House on dead-end street

Politics won't let Parliament live, democracy insists it can't die

Dear Citizens, I write to you, my creators, to put me out of my prolonged agony. The slow, torturous death to which I am being subjected could only have been imagined by the most unusual of scriptwriters. Even in my current misery, I am occasionally capable of a certain ironic detachment. I can say with perfect confidence that I am the only entity to have reached the kind of suspended existence that the great villain Ajit had imagined: Raabert, ise liquid oxygen mein daal do, liquid ise jeene nahin dega,oxygen ise marne nahin dega. I never knew what that meant until now: politics mujhe jeene nahin dega, democracy mujhe marne nahin dega(Politics will not let me live, democracy will not let me die). I am considered so indispensable that I will not be allowed to die; I am considered so useless that every political party wants to get rid of me. But this existential joke on me is not just a joke. It is a burden I cannot bear much longer.

Everything that made me come alive has been systematically decimated. I am now on artificial life support systems because I have been starved of the very things that make me tick: debate and discussion. As with any fading entity, my childhood memories are stronger than more recent ones. I remember Jawaharlal sitting in my chamber for hours on end even when he did not have to. I remember my halls echoing with national purpose. Colourful characters from all the parties, from Hiren Mukherjee to Piloo Mody, Atalji to Madhu Limaye, enlivened my existence. But what do I have now? A contagion of pettiness? The echo chamber of words that made the nation is simply a gladiatorial pit. Or it just stands there in stunned silence. Occasionally, this silence is punctuated by the sounds of headless chicken scurrying around, without a sense of purpose or even of their own interest. (Forgive me, I am dying so am allowed to be cranky.) The great Ambedkar identified democracy not with popular sovereignty but with unrestrained debate. He could not have imagined debate being meaningless noise.

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