Although the allegation that George Fernandes sought CIA funding during the Emergency is without substance, I feel we need not be apologetic and defensive about him. A socialist and fighter, he never reconciled to Indira Gandhi’s Emergency. He did not deny his involvement in the Baroda dynamite case, which he said became inevitable to overthrow a dictator who had destroyed democracy.
He struggled throughout his life for the working class. The railway strike organised by him as president of the All-India Railwaymen’s Federation in 1974 was a great success. He was very much against U.S. imperialism and would have never asked the CIA for money, but his hatred for the Emergency was much deeper.
When Indira Gandhi imposed the Emergency and assumed the powers of a dictator, sent her political opponents to jail, imposed media censorship and curbed the freedom of speech, a few individuals like George Fernandes stood up to her.
He went underground and trained his cadres in using dynamites. While motivating them to use the dynamites, he ensured that no harm was done to people’s lives. It was because of people like him that democracy was restored.