The Indian politicians should imbibe some lessons in political decorum from their British counterparts. It has distressed Prof. Ashoka for a long time to observe the revoltingly foul language used by the political cronies of various political parties in this country. Here’s an interesting take on the subject, exclusively in Different Truths.
I have never been an admirer of Sir Winston Spencer Churchill. I have been on record in my columns identifying a very deeply embedded sense of ugly racism in both his actions and his pronouncements particularly when it came to India and the other British colonies in Africa. His overbearing superciliousness very often rubbed even his closest associates the wrong way and that was perhaps the main reason why he was so ignominiously shown the door on two occasions; first when he was booted out of governance after leading Britain to a famous victory in the War and second when he was ingloriously forced to resign as the Prime Minister when he had shown reluctance despite a serious medical infirmity.
It is easy enough to understand where his creatively psychopathic traits had their provenance. He had a decidedly unhappy and lonely childhood, had a sub-mediocre academic record at the Harrows, could never make it to a University, and followed by a disastrous military career in India. Had it not been for his escape in South Africa, he was destined to the long annals of failed politicians. Thanks to his overbearing and pushy American mother, he embarked on a career as a journalist where his latent skills blossomed and he gained a backdoor but expected entry to the political system.
But even there his impatient streak came in his way of steady advancement. His name is synonymous with opportunistic party hopping in Britain. His friendship with David Lloyd George, a political opponent turned friend saw his leaving his own Conservative Party for the Liberals only to re-enter his old party but by that time he had made many political enemies within the Tory ranks. He was loathed across the political spectrum and had it not been for Neville Chamberlain’s colossal failure which lead to the War and the need for a National Government he would have been in political dustbin. As is happened, he was asked to lead this government of national unity and the rest is history. Churchill is on record having just as many detractors in his Conservative Party as the opposition. He had absolutely no time for Stanley Baldwin, loathed Chamberlain and had some very sharp comments to make about his Harrow classmate Leo Amery. Later on, he and Louis Mountbatten were metaphorically speaking daggers drawn at each other over the latter’s India policy.
But that has not prevented me from harbouring an admiration for some sterling qualities he possessed that came to the fore. One of them was his vituperative humour which he used to excellent effect all situations including towards his political opponents. He was never profane but his ‘put downs’ were far more effective.
Here are a few examples:
When a journalist stated that Clement Attlee his political opponent was a modest man, Churchill retorted: He has a lot to be modest about! After all, he is a sheep in sheep’s clothing!!
About another political opponent he had this to say:
An insignificant homunculus germinated outside lawful procreation.
Nancy Astor, Britain’s first woman MP once said to him:
Winston, if you were my husband, I would have poisoned your coffee!
To which he retorted: Nancy If I was your husband, I would have drunk it!
At a party, he approached Nancy Astor and stated:
Nancy, you are ugly
To which she responded: Winston, you are drunk!
He took a sip and stated: At least my condition would improve by tomorrow morning!
As the word ‘lie’ is considered unparliamentary, Churchill came around it by stating:
The Right Honourable Gentleman is guilty of the crime of pre-determined in exactitude!
George Bernard Shaw once sent his two tickets for the premiere of one of his plays and stated:
Bring a friend along if you have any!
Churchill wrote back: Regret cannot make it to the first show. Send me the ticket for the second show, if there is any!
He loathed Vic Oliver, a comedian who had eloped with his daughter and married her. After the Way, Oliver asked him whom he would regard as his favourite wartime leader.
Churchill stated: Mussolini as he was the only one to have the courage to order his son in law shot!
I believe the Indian politicians should imbibe some lessons in political decorum from him. It has distressed me for a long time to observe the revoltingly foul language used by the political cronies like Mani Shankar Aiyar of Congress I, Sambit Patra and someone called Satyam Sharma of the ruling dispensation, Azam Khan, Laloo Yadav, etc. etc. etc. It is a chore to go on twitter these days. While the others are at least known, this guy Sharma uses the vilest abuse and then deletes the tweet after a week. He is clearly an uneducated lout who can be ignored and perhaps he uses a pseudonym but what is worrisome is that when his activities were pointed out to Patra, he actually defended him on the television explaining that as a logical outcome of the Prime Minister’s popularity.
The cronies can be ignored but those holding constitutional positions are under moral obligation to observe decorum which has fallen by the wayside. And every political formation is guilty of this degeneration.
I would not be averse to the Speakers of the Lok Sabha and the Assemblies plus the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha and the Legislative Councils taking cognisance of this degradation and instituting compulsory instructions in deontology for all the legislators on an urgent basis. The status quo is just too demeaning for the observers as well as the country itself!
©Prof. Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad
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Ashoka Jahnavi Prasad is a physician /psychiatrist holding doctorates in pharmacology, history and philosophy plus a higher doctorate. He is also a qualified barrister and geneticist. He is a regular columnist in several newspapers, has published over 100 books and has been described by the Cambridge News as the ‘most educationally qualified in the world’.