their 
basic rights with regard to security 
of tenure or their share in produce, 
payment of fair wages etc.  Forced 
labour, expropriation of resources 
by outsiders and exploitation by 
moneylenders are also common 
in these areas.  These conditions 
lead to the growth of the Naxalite 
movement. 
Governments have taken stern 
measures in dealing with the 
Naxalite movement. Human 
right activists have criticised 
the government for violating 
constitutional norms in dealing 
with the Naxalites. Many thousand people have lost their lives in the violence by 
the Naxalites and the anti-Naxalite violence by the government. 
Charu Majumdar  
(1918-1972): Communist 
revolutionary and the 
leader of the Naxalbari 
uprising;  participated in 
the Tebhaga movement 
before independence; left 
the CPI and  founded the 
Communist Party of India 
(Marxist-Leninist); believed 
in the Maoist path of peasant rebellion and 
defended revolutionary violence; died in police 
custody.
The Crisis of Democratic Order                                               105  
2015-16(21/01/2015)
Page 5


In this chapter…
We have seen in the last chapter that the Congress recovered after 
1971, but was not the same kind of party. The difference became 
clear in a series of events between 1973 and 1975 that brought new 
challenges to India’s democratic politics and the institutional balance 
sought by the Constitution. These developments led to the imposition of 
‘emergency’ in June 1975. Normally, we would associate ‘emergency’ 
with war and aggression or with natural disaster. But this ‘emergency’ 
was imposed because of the perceived threat of internal disturbance. 
The Emergency ended as dramatically as it had begun, resulting in a 
defeat of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections of 1977. 
In this chapter we focus on this crucial phase in the history of democracy 
in India and ask some questions that have remained controversial after 
all these years.
•	 Why 	 was	Emergency	imposed?	Was	it	 necessary?
•	 What 	did	the	imposition	of	Emergency 	mean	in	practice?
•	 What	were	 the	consequences	of	Emergency 	on	party	politics?
•	 What 	are	the	lessons	of	Emergency 	for	Indian	democracy?
The editorial page of 
‘Nai Dunia’ of 27 June 
1975  was like any other 
day, except that the 
space for editorial was 
left blank. The editorial 
was “censored” using 
emergency powers. 
Many other newspapers 
also carried such blank 
spaces–sometimes 
to protest against 
emergency. Later, leaving 
blank space was also 
banned.
2015-16(21/01/2015)
6
chapter
the crisis of 
Democratic orDer
Background to Emergency
We have already studied the changes that were taking place in Indian 
politics since 1967. Indira Gandhi had emerged as a towering leader 
with tremendous popularity. This was also the period when party 
competition became bitter and polarised. This period also witnessed 
tensions in the relationship between the government and the judiciary. 
The Supreme Court found many initiatives of the government to be 
violative of the Constitution. The Congress party took the position 
that this stand of the Court was against principles of democracy 
and parliamentary supremacy. The Congress also alleged that the 
Court was a conservative institution and it was becoming an obstacle 
in the way of implementing pro-poor welfare programmes. The 
parties opposed to the Congress felt that politics was becoming too 
personalised and that governmental authority was being converted 
into personal authority. The split in the Congress had sharpened the 
divisions between Indira Gandhi and her opponents. 
Economic context
In the elections of 1971, Congress had given the slogan 
of garibi hatao (remove poverty). However, the social and 
economic condition in the country did not improve much 
after 1971-72. The Bangladesh crisis had put a heavy strain 
on India’s economy. About eight million people crossed over 
the East Pakistan border into India. This was followed by war 
with Pakistan.  After the war the U.S government stopped all 
aid to India. In the international market, oil prices increased 
manifold during this period.  This led to an all-round increase 
in prices of commodities.  Prices increased by 23 per cent in 
1973 and 30 per cent in 1974.  Such a high level of inflation 
caused much hardship to the people. 
Industrial growth was low and unemployment was 
very high, particularly in the rural areas.  In order to 
reduce expenditure the government froze the salaries of 
its employees.  This caused further dissatisfaction among 
government employees. Monsoons failed in 1972-1973. This 
resulted in a sharp decline in agricultural productivity.  Food 
grain output declined by 8 per cent. There was a general 
atmosphere of dissatisfaction with the prevailing economic 
Credit: Abu
PM says
2015-16(21/01/2015)
104                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
situation all over the country. In such a context non-Congress 
opposition parties were able to organise popular protests effectively.  
Instances of students’ unrests that had persisted from the late 1960s 
became more pronounced in this period. There was also an increase 
in the activities of Marxist groups who did not believe in parliamentary 
politics.  These groups had taken to arms and insurgent techniques 
for the overthrow of the capitalist order and the established political 
system. Known as the Marxist-Leninist (now Maoist) groups or 
Naxalites, they were particularly strong in West Bengal, where the 
State government took stringent measures to suppress them. 
Gujarat and Bihar movements
Students’ protests in Gujarat and Bihar, both of which were Congress 
ruled States, had far reaching impact on the politics of the two States 
and national politics.  In January 1974 students in Gujarat started 
an agitation against rising prices of food grains, cooking oil and 
other essential commodities, and against corruption in high places. 
The students’ protest was joined by major opposition parties and 
became widespread leading to the imposition of President’s rule in the 
state.  The opposition parties demanded fresh elections to the state 
legislature. Morarji Desai, a prominent leader of Congress (O), who 
was the main rival of Indira Gandhi when he was in the Congress,  
announced that he would go on an indefinite fast if fresh elections 
were not held in the State. Under intense pressure from students, 
supported by the opposition political parties, assembly elections were 
held in Gujarat in June 1975. The Congress was defeated in this 
election. 
In March 1974 students came together in Bihar to protest against 
rising prices, food scarcity, unemployment and corruption.  After 
a point they invited Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), who had given up 
active politics and was involved in social work, to lead the student 
movement. He accepted it on the condition that the movement will 
remain non-violent and will not limit itself to Bihar. Thus the students’ 
movement assumed a political character and had national appeal. 
People from all walks of life now entered 
the movement.  Jayaprakash Narayan 
demanded the dismissal of the Congress 
government in Bihar and gave a call for 
total revolution in the social, economic 
and political spheres in order to establish 
what he considered to be true democracy. 
A series of bandhs, gehraos, and strikes 
were organised in protest against the 
Bihar government. The government, 
however, refused to resign. 
                 Sampoorna Kranti 
ab nara hai, bhavi itihas 
hamara hai [With Total 
Revolution as our motto, the 
future belongs to us]
 
 
 
A slogan of the Bihar 
movement, 1974
“
“
                  Indira is India, 
India is Indira
A slogan given by  
D. K. Barooah, President of the 
Congress, 1974
“
“
Poor 
people must have 
had a tough time. What 
happened to the promise 
of garibi hatao?
2015-16(21/01/2015)
The Crisis of Democratic Order                                               105  
The Naxalite Movement
In 1967 a peasant uprising took place in the Naxalbari police station area of 
Darjeeling hills district in West Bengal under the leadership of the local cadres 
of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Beginning from the Naxalbari police 
station, the peasant movement spread to several states of India and came to 
be referred broadly as the Naxalite movement.  In 1969, they broke off from the  
CPI (M) and a new party, Communist Party (Marxist-Leninist) (CPI-ML), was 
formed under the leadership of Charu Majumdar. It argued that democracy in 
India was a sham and decided to adopt a strategy of protracted guerrilla warfare 
in order to lead to a revolution.  
The Naxalite movement has 
used force to snatch land from 
the rich landowners and give it 
to the poor and the landless. Its 
supporters advocated the use of 
violent means to achieve their 
political goals. In spite of the use 
of preventive detention and other 
strong measures adopted by the 
West Bengal government run by 
the Congress party, the Naxalite 
movement did not come to an end. In later years, it spread to many other parts 
of the country. The Naxalite movement has by now splintered into various 
parties and organisations. Some of these parties, like the CPI – ML (Liberation) 
participate in open, democratic politics.
Currently about 75 districts in nine States are affected by Naxalite violence.   
Most of these are very backward areas inhabited by Adivasis.  In these areas the 
sharecroppers, under-tenants and 
small cultivators are denied their 
basic rights with regard to security 
of tenure or their share in produce, 
payment of fair wages etc.  Forced 
labour, expropriation of resources 
by outsiders and exploitation by 
moneylenders are also common 
in these areas.  These conditions 
lead to the growth of the Naxalite 
movement. 
Governments have taken stern 
measures in dealing with the 
Naxalite movement. Human 
right activists have criticised 
the government for violating 
constitutional norms in dealing 
with the Naxalites. Many thousand people have lost their lives in the violence by 
the Naxalites and the anti-Naxalite violence by the government. 
Charu Majumdar  
(1918-1972): Communist 
revolutionary and the 
leader of the Naxalbari 
uprising;  participated in 
the Tebhaga movement 
before independence; left 
the CPI and  founded the 
Communist Party of India 
(Marxist-Leninist); believed 
in the Maoist path of peasant rebellion and 
defended revolutionary violence; died in police 
custody.
The Crisis of Democratic Order                                               105  
2015-16(21/01/2015)
106                                                                 Politics in India since Independence
The movement was beginning to 
influence national politics. Jayaprakash 
Narayan wanted to spread the Bihar 
movement to other parts of the 
country. Alongside the agitation led by 
Jayaprakash Narayan, the employees of 
the Railways gave a call for a nationwide 
strike. This threatened to paralyse the 
country. In 1975, JP led a peoples’ 
march to the Parliament. This was one 
of the largest political rallies ever held 
in the capital. He was now supported 
by the non-Congress opposition parties 
like the Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the  
Congress (O), the Bharatiya Lok Dal, the 
Socialist Party and others. These parties 
were projecting JP as an alternative to 
Indira Gandhi. However, there were many 
criticisms about his ideas and about the 
politics of mass agitations that he was 
employing. Both the Gujarat and Bihar 
Loknayak 
Jayaprakash 
Narayan (JP)  
(1902-1979): A 
marxist in his youth; 
founder general 
secretary of the 
Congress Socialist 
Party and the Socialist Party; a hero of the 1942 
Quit India movement; declined to join Nehru’s 
cabinet; after 1955 quit active politics; became 
a Gandhian and was involved in the Bhoodan 
movement, negotiations with the Naga rebels, 
peace initiative in Kashmir and ensured the 
surrender of decoits in Chambal; leader of Bihar 
movement, he became the symbol of opposition to 
Emergency and was the moving force behind the 
formation of Janata Party.
Credit: R. K. Laxman in The Times of India, 16 April 1974
2015-16(21/01/2015)
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