Sunday, May 13, 2012

Celebrating 60 years of Indian Parliament


India has long history and there are many historic events to remember.  Today [Sunday 13th May 2012] , is another day, a day on which the  Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha,  are holding special sittings celebrating the 60th anniversary of the first session of Indian Parliament.   After becoming a Republic, the first general elections were held in 1951-52 ; Lok Sabha was constituted on April 17, 1952 and the Lok Sabha held its first session, a month later, on May 13th .    statistically, the first Lok Sabha’s tenure was 17th April 1952 to 4th April 1957. Can you recall the names of the first Speak and Deputy Sepaker of the Lok Sabha ?

Commemorating 60 years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will initiate the debate in the Rajya Sabha while Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will do it in the Lok Sabha. Besides prominent members from all sides, independents are also being accomodated in the over five-hour discussion. A few living members of the first Lok Sabha, including Reishang Keishing and Resham Lal Jangde, will be honoured on the occasion.  91-year-old Reishang Keishing, now a member of the Rajya Sabha, was member of the first and third Lok Sabhas. Jangde was member of first, second and ninth Lok Sabhas. Both the Houses of Parliament will meet at 11.00 am and will conclude the discussions at 4.30 pm.   In the evening, President Pratibha Patil will address a joint sitting of both Houses in the Central Hall. Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, the Prime Minister and Kumar will also address the joint sitting. 

Coins of Rs 5 and Rs 10 denomination to mark the occasion along with a special stamp are being released as also  three books published by the Lok Sabha Secretariat — Members’ Introduction: First Lok Sabha; Speakers of Lok Sabha and ’60 years of the Lok Sabha.  There is also to be a cultural programme featuring Santoor maestro Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma, Sitarist Debu Chaudhuri, Carnatic vocalist Maharajapuram Ramachandran, versatile singer Shubha Mudgal and Iqbal Khan.

The Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. Founded in 1919, the Parliament alone possesses legislative supremacy and thereby ultimate power over all political bodies in India. Just as the House of Lords and House of commons in UK, Indian parliament  is bicameral with its two Houses, Lok Sabha (House of the People) and Rajya Sabha (Council of States).   The two Houses meet in separate chambers in the Sansad Bhavan (located on the Sansad Marg), in New Delhi. The Members of either house are commonly referred to as Members of Parliament or MP. The MPs of Lok Sabha are elected by direct election and the MPs of Rajya Sabha are elected by the members of the State Legislative Assemblies and Union territories of Delhi and Pondicherry only in accordance with proportional voting. The Parliament is composed of 790 MPs, who serve the largest democratic electorate in the world. 

Every Indian can have a justifiable sense of pride on the completion of six significant decades of Parliamentary democracy.  Our PM Manmohan Singh called Rajya Sabha as the house of elders  - an  institution whose deliberations over the years have enriched our parliamentary democracy, nurtured the strength of our federal polity and served as a bulwark against the transient impulses of the moment.

Parliament is not only a legtistlative but a deliberative body. The bodies have been repository  of wisdom and have passed landmark legislations from land reforms to nationalisation of banks.  The resilience of our pluralistic democracy is the proudest achievement of the Indian state and Indian people. The people of India have repeatedly and regularly reposed their faith in the institutions of parliamentary democracy.    When India gained independence, some were critical of its success questioning its size, variety and vastness – the Institutions have  weathered many storms and have successfully stood up winning the test of time, which augurs well the for the Nation

History has it that the Parliament house had various plans from triangular to a Roman colosseum like structure but eventually settled to be its present circular designed colonnaded verandah, with 144 pillars and 560 feet diameter. The foundation stone of the council House was laid on February 12, 1921 by the Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught, third son of Queen Victoria.  The building spread over nearly six acres was inaugurated on January 18, 1927 by then Governor-General of India, Lord Irwin. It is now commonly known as Sansad Bhavan.

The First Speaker of the First Lok Sabha was Shri G.V. Mavalankar  (15.5.1952 - 27.2.1956), succeeded by Shri M. Ananthasayanam Ayyangar  (8.3.1956 - 10.5.1957 and 11.5.1957 - 16.4.1962).  Sardar Hukam Singh succeeded the first Deputy Speaker Shri M Ananthasayanam Iyengar in 1956.  The First secretary was Mr MN Kaul.    Read that the first thing that the Parliament did was an act to give  land to the landless through Land reforms Act.   It was a place of high moral rectitude -  Lal Bahadur Shashtri quit as Railways Minister from Jawaharlal Nehru's Cabinet after an accident.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

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