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Ramdev, Kejriwal and our parliamentarians

India needs a spring-cleaning to make ours a working democracy. Corruption that has eaten into the very heart of India is based on this fall in character of individuals who man the four wings of democracy

“We'd all like to vote for the best man but he's never a candidate"Kim Hubbard

Ramdev is reported to have said that “inside our parliament are seated some who are… etc”. Similarly some time back Arvind Kejriwal, social activist Anna Hazare’s right hand, is reported to have said that: “there (inside the parliament) sit some of the country’s…!” Both have not said that our parliament is …! These statements seem to have provoked our parliamentarians to come to the wrong conclusion that they both were lowering the dignity of the parliament. Dignity is defined in the dictionary as “nobility, elevation of character; worthiness.” I wonder how individual parliamentarians could uphold the dignity of the House unless they deserve to be worthy of their office? My simple language skills tell me that the above two tormentors had only belittled some of the members of the House and not the House or the institution of democracy by any stretch of imagination. 

They could be wrong or right. That is not the point of debate. Any Indian who is alive to what goes on in this country should be aware that all is not well with our powers that be, whether they are parliamentarians or state legislators. Thanks to the electronic media, their histrionics inside the “dignified” House show to the wide world how badly they behave. Even in the mother of democracies in Britain there have been bad words used against members of the parliament but couched in very sophisticated English. While the following words have been deemed unparliamentary over time in the House of Commons like blackguard, coward, git, guttersnipe, hooligan, hypocrite, ignoramus, liar, pipsqueak, rat, swine, stoolpigeon, tart and traitor, Winston Churchill used to call opposition members liars by using his cleverness of a Nobel Laureate for English literature’s language thus:  “terminological inexactitude” as a substitute for “lie”.  Furthermore, 'sod', 'slimy', 'wart', accusations of “crooked deals” or insinuation of the use of banned substances by a member are also considered unparliamentary language.

Our netas should remember that democracy is not a caucus, using the fixed term obtained by false promises before the elections and then doing what they want to do with the people. There should be a constant relationship and dialogue between the people who elected them and the legislators. Then only it becomes a democracy with dignity. Otherwise it becomes, as someone once wrote, “the government off the people, (to) buy the people and far (from) the people!Netas should also remember that “one cannot make men good by an Act of Parliament,” as written by Walter Bagehot.  

Winston Churchill regarded himself as the servant of the House of Commons. He never equated himself with the House of Commons! When someone called him names, Churchill did not ever say that the dignity of the House of Commons was at stake but he knew how to pay the accuser in his/her own coin. Churchill trusted the ‘people’ but was entirely committed to electoral equality. He, however, thought that legislation and administration should be in the hands of those able to lead the country. When Roosevelt personally requested him to give independence to India just before the Second World War, Churchill politely told him that the time is not ripe as he thought that if India gets independence “it would be ruled by goons.” Was Churchill a master astrologer? Roosevelt was not being kind to India. Before signing a treaty to join Britain against Hitler’s Germany, Roosevelt wanted to assuage the feelings of American anti-British mood. Roosevelt wanted to show to his people that it is better to join a true democracy like Britain which has given freedom to its colonies than to join a dictator like Hitler!

The right thing for our leaders to do, after the outbursts of Ramdev and Kejriwal, would have been to rebut them with ready wit and humour but try and introspect to see if there is some hidden truth in their statements. Methinks both of those tormentors wanted to help our parliamentarians based on the saying that “he has a right to criticise who has a heart to help.” The common man in India knows that all is not well with our democratic system as there is so much poverty in the country with consequent ignorance that any clever person could get elected easily with money and muscle power. Naturally, one cannot presume that simply because someone has got elected s/he becomes a saint, nor is it true that the person got elected because he deserves to be in the parliament.  

“Man” said Shakespeare, “whether in palace or pad; Castle or cottage, is governed by the same passions and emotions.” How true? They should remember that even if they are sitting inside the dignified parliament they are still sitting on their own bottoms! “Time has come to talk of many things”, Walrus said “of cabbages and Kings”...and Indian legislators. Let a national debate begin with this incident and let the nation stand up to our netas to ask them to cleanse their stables first before pointing fingers at others. Exceptions only prove the rule. There are occasional good souls inside the legislature who are probably keeping up the ‘dignity’ of the House. No outside barbs could ever lower the dignity of the House if all those inside were honest, dignified and true to their conscience, if they had one.

Human psychology tells us that one gets angry usually when one finds some truth in what the other man says. To give an example, if I know that I am monkey and behave as if I am one, I need not get angry when some one calls me a monkey. If, on the other hand, knowing that I am a monkey, I pretend to be a tiger, I am always stressed to hide my true identity lest someone should see through my mask. When that happens I get mad at the person who has found out the truth! The debate needs to be extended to all other wings of democracy like the media, the judiciary and the bureaucracy. There is stench even there in plenty. India needs a thorough spring-cleaning to make ours a working democracy. Corruption that has eaten into the very heart of India is based on this fall in character of individuals who man these four wings of democracy. 

That said, I must admit that even in the mother of democracies like Britain aberrations do occur inside the legislatures. So we have to evolve as we go along but, a start must be made now as we have almost reached the lowest level of human values in our country and cannot go lower than this.

“Parliament is a deliberate assembly of one nation, with one interest, that of the whole; where, not local purpose, not local prejudices ought to guide but the general good, resulting from the general reason of the whole"Edmund Burke

(Professor Dr BM Hegde, a Padma Bhushan awardee in 2010, is an MD, PhD, FRCP (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow & Dublin), FACC and FAMS. He is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Science of Healing Outcomes, chairman of the State Health Society’s Expert Committee, Govt of Bihar, Patna. He is former vice-chancellor of Manipal University at Mangalore and former professor for cardiology of the Middlesex Hospital Medical School, University of London. Prof Dr Hegde can be contacted at [email protected])




Nagesh Kini FCA

4 years ago

It is rightly said that people living in glass houses shouldn't throw stones at others.
Ramdev, rightly called Sarkari Sadhu then, entered into talks with GOI ministers at IGI aiport and Imperial Hotel at Delhi, Bedi got embroiled in the Travel expenses reimbursement, Kejriwal deposits IAC collections in his trust bank account when he could have got a separate account without difficulty, he doesn't want to make out a listing of collections and payments, blames the auditors, Prashant Bhushan vents his 'personal opinion' on a sensitive issue of Kashmir, his father Shanti Bhushan has to be ordered by the Court to pay up evaded crores in stamp duty on property purchase.Fortunately, Justice Hegde is untainted.
The Team Anna track record is blemished and its sheen wearing off.
This has become a case of the pot calling the kettle black!



In Reply to Nagesh Kini FCA 4 years ago

Theres something even more sinister Im not sure how correct this information ,thats for youto decide It has come from a website called beyond headlines dot in ................. Kabir is a NGO run jointly by Kejriwal and Manaish Sisodiya questioned In reply to an RTI query that the funding and expenditure of Kabir, the organisation has disclosed that they have received funds from the Ford Foundation (Rs 86,61,742), PRIA (Rs 2,37,035), Manjunath Shanmugam Trust (Rs 3,70,000), Dutch Embassy (Rs 19,61,968), Association for India’s Development (Rs 15,00,000), India’s friends Association (Rs 7,86,500), United Nationals Development Programme (Rs12,52,742) while Rs 11,35,857 were collected from individual donations between 2007 to 2010.
Interestingly, a major part of the funding to an organisation that is prominent in the “War against corruption” has come from abroad and mainly from the United States. Apar from the UNDP, Ford Foundation and the India Friends Association are US-based organisations, while PRIA and Association for India’s Development are headquartered in Asia.The Ford Foundation allegedly has links with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)


In Reply to Nagesh Kini FCA 4 years ago

The point is that the kettle is black. Let everyone know that. The pots are immaterial. It is the kettle which is ruling us and is answerable to all the pots

Regulating investment advisors will benefit industry: SEBI

SEBI's move is aimed at addressing conflicts of interest in distribution of financial product

Mumbai:  The proposed regulation of investment advisors will benefit the industry once enforced, a senior Securities and Exchange Board (SEBI) official said on Friday, reports PTI.

"Once the regulation of investment advisors comes into effect, the industry will benefit," SEBI deputy general manager Maninder Cheema said while addressing a seminar on 'Future of career in financial planning,' organised by the Financial Planning Standards Board.

In a move aimed at addressing conflicts of interest in distribution of financial products, the SEBI had issued a concept paper to regulate investment advisors last September.

The capital markets regulator intends to keep a check on investment advisors through the self-regulatory organisation (SRO) route.

The proposed regulatory framework is on the activity of providing investment advisory services in general, not limited to securities, insurance and pension funds.

Addressing the meeting, Reserve Bank General Manager DG Kale said, "While the regulators take care of three 'I's ( instruments, infrastructure and investors) the fourth 'I' (individuals) needs to be addressed by professional financial planning bodies such as the FPSB promoting CFP certification, in terms of building the right knowledge base for ensuring that investors meet their needs in a holistic and ethical manner."

FPSB India vice-chairman Ranjeet S Mudholkar said, "Financial planning profession has gained credence to be recognised as a distinct profession across the world in the personal finance domain, and CFP certification is now widely accepted as the global mark of excellence in financial planning. We now need a more collaborative effort amongst all stakeholders to take forward the financial planning movement ahead in the country."


Parrikar takes on Election Commission over induction of new minister

While the Goa chief minister is firm on inducting Alina Saldanha as new minister, the EC feels that it would hamper the upcoming bypoll in Cortalim where Ms Saldanha would be the BJP candidate

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar and the Election Commission (EC) are at loggerheads over the proposed induction of a new minister in the cabinet, reports PTI.

While Mr Parrikar on Friday said he will induct Alina Saldanha in the cabinet, the state chief electoral officer has asked the chief secretary to defer the induction, as it will affect level-playing field for the Cortalim bypoll.

Ms Alina, wife of former state tourism minister Matanhy Saldanha in Manohar Parrikar-led cabinet, is tipped off to be BJP candidate for forthcoming 2nd June Cortalim by-election necessitated after demise of her husband. She is scheduled to be inducted in the cabinet on 8th May.

"In my opinion, the alleged proposal, if any, tends to project a contesting candidate which would disturb the level playing field," chief electoral officer (CEO) S Kumarswamy has said in his letter to Chief Secretary Sanjay Srivastava.

The CEO has requested that chief secretary to take up with the state government to defer the induction, till bypoll is over.

RTI activist Aires Rodrigues had today lodged a complaint with the Election Commission of India (ECI) claiming that induction of Ms Saldanha amounts to violation of code of conduct.

Earlier in the day, Mr Parrikar, told reporters that Constitution of India empowers him to induct anyone in his cabinet, provided he/she is elected to the house within six months. "The question is whether Constitution is important or Code of Conduct, which is not even a legal document," the chief minister commented.

Responding to the claim that induction would amount to influencing the voters, Mr Parrikar said, "You have to influence the voter when you are contesting an election. What is an election manifesto meant for? Only issue is that one should not take undue advantage."


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