The opening Day of the Maharashtra State Assembly, yesterday, saw scenes which took me back many many years. About 45 to be precise.
The children in our locality were on their guard against a particular fellow. He didn't like to be crossed, and almost always got his way on the common playing grounds frequented by us. He was kind of big for his age, and a smile would play across his face when he spied someone getting uncomfortable around him. His language was intimidatory, we heard words whose meanings we didn't know and were afraid to ask, and as he got older he associated with what are often described in India as lumpen elements. His speciality was threatening children who cribbed about him in school. A lot of teachers tried but gave up reforming him, hoping he would be forced to leave school, either for his very poor academic performance, or for proof of undesirable activities.
Many such uncontrollable individuals exist across all strata of society today. For many such folks, there has been missing or unwilling parental guidance in their formative years, while the parents were busy pursuing the lustre of the lucre. Intense competition in education and jobs has made for desperate attitudes. We see increasing news reports of grown individuals with children taking illogical drastic decisions in moments of stress, destroying innocent lives. Newspapers are full of seemingly secure individuals writing suicide notes about inability to handle financial problems, and ending their lives. We see youths, enamoured of that which is reflected abnormally in movies, violently attacking anyone who tries to negate their amorous advances, and getting their introduction to jails, police and courthouses.
And the papers are full of folks advising, advertising, and conducting "counselling" and "help lines", now that the root cause is being realized.
I think time has come, to have such facilities for those that wish to represent us in Parliament. Our legislators are badly in need of counselling, and training.
Papers are full of asset declarations of these folks, followed by articles questioning the abnormal rise in some peoples' assets. The government makes a great virtue of asking for these details , and then stuffs that information into its own corrupt archives. No questions asked.
Similar to IAS probationers having orientation camps at the Mussourie Institute, I suggest that the first 3 months of every legislators term be spent in such a place. That they be taught and trained in communication, common courtesies, routine office procedures, legislative rules and behaviour, enlightened management of MPLAD resources with 6 monthly mandatory reporting on the same, and methods of anger management.
Introduce an evaluation at the end of 3 months, and then decide whether to extend the probation or confirm the person as a legislator. These guys get life long pensions for being elected as legislators and attending a complete single duration of the legislature.
I have known of primary school teachers, who served all their careers in far flung villages, who were made to run around for their pensions in their old ages. I have known of capable young folks whose probation was extended because of an insecure boss. And I have known of people whose designations have been blatantly arbitrarily downgraded by authorities, pointing to some arcane rule , while the "authorities" themselves get into a dither and threaten strikes over a slight change in their own designations.
We have no right to expect our children to learn to behave , with leaders such as those observed in action recently, setting such useless examples.
And this is not only an Indian phenomenon.
It has happened, in Taiwan, where someone went on a slapping spree in their Parliament, even Russian Duma legislators eyeballing each other before a sudden facial hit, in Prem Chopra style. It has even happened in the Ukrainian Parliament in the best Bollywood film style, Politicians in Seoul's National Assembly , arguing about a media bill and its passing resort to fighting , while in some legislatures, even Judo finds a place. It has happened in the Alabama, USA Senate, with blows felling suited senators.
Just in case you are shockingly "impressed" with the above, be ready for what is erroneously labeled below as an Indian Parliament fight , but is certainly not so.
But the scene could be played out in any of the state legislatures across the country. (Which it actually is)
Watch this :
World's largest democracy in a free for all ?