'1976: Key Events

  • Emergency attacks on civil liberties include the Prevention of Publication of Objectional Matter Act, effectively introducing pre-censorship of the press, and the 42nd Amendment, paving the way for a permanent dictatorship.
  • A new National Population Policy is announced by Sanjay Gandhi, aiming to sterilise 23 million people over three years. Between April and September 1976, 3.7 million Indians were sterilised, mostly among the lowest and most oppressed sections of the population, often forcibly in makeshift sterilisation camps.
  • In the Turkman Gate and Jama Masjid neighbourhoods in Delhi, 700,000 people are made homeless by slum clearance and ‘beautification’ programmes.
  • The Constitution’s preamble is amended from ‘Sovereign Democratic Republic’ to ‘Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic’.
  • Food prices stabilise following a good monsoon; the number of days lost in industrial strikes goes down from 6 million between July and September 1974 to 1.56 million between July and September 1975.
  • Doordarshan TV is separated from All-India Radio and is allowed to take advertising.
  • During the Emergency, the Committee on Public Undertakings attacks the FFC’s ‘art-film’ policy because, from Rs 62.5 lakhs disbursed since June 1969 for 30 features, Rs 38.01 lakhs had not been recovered. From the 30 films financed, only 16 were completed and 10 of them ‘have not proved successful at the box office’. The Committee ignores distribution and exhibition, exclusively blaming the films instead. It decrees a series of aesthetic criteria for future film funding, including ‘human interest in theme’, ‘Indianness’ and ‘characters with whom the audience can identify’.
  • Prefiguring the commercialised Doordarshan experiment, the Estimates Committee’s 80th Report (1975-6), states that ‘It should have been apparent to the [C]orporation that films are primarily a means of entertainment and unless the films financed provide good entertainment [t]hey would not be acceptable to the masses. ’ The Report adds that in 1969-70, Indian films worth Rs 4. 35 crore were exported illegally. It also attacks the selection policy of Indian films entered in foreign festivals.
  • The journal Film Blaze starts in Bombay.
  • The negative of Amrit Nahata’s Kissa Kursi Ka (remade 1977), a satire on Emergency rule, is destroyed by Sanjay Gandhi’s representatives.
Last modified 11 years ago Last modified on Feb 8, 2013, 10:11:29 AM