‘Land reforms would not have been implemented without it’

Even though the imposition of the Emergency in 1975 is viewed by many as a “dark chapter” in the country’s history, A.H. Vishwanath, Congress MP, has described it as a “blessing in disguise” for Karnataka.

In his book Apathsthitiya Aalapagalu, Mr. Vishwanath says the implementation of land reforms, that transformed the lives of millions of landless peasants in the State, would not have been possible without the Emergency.

According to him, land reforms changed the condition of agricultural labourers overnight as they became owners of the land they tilled for their landlords for decades.

Land tribunals

As the system of natural justice remained suspended, the implementation of land reforms was out of the purview of High Courts. Land tribunals, headed by an assistant commissioner, were addressing disputes while courts were empowered only to handle review petitions, which too had to be sent back to the tribunals for final adjudication.

Mr. Vishwanath told journalists here on Thursday that enough attention had not been paid to how the Emergency benefited landless tillers.

He recalled that the then Chief Minister D. Devaraj Urs also used the Emergency to implement the 20-point programme of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Positive facets

Mr. Vishwanath said he was not trying to “justify, glorify or condemn the Emergency.” His was only an attempt to bring out a positive facet of the Emergency that hitherto remained hidden.

The former Union Minister S.M. Krishna will release the book at Ravindra Kalakshetra here on Saturday.