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Photograph: India Abroad Archives
The early 1970s was a period of widespread discontent in India. The war in 1971 and the refugee influx from East Pakistan compounded the inflation, and unemployment and corruption in the government were rife.

Gujarat and Bihar were the most volatile states, with students in the forefront of the agitation. Jayaprakash Narayan in Bihar led the anti-government rallies.

He believed the youth will usher in social change and announced that the moment for 'total revolution' had come.

The Congress government in Gujarat resigned in 1974, and in the fresh elections, the party was routed.

It dawned upon Indira and her coterie that power was slowly slipping from her grasp.

The last straw was the Allahabad high court's declaring in June 1975 that Indira's 1971 election victory was invalid, because of the misuse of state power and the government machinery.

The court unseated her and barred her from contesting elections for six years.

Mrs Gandhi, who relied excessively on an inner circle whose protagonist was her younger son Sanjay, imposed the Emergency.

With Article 352 of the Constitution granting the executive extraordinary powers, Mrs Gandhi launched a massive crackdown on civil liberties and political opposition. In her own words, democracy was brought 'to a grinding halt'.

Indira Gandhi leaves Patiala House in Delhi, venue of public hearings into the alleged corruption in her government. 'You thought I wouldn't come out,' she told newsmen gathered outside. She had appeared reluctantly at the hearings and charged through a lawyer that the investigation was a 'political vendetta'.

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