The myLaw Blog

Memories Of A Surrender (2015) – reflections about the Emergency

Since the time of its inception, has worked on building a video archive of memories about India’s legal profession. In the process of interviewing some of our subjects – senior advocates and Supreme Court judges, we became aware of the immense shadow cast over the entire legal system by the Emergency.

Deep hurt about the Supreme Court’s abdication of its constitutional responsibility predominated their memories about the 21-month period between 1975 and 1977. But there was also a great deal of pride in some acts of brave dissent.

The educational potential of collective memory is immense. These memories about a dark period in our nation’s history should not fade. They should continue to influence our view of the professional and constitutional responsibilities of all lawyers.

On the fortieth anniversary of Indira Gandhi’s proclamation of Emergency, we bring you some of these memories that we were privileged to archive. Memories Of A Surrender is a short film that presents footage from interviews with former judges P.N. Bhagwati and V.R. Krishna Iyer and senior advocates Soli Sorabjee, Ram Jethmalani, Ashok Desai, and Raju Ramachandran.

Click on this image to watch the video

Update on June 15, 2017:

On the solemn occasion of the death of Justice P.N. Bhagwati who played such a pivotal role in the history of Indian constitutional law, we present to you the entire interview we conducted with him in which he spoke to us at length about his life, work, thoughts and opinions on law and the legal profession, and most famously, apologised unconditionally for his part in the infamous Habeas Corpus Case (ADM Jabalpur v. S.S. Shukla AIR 1976 SC 1207) judgment:

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