Thursday, December 08, 2005

He 'Speaks' but is Seldom Heard: The Parliament

The post of the Speaker of the Lok Sabha is one of the most prominent positions in the Government of India. The Speaker is supposed to steer the sessions of the Parliament in a way that would give an aura of respectability to the proceedings; in effect, he conducts the debates and discussions that decide the fate of the Nation. When he observes that he is “ashamed” to be in the position, it means that he has, in reality, been reduced to being no more than a desperate constable trying to regulate traffic in an utterly chaotic, totally unregulated market place.

Parliament is no market place but; it is a representation of a nation that prides itself on its cultural values. However, the nation is quite diverse in its constitution indeed. Perhaps, it is this diversity that reflects in the chaos in the House. Possibly, the Speaker hasn’t been equipped with the relevant powers to deal with representations from the variegated backgrounds that the members have come to project.

So, dear Members of the Parliament, we do not blame you. The authors of our Constitution might have merely skipped the sections that were supposed to spell the powers of the Speaker out. We only request you to have some consideration towards the poor chap that keeps yelling at the top of his voice, who is never heard amidst the constant uproar that you create. After all, the people who elected you are under an illusion that you would, one day, make them emerge stronger, healthier. They may be heart broken to find that your Head Master has marked you all with red ink as being below average. And in this Information Age, your school is not a closed room as it was till a few years ago. Your behaviour and your teacher’s remarks are being aired live and your Progress Report is being made available electronically to the whole world. While we do appreciate your enthusiasm in expressing yourselves, please have some respect to the helpless man who has nothing but a chair and a microphone at his disposal. He is only trying to streamline your opinions, helping you grow in the process. Please do not make him feel guilty of doing no justice to his salary.


LAK said...

Only the English(on whose parliament we have modeled ours) could be quirky enough to call the only person who doesn't speak, the speaker! You have at least equated him to a constable trying to regulate traffic-- to my mind he seems like an ineffectual monitor trying to mind the class. The parliament is the place where the behaviour(and probably the language) is most unparliamentary. You said he has only a chair and a microphone at his disposal--one day he'll be tempted to use them to greater effect--by throwing them at the offending MP's! It has already happened, during televised proceedings too! (Tho' not done by the speaker!) Don't you think our MP's are so drunk on power that even the prospect of beeing seen in bad light on TV does not deter them? Where is their dignity?

Mridula said...

I always thought the speaker has a very tough job to do, and whatever little I saw recently due to Volker reports confirms it all the more.