In majoritarianism, the Parliament is not seen as a representation of diversity, but a mere census and number.
Shiv Visvanathan, Professor, Jindal Global Law School, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
Sometimes a political event shrinks in size even before it is inaugurated. The opening of the Parliament building scheduled for May 28 is one such event. The ritual of diminishing is enacted in several ways. Most of the media dismisses the boycott of opposition parties as a comic book act not even fit for political drama. Others see the Parliament house as a technical answer to a technical question.
They feel the building should be evaluated in terms of space and efficiency, and not politics. Eventually, an office is after all an office. In such a view, the semiotic power of Parliament as a thought system and an iconography of power is lost.
Parliament becomes a functional architecture rather than an architectonic of ideas. In diminishing the Parliament office, we diminish politics in its diversity emphasising majoritarianism. In majoritarianism, the Parliament is not seen as a representation of diversity, but a mere census and number. Diversity becomes the biggest casualty of debate.
In fact, upon reading media reports one is reminded of the writings of India’s greatest town planner, Scottish biologist Patrick Geddes. When Geddes visited the Madurai Meenakshi temple, he was overwhelmed and ecstatic. He wrote poetically of the link between cosmology and architecture, and especially in the city as it becomes a pilgrimage of ideas. A city without cosmos and history is impoverished. Geddes argued that it is cathedrals and temples that define the value system of the city. To the list we can add Parliament.
Published in: Deccan Herald
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