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Mainstream, VOL LX No 32, New Delhi, July 30, 2022

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, July 30, 2022

Friday 29 July 2022


Letter to the readers, Mainstream, July 30, 2022

The 2022 Monsoon session of the Parliament has so far mostly been disrupted with some very tense standoffs. Some 27 opposition MPs have been suspended from Parliament for demanding a discussion on the hike in GST, inflation, fuel prices and the Gujarat hooch tragedy. The Government would like us to believe at the opposition is solely to blame for this. Distrust between the small opposition and a Government with a thumping majority is on open display, such an atmosphere is not conducive to the functioning of Parliamentary democracy. Any government must make all efforts to keep up with a rich legacy of parliamentary discussion and dialogue as it prevailed. The actions of the current parliamentary majority in Parliament do not inspire confidence in that regard. Government benches created such a huge furore over the choice of words spoken by an opposition MP outside the Parliament while referring to the newly elected President of India, even after this Congress MP apologised for his technical mistake or slip of the tongue; Some fifteen years ago when Pratibha Patil, the first woman was elected the President of India, commenterati in media raised questions as to whether the Hindi word ‘Rashtrapati’ would be appropriate to refer to her (some even used the same term as the current Congress MP in the line of fire). At that time when such questions were asked there was no such hullabaloo. It is not unreasonable to say that the use of the Hindi language word Rashtrapati itself is problematic in that it is a male-centric term. In 2022 the time has come to choose a more gender-neutral term in Hindi for the President of India. No one in the incensed majority in Parliament today that is also a big promoter of the Hindi language seems bothered as to the political correctness of the term Rashtrapati. In 1949, the Constitution of India was originally drafted in English and later translated into Hindi. It is time for us to revisit the Hindi translation of the Constitution most notably the terminology for all constitutional posts and make them more gender appropriate in keeping with the times

July 30, 2022 - HK

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