A mature democracy behaves in a mature way. But do the people’s representatives of a mature democracy need to be hampered by such restrictions? If the amount of flying spittle spewn by India’s parliamentarians in response to Indian Ambassador to the United States Ronen Sen’s comment of “headless chickens” is any ready reckoner, the answer is a resounding ‘No!’
Mr Sen had made his comment about decapitated specimens of the Gallus gallus species in August. He had made his non-vegetarian remarks supposedly against the critics of the India-US nuclear deal who didn’t understand the worth of the agreement not in any public space but over the phone to a journalist. But little did the career diplomat know that his off-the-record’n’cuff remark would turn into a trial that would make Galileo thank his lucky stars that it was the Inquisition and not the Indian Parliament that he faced. After already appearing before the Lok Sabha privileges committee where he repeated his apology that he had made earlier when the feathers had first hit the ceiling, Mr Sen will be facing the committee again on November 2. So what does he still have to do to get a pardon when the committee meets on the matter again on November 16? Will he have to undertake an oath not to cry fowl against our noble parliamentarians in public or private ever again? Will he have to restrict himself to a vegetarian (eggs also excluded) diet till the committee thinks he’s purged of unholy thoughts? It is unlikely that Mr Sen will be punished after tending his apologies to the worthies.
The forgiving media, in the meantime, are wondering whether they made a mistake by letting him get away after calling them “headless chickens” so easily.