The next time an Indian parliamentarian says in the House that a “communist” member of Parliament (MP) is up to his usual “tricks” in making a “boring” speech, the book could get thrown at him.
At least if Parliament decides to go by the book: in this case, the latest edition of Unparliamentary Expressions, a 900-page tome published by the Lok Sabha secretariat that governs speech in Parliament and also state legislatures.
“I did not know words such as ‘stern school master’, ‘unfortunate’, ‘shy’ and ‘stunt’ were unparliamentary until I read this book,” said a slightly confused Tathagata Satpathy, a Lok Sabha MP from Orissa. For good measure, the good book says even the word “confused” is somewhat unparliamentary.
For Rs850, the book tells you that one cannot be “ashamed” in Parliament and cannot address a lady presiding officer as “beloved”. Neither can one simply say “hello” to catch the chair or Speaker’s attention.
I’m dying to know which MP addressed which lady presiding officer as beloved. What context could there possibly be for that? And I can imagine an MP rising to his feet and shouting “Hello” at the speaker. The speaker turns to him.
“You scoundrel fellow,” he says, “you dusht shaitan. Do you not know it is unparliamentary to say ‘hello’ to me?”
“Sir, I wasn’t saying ‘hello’ to you,” replies the MP. “I was merely answering my mobile phone. I’m on hands-free. And now if you’ll excuse me… Beloved, can you call later, please? I’m in parliament.”
A ToI report has more examples of this silliness, informing us that calling the president a “poor fellow” is not allowed. Considering that Pratibha Patil is our president, I don’t see why anyone would bother, but I guess every precaution must be taken. “Weed” is also an unparliamentary term, so I guess it’s a good thing that Matthew Hayden is not an Indian legislator.
(Links via separate emails from Gaurav and SK.)