PERSPECTIVE
Minutes of the House
- AMANDEEP SANDHU
Minutes of the House



About two weeks back, when there was a crises of government in Karnataka, one of those four days, then Speaker Ramesh Kumar literally lashed out at all - Congress, JD (S), BJP and independents.

He said, I paraphrase: ever since I became a Speaker, I removed my name plate from my home, I got the flag on my official car removed, in our home no one even sleeps in the direction of the Vidhan Soudha. ... Now I see this brazen naked dance for power. Strip, strip everyone. I will put everything you say on the minutes of the House.

We know what happened: given the fractured Congress-JD (S) alliance, the resignations, the BJP snatched power in the state. So be it.

As a writer with interest in history as it unfolds, what stayed with me is: I will put everything on the minutes of the House.

Today morning, Vice-President and Chairperson Rajya Sabha, while pushing for a debate on EWS - while announcement of intention to abrogate Article 370 had taken place - again said: I will put your comments on the minutes of the House.

It seems to me that the 'minutes of the House' - the record of witness-hood - is the final frontier of democracy. Whatever leaders from all parties do, they might observe some modicum of decency/indecency when it comes to be entered in the minutes of the House.

What is that stick? Simply this that later historians will weight their conduct.

However, when a government itself is hell-bent on picking and choosing from history to suit its narrative; when knowledge of history plays no role in how politicians appease vote-banks in current times so they can cling to power; when entire generations of voters are being force-fed false histories, what use are the 'minutes of the House'?

We know the ethics of politicians have long since been compromised, but disregard for 'minutes of the House', of witness-hood, signals the end of real and functioning democracy in India. When the nation itself is altered, what scope would any future historian have to come up with an idea of what happened in these times?

For people like me, who are seeing the cookie crumble, we are condemned to witness the breakdown of the nation.

 
Amandeep Sandhu is working on a non-fiction on Panjab.
 
 

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