Since the commencement of the Central Vista project, we have a constant cacophony emitting from the Indian Lutyens, sorry elites.
If you are an architect, thus a member of the most and almost constantly aggrieved community, you get to read to open letters and highly articulate proses that Wren & Martin would be proud of (making you wonder if school of architecture of India are focusing on teaching Tharurian vocabulary and grammar or building construction); and if you are an average citizen, there is still no escape as you get to read personal interpretations of history as if they are facts from the similar lot.
While the din is still continuing and will get louder today as the high court has thrown out the petitioner objecting to the Central Vista project with a fine, I am getting more and more worried.
Is the real point that matters for us, the Indians, the Lutyens’ architecture or colonial heritage?
Do the elites actually understand how horribly non-representative the Indian democracy had become in last seventy years that we have stuck to not redoing the most critical building for any democracy?
To hell with Lutyens and his fine architecture and the grand colonial heritage, we need a new parliament building. We needed it from the very day we became independent and more so with each passing year.
The biggest problem of Indian democracy is actually a simple number that was and is easiest to deal with, but for some absurd (read political) reason we never did, probably because we the people just loved our parliament building and could never see the real problem that the famous façade concealed.
Unfortunately, with the building comes a number and that is the number of seats it has.
At this point, our Parliament has a sanctioned strength of 543 in Lok Sabha and 245 in Rajya Sabha. As I am not an elite, the Rajyasabha numbers don’t interest me as much as the current government, but as a citizen the Loksabha number really appalls me.
If you are an Indian and are proud of our democracy, the most shocking statistics that should really bother you is that in the very first Lok Sabha of 1952, the total seats were 489 and total eligible voters were 17.3 crores.
Today we have more than five times the voters (about 90 crores), so the common sense suggests that the number of seats of our representatives should also have increased at the same rate to more than 2000. But, most unfortunately, the reality is far from what our common sense suggests as the number of seats that have been added since the start in 1952 is barely 54!!
We are in a situation that we have one single person representing almost 1.5 million voters. And if we recalculate the number vis-à-vis our population of 130 crores, one MP of India represents almost 2.5 million people! No democracy has managed this miracle where one person is assumed to have the amazing ability to speak and decide on behalf of millions of people.
It is clear that the discussion about the building of parliament is completely and totally insignificant in terms of importance of this far bigger issue of how many representatives we the people of India need to have sent there so that our voice is heard.
If we need petitions (we need petitions but I can’t explain why), we need petitions that get us our due representation. If we need petitions, they must be focusing on the real issues of India.
The heritage and Mr. Lutyens legacy and even the Jamun trees are completely insignificant compared to the number of MPs that we need to be housed there to retain the essence of representative democracy. So, if there are Indians out there who wants to save something, save what matters the most in nay democracy, i.e., the people’s right to have proper representation, instead of wasting time and energy on the superficial.
Views expressed above are the author’s own.
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