Kuldip Nayar – The Editor Who Refused To Bend During The Emergency  


What happened the night you were arrested?

There was a knock on my door at midnight. I thought they’d come to conduct a search, so I said “Look around.” But then they clarified that they had come to arrest me.

So, straight away, I went to the fridge, took out two mangoes and ate them. I’m so fond of them and I knew I wouldn’t get them for a long time. I finally said goodbye to my family and was taken to the Tughlaq Road police station.

At the police station, an IPS officer touched my feet and said he’d read my book ‘Distant Neighbors’ and thought of me as his guru. He told me, “Sir, you’re entitled to breakfast and I will get you a five-star hotel breakfast”. Hotel Ashoka was nearby, so I said, “Let me have it”.

While leaving for Tihar, the police van refused to budge. Its battery was down. So the person who had come to arrest me said, “Sir do you mind pushing the van with us?”

So I also pushed the van to jump start it and was taken to Tihar jail. My two big concerns were the food and accommodation. The food we got was dal. It was full of flies. I told them I couldn’t eat dal full of flies. They told me there was nothing else.

I was sharing the jail cell with a Jan Sangh member, who said, “You eat the dal and then I’ll give you pickle to eat.”

A few days went by and I stopped minding the flies. I would just pick them out and eat.


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