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Tuesday, September 28, 2021

In Madhya Pradesh lawmakers’ booklet of words to avoid: anyay, sasur

These words are among the hundreds of words and phrases expunged from the Madhya Pradesh House between 1954 and 2021 — and they have now found their way into an official advisory booklet for MLAs.

Written by Iram Siddique | Bhopal |
Updated: August 9, 2021 7:02:07 am
MP Speaker Girish Gautam with CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and Leader of Opposition Kamal Nath at all-party meeting ahead of the monsoon session of the Assembly, in Bhopal. (PTI)

Lawmakers inside the Madhya Pradesh Assembly would do well to tread carefully while mentioning the word ‘postman’. Or anyay (injustice). Or, for that matter, ventilator, habitual, bechara (poor person), halla (noise), bhedbhav (discrimination), yaar (friend), and bandhuwa mazdoor (bonded labourer).

These words are among the hundreds of words and phrases expunged from the Madhya Pradesh House between 1954 and 2021 — and they have now found their way into an official advisory booklet for MLAs.

Released by the Madhya Pradesh Assembly on Sunday — a day before its Monsoon Session begins — it is meant to help MLAs exercise restraint in speech during heated arguments.

According to Speaker Girish Gautam, the words by themselves do not seem unparliamentary — but the context makes them so.

The booklet, compiled by Assembly officials, begins by flagging the word sasur (father-in-law) that was expunged on September 23, 1954. It moves on to tanasha (dictator) that was removed on March 31, 1967; galat (wrong) that was expunged on July 4, 1980; and dikkat (difficulty) that was removed on February 26, 2021.

Among the phrases that MLAs are expected to avoid are the colourful ‘budget mein khoda pahad, nikla chuhiya’ (much ado about nothing) , ‘bhains ke aage been bajana’ (casting pearls before swine), ‘Aapko bhagwan ki kasam hai’ (swearing on God), ‘Lage raho munna bhai’, and ‘ghadiyali aansu mat bahaiye’ (crocodile tears).

Gautam told The Indian Express: “There are two booklets, one of them handed to the MLAs, that have details of the context in which these words were said that led to them being expunged. It is up to us to maintain the sanctity of the institution.”

The Speaker said this was a small step to ensure public representatives don’t use such words and phrases inside the Vidhan Sabha. He also said a two-day training programme was being planned which would groom MLAs on how to conduct themselves in the House.

“Leaders like Kamal Nath and Shivraj Singh Chouhan have been members of multiple Lok Sabhas and Vidhan Sabhas. They understand the functioning owing to their experience. But not all MLAs are so well-versed, there are many first-timers,” said Gautam.

Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, who was present during the launch, welcomed the initiative. He pointed out that once a group of students who had come to observe the working of Vidhan Sabha had described it as a “fish market”.

At the event, Leader of Opposition Kamal Nath questioned the need for the booklet. “Why had such a need risen at all that a book on unparliamentary words and sentences had to be released?” he asked.

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