Hey puritans! Slogans of Jai Shri Ram, Mandir Wahin Banayenge in the House thrilled me

I am glad nobody in Parliament pretended to be sanctimonious, neither those who raised the slogans, nor those who sat and did nothing to stop it.

 |  4-minute read |   19-06-2019
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Ignorance is no bliss. It is information that is empowering.

Parliament is no temple (it should be, but it is not) of democracy as they would tell you to trap you into believing that those who make it to Parliament using your vote as an entry ticket are no less than God.

The run-up to the Lok Sabha elections witnessed a campaign that had our politicians at their vitriolic and venomous best. Those who called the killers of Mahatma Gandhi 'desh bhakt', those who spoke about a woman's undergarments in public rallies to jeering crowds, won — and how. They are now in Parliament, raising slogans, teasing fellow Parliamentarians by invoking Ram and Rahim. They did it when they asked for our votes; empowered by our votes, they are now doing it in Parliament.

The pretence is gone. All masks dropped.

lok-690_061919022954.jpgNo, it's not a temple. And those entering Parliament are not gods. (Photo: Reuters)

 When people say one thing and do quite the other, they are playing mind games with you. Our Parliamentarians, on June 18, represented themselves as they were, as they are.

As the newly elected MPs rose to take their oath of office, there was sloganeering and heated exchanges in a no-holds-barred contest between the treasury and opposition benches. The same kind we saw when they asked for our votes. This helps us know they are the same people. They haven't 'reformed' just because our votes, which were cast after hours of standing in queues, should be respected.

While 'Jai Sri Ram' and 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' were heard intermittently during the day, 'Mandir wahin banayenge' was raised after Unnao BJP leader Sakshi Maharaj's swearing-in. Maharaj ended his oath, which he took in chaste Sanskrit, with 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and 'Jai Sri Ram' slogans.

BJP MPs raised 'Jai Shri Ram' slogans in an apparent bid to rile Trinamool Congress MPs as they rose to take their oath. Those from TMC retaliated with chants of 'Jai Durga' and 'Jai Hind'. This is exactly what we witnessed during the elections in West Bengal. Instances of people raising slogans of 'Jai Shri Ram' in front of Mamata Banerjee have risen post-elections; so has Banerjee's anger upon hearing them.

If this can happen outside Parliament, why should people inside pretend to be different?

Our anger at 'decorum destruction' inside Parliament is akin to five-star hotels insisting on a dress code for entry to their premises.

If you can roam around in floaters across Europe, why not a five-star hotel? If you can get into a slogan slugfest outside Parliament, why not inside?

People are people. To expect them to change, based on where they are, is prompting them to be hypocrites.

All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) leader Asaduddin Owaisi has faced scathing attacks from his opponents based on his religious identity. So, when he got up to take his oath as a Lok Sabha member, he was 'attacked' with slogans of Jai Shri Ram. Owaisi is known to wear his identity on his sleeve, so he walked up to the well of the House, prompting the sloganeers to go louder, took his oath and 'gave it right back' with a Allahu Akbar.

The ugly spats that took place across India during the campaign spilled over into Parliament on June 18.

What about Parliamentary sanctity?

Now, Parliamentary sanctity is a mental construct. With wads of currency notes flashed inside the House, with women being verbally molested inside the House, with the marginalised being mocked inside the House, 'Parliament's sanctity' only existed in our heads — as utopian an idea as the Promised Land.

I am glad nobody in Parliament pretended to be sanctimonious now — neither those who raised the slogans, nor those who sat and did nothing to stop it.

We at least know who we voted for.

[PS: In the interest of Parliamentary sanctity, pro-tem Speaker Virendra Kumar did say that nothing being said in Parliament apart from the oaths being read out would go on record. Let's now not pretend that it did not happen — because it is not on record.]

Also read: Muzaffarpur AES deaths: How callous political leaders are compounding a cruel tragedy


Vandana Vandana @vandana5

Author is assistant editor DailyO.

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