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June 25: From Emergency to cricket World Cup, a date India never forgets

While former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi had imposed a draconian Emergency on this date in 1975 that lasted for nearly two years, the Indian cricket team had lifted the cricket World Cup on the same day in 1983.

Former India captain Kapil Dev holds aloft the trophy on the balcony after the 1983 Cricket World Cup final match in which his team beat the West Indies at Lord’s, London, England on June 25, 1983 (Photo by Allsport/Hulton Archive/Getty Images) and former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi (Photo by Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

By: Shubham Ghosh

JUNE 25 a significant date in the history of independent India. The day brings with it a mixed emotion as it saw both the low and the high in the journey of the country, which became independent on August 15, 1947.

In 1975, June 25 marked a black day as the government of India led by then prime minister Indra Gandhi imposed an Emergency across the country. It was just days after a court declared Gandhi guilty of electoral malpractices and she was debarred from holding any elected post that the declaration was made.

An order was issued by then Indian president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed on June 25 under Article 352 of the country’s Constitution under which an Emergency can be announced by the president of India due to any armed rebellion, war or any other external aggression.

Gandhi had told the nation on radio, “The President has declared an Emergency. There is no need to panic.” But several leaders of the opposition were imprisoned and jailed and the media were censored. The common citizens also found their fundamental rights curtailed.

The Emergency went on for 21 months before it was lifted in March 1977, ending what is called the darkest period in the journey of the world’s largest democracy. Gandhi then called another election but she was voted out of power, which marked the first time that India’s Congress party had lost power for the first time in 30 years. The coalition government that replaced Gandhi’s government, however, did not last long and he was back to power in 1980 and continued till her assassination in 1984.

On Tuesday (25), as the country recalled the Emergency on its 49th anniversary, prime minister Narendra Modi taunted the Congress, which is now in the opposition and accuses his government of trying to subvert the Constitution.

In a series of posts on social media X, the PM targeted the Congress saying the ones who imposed the Emergency “have no right to profess their love for our Constitution”.

It was only on Monday (24) that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, grandson of Indira Gandhi, targeted Modi and home minister Amit Shah accusing them of attacking the Constitution. Speaking at the inaugural session of the new Lok Sabha after the general elections, he said the opposition would not tolerate such actions.

“No power can touch the Constitution,” Gandhi told reporters while displaying a copy of the Constitution as a symbol of defiance. MPs of the opposition Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance bloc also gathered in the parliament complex holding copies of the Constitution and sloganeering for the preservation of democracy.

India won cricket World Cup 1983

However, June 25 marked another major development for India eight years after the imposition of the Emergency and this time, it was an experience to relish. The Indian cricket team, led by legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev, went on to defeat the mighty West Indies captained by Clive Lloyd by 43 runs in the final of the World Cup in Lord’s, England, to lift the crown for the first time ever. Indira Gandhi was the prime minister of India then.

India were by no means a strong side those days but yet the team, called ‘Kapil’s Devils’, made the feat a reality and it is still remembered with joy by the people of India. One of the top moments of that World Cup was Kapil’s 175 not out scored against Zimbabwe in a match that helped his team turn the tables from a precarious position and make a significant step towards winning the trophy.

Former allrounder Mohinder Amarnath was adjudged the player of the match in both the semifinal and final of the tournament.

India went on to replicate the feat 28 years later when they won the trophy for the second time at home under the leadership of Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

On Tuesday, the Indian cricket board — Board of Control for Cricket in India — remembered the 41st anniversary of the achievement to post on X, “#OnThisDay in 1983! A historic victory & a landmark moment for Indian cricket #TeamIndia led by @therealkapildev, were crowned champions for the very first time as they clinched the World Cup title.”

June 25 also remains a day of sorrow for the global music fraternity as Michael Jackson, the iconic pop star, passed away in the US in 2009 at the age of 50.

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