By Sunil Dang, Editor-in-Chief
Entering the Parliament is like entering a temple & so is the parliament of India aptly referred to; a temple of democracy. Every lawmaker irrespective of caste, creed, religion or gender begins his or her tenure of service to ‘We the people of India’ by taking an oath that he or she shall bear true faith & allegiance to the constitution of India. The recent oath taking though was an exception. It ushered in a new paradigm, another first in India’s Parliamentary democracy where Lawmakers from across the board would be heard & seen chanting slogans to loud jingoistic cheering or to deep & long booing. Such a cacophony became apart & parcel of the Oath taking ceremony of the newly elected MPs to 17th Lok Sabha. This was avoidable.
“Parliament is supposed to be serious. It’s not a place for jingoistic cheering”. Jeremy Corbyn.
I am left wondering if this was a precursor to what could be a real long drama & theatrics in weeks & months to follow. Flashes of PM Modi bowing down in reverence to the Constitution in the central hall of parliament felt like a reminder of sorts that there was only one religion, one dharma & one diktat to be followed by all lawmakers, the one of abiding by the Constitution of India. Of-course India has elected these parliamentarians for some real meaningful business & for enacting newer laws that make India bigger, brighter & beautiful.
‘We the people’ haven’ tauthorized indiscriminate sloganeering & turning Parliament into an indoor political arena where chants of Jai Shri Ram, Vande Matram, Jai Maa Durga, Jai Hind, Har Har Mahadev &, Om Namah Shivayare met with Allahu Akbar, Jai Bheem, Jai Meem, Bismillah, ar-Rahman, ar Rahim or Jai Mamta. This felt like kindergarten competition for precedence & certainly not the mature, reasoned, rationale behavior of an elected Member of Parliament. End of the day, they all belong to one religion, they have all taken oath under the constitution &have committed themselves to serving the people & hence serving the country. Everything else is frivolous.
Woodrow Wilson famously said, “There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.” Hope our lot can take a cue from these words of wisdom.
It may well have been real tribute to their oath under the constitution & obligation to their electorate, if they had all stood up for a minute of silence to pay their homage to the hundreds of children, who died of acute encephalitis disorder (AED) in Bihar. These innocent souls could represent India one day, become its future & yet government after government has cared precious little to uplift healthcare &ensure that basic treatment is made available to all. It is shocking to know that the hospital where all these children were being treated lacked even the primitive of emergency care, leave aside anything hi-fi. With such an abysmal track record, any celebratory posturing & conduct by lawmakers inside the parliament is hugely hollow, a shame.
Remember Robert Louis Stevenson “We all know what Parliament is, and we are all ashamed of it”.
J & K shall continue to be under President’s rule for another six months. Yet again the hope & anticipation by the common man to see his local representative, listen & deliver shall have to wait. Unless the HM who toured the valley recently was absolutely sure that the extension of President’s rule would bear more dividends & that should also look after the state’s interest & nation’s interest as well, he may better have followed up on the long standing promise of holding elections after the Amarnath yatra had culminated. It is important, that through the Governor, the BJP government at centre maintains a steady rapport with the local population & serve them to their utmost satisfaction & wellbeing. Let there be no more fuel offered to the fire of alienation, so feared.
I must conclude with a hope & prayer that we save as much water as we can& not use copious amounts washing dust, dirt & paint off our Luxurious sedans & SUVs, instead we let a few thirstier the right to clean drinking water. Is the government listening?