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Topics: castes

A Once and Future Tragedy: India’s sterilization campaign 39 years later



39 years ago today, Indira Gandhi, then Prime Minister of India, received the power to rule by decree from the Indian president. She immediately declared a state of emergency, suspending numerous civil liberties. This freed her government to forcibly sterilize millions of Indian men and women in the 21 months that followed. Public officials mobilized en masse to meet statewide sterilization targets. The sterilizations that followed were carried out under so-called “compul-suasion,” (a combination of …

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