Monday, May 14, 2012

60 years of Parliament

Seldom a newspaper like Times of India presents collection of facts, some serious and sensible stuff for readers. All and most other times, it is full of advertisements which come in bigger doses on special days like Mother's day, Friendship's day and Akshaya Trithiya etc.

I have always expressed displeasure at reading TOI. The Hindu, Bangalore edition fails to impress me, being nowhere close to the Chennai edition I grew up reading. Both Deccan Chronicle and Deccan Herald cover national news in a myopic manner. Given the junk that gets published in a well pronounced fashion in TOI, Bangalore in form of Bangalore Times and many glossy supplements, I think the decision to resort to other options is just around the corner.

Anyways, May 13, 2012 saw completion of 60 years of Indian Parliament and there was some information to take back from page 16 of the day's print - Sunday Times, Bangalore.
Ramachandra Guha, in his book - India after Gandhi describes how many felt India would never work as parliamentary democracy given differences were wide and occurred in many categories than similarities that actually could bind a nation together, that too a nation fresh from severe partition woes. If we were to argue on whether we have succeeded as a democracy and squashed many wrong notions, whether we really deserve to be applauded as the world's largest democracy etc - it would take publishing many more books; more analyses from historians like Guha and daily debates on news channels for years together.

There are many times where you feel the country has failed miserably as a democracy, it is only a banana republic. There are very few occasions where you may concede to believing that the scenario is not so bleak. I am writing this post on my blog only to make an entry of some important facts I garnered from reading the newspaper Times of India, Bangalore, dated May 13, 2012.

The House Story  
Parliament house was originally known as Council House. 
It was planned initially to be a part of Rashtrapati Bhavan. 
It was decided that this building will be the Indian Parliament in 1919 Montague-Chelmsford Reforms. 

The building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker, various designs - from triangular to colosseum Rome like were thought over before finalizing upon the circular design. 

The Parliament has 200 pillars, foundation stone laid in 1921 by Prince Arthur, it uses black marble in columns of chambers brought from Gaya, white marble for lining walls in the library from Makrana, teak for doors from Assam and Burma, rosewood from South India and pale and red Dholpur sandstone. 

The building was inaugurated on Jan 18, 1927 and it was on May 13, 1952 that the Parliament had its first sitting. 

What's special for 60 years of Parliament? 
Release of a stamp and a coin to commemorate the day. 
Joint sitting of the house in Central Hall at 5 pm. 
Veteran parliamentarians honoring ceremony presided over by President Prathiba Patil where - Rishang Keishing (92 yrs) stands out as the oldest Rajya Sabha member, the only sitting MP until day, a veteran Naga leader, he was elected to the first Lok Sabha (1952-57). 
Also, Reshamlal Jhange from Bilaspur (Chattisgarh), aged 88 years will be honored. 

Other important points discussed in the article in TOI 
The first LS has 22 lady members. 
The Parlimentary proceedings were televised for the first time during 1991-96 with Shivraj Patil as the speaker. 
The Parliament faces a terrorist attack on Dec 13, 2001. 
Many low points in parliamentary proceedings are also discussed in the newspaper in this article, many of these lows occuring during the tenure of Indira Gandhi as the PM - the time when corruption brewed in legislation without adulteration and in no dilution. 

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