Monday, May 12, 2008

A Visit to Democracy; or the Symbol of it: Part I

The time was 11 AM on the 5th of May. The heat in Delhi was unforgiving but 92 officers got formally dressed up, ladies in their saris and gentlemen in their black Band galas (our ceremonial dress) and started their day in the capital. We were having our attachment with the citadel of Indian democracy, our Parliament.

The parliament has a special bureau that specializes in research and training about parliament and its procedures. It is called Bureau of Parliamentary Studies (BPST). It runs courses for first time MP’s and all others who are stakeholders in our democracy. We were attached with BPST for a five day course.

After an hour’s journey we reached the parliament and entered the BPST after a multilayered security checking. The schedule for the day was to begin our course by watching a live session in the house. So after a small briefing, we proceeded towards the Lok Sabha.

While walking in the corridors of parliament, I was having multitude of thoughts. This was the system I stood for; this was the place where the fate of our nation is given shape. In the Kaleidoscope of time I saw Viceroys walking, our parliamentarians of British India giving speeches and then Nehru delivering his ‘tryst with destiny’.

Lost in these musings, I reached the visitor’s gallery of Lok Sabha. My first reaction was, Lok Sabha is so small! It was smaller than any auditorium and looked like a congested classroom. The press gallery was just above the speakers whereas the Visitor’s gallery was at the remaining periphery. MP’s were entering the house and taking the seats allotted to them. They were cracking jokes, having cross talks and some were making strange salutations to introduce humor in the house.

I spotted Dr. Manmohan Singh, Sharad Pawar, Pranab Mukherjee, Advani, Shahnawaj Hussain, Lalu Prasad and many others. The Speaker’s entry was announced and the house resumed order. First the agenda of the house was announced and then Speaker announced that proceedings against the MP’s for unruly behavior in the house shall be stopped. The decision was applauded by all members. Then on some issue regarding an apology, the house went in a pandemonium.

When silence was restored L. K. Advani referring to Pranab Mukherjee and said to the speaker “Sir, I along with the leader of Opposition, Shri Pranab Mukherjee promise full co operation in running of the house”

Speaker instantly shot back “He is anticipating” and the house burst into laughter. After making some other announcements the house was adjourned sine die. The entire thing happened in not more than 15 minutes and to tell you the truth I was awed by seeing so many great personalities.

Here I must also tell you how visitors sit in the gallery. Absolute silence has to be maintained and there are marshals to ensure that. One cannot cross one’s legs as it amounts to showing disrespect to the house. You even cannot put your hands on your friend’s shoulder. Also, visitors are present there as if they do not exist. So they do not rise when the speaker comes, they also do not rise when MP’s and Press rise for the National Song.

We came back to our BPST classroom. After one or two lectures, Speaker Sri Somnath Chaterjee came to formally welcome us for our course and addressed us. A noticeable thing was that he was very humble and apologized three times for coming 2 minutes late.

Our first day ended and we rushed to our hostels to get rid of our Band Galas. Many more things happened during BPST but they shall be blogged in the second part. Come Back :)

12 comments:

Ashish said...

Hi Anurag

Must have been 'some' experience!! I was awed just going by the description...keep going.

So u r getting up close and personal with the 'big shots' of our democracy... ;)!! By the way...did the speaker said anything on day to day activities (read pandemonium) in the house!! :)

Regards
Ashish.

reddy said...

Hi Anurag ji!

Good to see u back after a fortnight or so.A very nice and captivating narration.U simulated the experience of parliament visit through ur narration.

"..they also do not rise when MP’s and Press rise for the National Song." Hmm.. quite interesting, btw whats the logic behind that? Is it only for National song or applicable for National Anthem as well?

Waiting for the next part..

JULIE said...

Awed is an understatement! You sure are lucky!

Let your ideals never be diluted.

I wish you sucess in your chosen path of diplomacy. You will start needing more of it 2 months from now!
Congrats on the good news.

kiran said...

Great post....once again...
Its just the stepping stone....
I believe a visit to Rashtrapati Bhavan & 7,Race Course Road is on the cards.
Some pictures would have been more than welcome.
Regards,
Kiran

Anurag Srivastava said...

@ashish: It you say watching the 'big shots' from a distance is getting personal, I take that :)

Speaker did talk about the pandemonium and he was concerned about the image that it portrays in media. But in reality some serious work in doe in the parliament through its committees.

@reddy: I think the concept is that visitors should in no way distract the house. They are not expected to react in any way to the proceedings of the house. So probably the principle followed is that they are not there, hence how can one rise when he/she is not there.

But even I have my doubts about the National anthem, probably it is not played.

@Julie: Till now I have found no reason to feel that I am not lucky, so I take that.

Hmmm, thanks for the suggestion that diplomacy shall be needed after two months too :)

Kiran: In second part your queries shall be answered. No cameras are allowed inside the Parliament, so I have no pictures. But I may post one or two in the next blog.

CrEaTiVe WrItEr said...

I just checked your new blog. Its all the more interesting! It keeps me going to reach my goals too. Looks like lots of such experiences will keep you occupied all your life. So before you forget, please pen down your bharat darshan chronicles!
i have been an ardent fan of that particular series of yoour writings.

chronicles on...

Apurva.

तुषार वर्मा said...

wow!

anurag.kaushal said...

hi anuarg

i am anurag kaushal
i m prpe for civils my optional r public admin[2nd optonals ] and geography [1st optnl]

i hav done electronics and comm. enginnrrng
2007 pasout

my quetion is ... i have no workex ... after gradution i started prep for IAS.... do this thing going to effect me in my intrview or not????

also help me regading my optionlas ... how do i go about it !!!
wll im thinkig to join some institutte for them!!!
what u sya????

Anurag Rudra said...

It would be futile to compliment you on your writing skills sir.. But let me say just one thing-
A W E S O M E !!

Keep your posts coming sir. I am hungry for more..Yummy!

vidisha said...

Hi Anurag,

Nice brief post.....
Parliament looked like a congested classroom u mentioned....so with same childish acts ??? creating a mess in the class n havoc for the teacher to take control of....still students come out with good results after much efforts...is it the same n how effective is the time for discussions??

Actually they look really skilled to work amid all chaos :)

Karun Bir Singh Sandha said...

Hi

Commander Sahab, story suspense main hi khatam karr de, where is part 2?

manual said...

hai anurag,

I am manual .Read your blog . You r a good writer. keep it up.

manual G
From Delhi