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A parliament running short of words

A parliament running short of words

The Lok Sabha Secretariat has published a list of 65 words that are forbidden to be used in Parliament from now on. What all those words have in common is that they are used as critical expressions. The Lok Sabha Secretariat has determined that critical words and expressions are unparliamentary. In other words, the government has decided that words critical of the government cannot be raised in the highest legislature. It should be specially noted that most of the banned words are those regularly used against Narendra Modi and his government. Rahul Gandhi responded to the word ban as 'a new dictionary for a new India'. Political parties in the opposition too have come up with a strong response, not to speak of social media that is abuzz with ridicule. However, one need not be under the illusion that there will be any change in the government's stand or decision, but only need to realize the fact that we are in a different India.

It is a truism that dictators do not like criticism. The new ban list includes half a dozen words that connote authoritarianism. Freedom to dissent is the essence of democracy and criticism about a ruling establishment comes mostly from the opposition and the media. The Modi administration has already succeeded in muzzling the media in India through various repressive means. It is some time since the national media has become a nest of those revelling in servitude. Not only does the media stop short of criticising, but they also hide criticism and those who criticise. The government employs allurements and threats alike against the media. Agencies like ED and CBI are being used to arrest the unyielding. There are also ways to eliminate those who do not fall to the trap. It is as part of this that MediaOne channel in Kerala was banned and fact-checking website AltNews co-founder Mohammed Zubair was arrested on false charges.

A second set of government critics are activists and volunteers. Countless people of that type in the country have already been put in jail under various pretexts. International human rights movements like Amnesty International had to stop functioning in India. In such a situation, the only place where criticism can be raised is Parliament. The debates and criticisms in that forum have authenticity and they will be recorded. But through the publication of the new list of words, the government is implementing a decision to put an end to that too. This is an extremely undemocratic and mean step. The basic problem is that the country is run by a class who sincerely believe that Parliament itself is a luxury an unnecessary pastime. The language of debate, democracy, criticism and dissent are anathema to them. They are more fond of autocracy. Parliament is still surviving without damage only because damaging it is not possible as things stand now. But matters are moving in such a way as to keep Parliament as it is, but make it ineffectual. Many critical decisions affecting the citizens of the country are being implemented without informing, let alone discussing them inside Parliament. Most recently, there was not a single representative present from the opposition when the national emblem was unveiled in the new Parliament building. Parliament is not a government department, but a space where all members have representation and rights. And now, when the new list of banned words is published, Parliament has not been consulted. It has not come up for discussion even in the Parliamentary Ethics Committee. It all goes as if wished by the emperor.

Things are going in such a manner as to keep the constitution but make it absent without effecting any overt changes to it and thus end the parliamentary processes. It is dictatorship under the guise of democracy. This is not an issue which can be solved by tweeting about the issues arising each day. The politics of the new age is a great struggle that must be carried out by all the people whose mission it is to protect democracy and the country. As time goes on, the soil on which we stand is being washed away. But going by the apathetic position of the opposition, it seems that they have not understood this yet.

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TAGS:65 words of unparliamentary words Lok Sabha Secretariat words critical of Modi govt banned parliamentary dissent stifled people's resistance needed autocracy in garb of democracy 
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