This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
INDIA: CEREMONY AND RITUALS


CEREMONY ANDRITUAL IN THE INDIAN PARLIAMENT


Ceremonies and rituals that take place in the Parliament of India signify the acceptance of authority and regard for democratic institutions by the society. Through ceremonial spectacles, formal and informal rules and rituals, art and architecture, political and social hierarchies operate within political institutions such as Parliaments. The Director of the Lok Sabha Secretariat discusses the ceremonies and rituals that have evolved in the Indian Parliament, and the importance of different parliamentary ceremonies and rituals to the everyday working of the institution and its Members.


Shri Ravindra Garimella Mr Garimella is the Director of the Lok Sabha Secretariat. The article is based on a paper that was compiled in consultation with Professor Shirin M. Rai from the University of Warwick and Dr Carole Spary from the University of York.


their representatives. Therefore, if these ceremonies and rituals are undermined through disruptions in Parliament, its reputation suffers as a consequence.


Shri Ravindra Garimella Introduction


Much has been written about the functions of law-making, of representation and government policy-making associated with the Indian Parliament. Citizens also encounter Parliament through its ceremonies and rituals, such as the President’s address, debates in Parliament and voting on Bills in the House.


This has been made possible through television, newspapers and magazines, which in turn has helped to form the opinions of citizens about


192 | The Parliamentarian | 2014: Issue Three


Parliaments are evolving, and seek to be representative not only through its institutional form but also through the processes through which particular forms take shape. These include: modes of behaviour; negotiating political and physical spaces and creating institution specific cultures which socialize Members in their participation; and through examining the performance of parliamentary ceremonies and rituals.


Through these forms,


parliamentary institutions create and maintain powerful symbols of democracy and power. Institutional disciplining is also challenged – by the refusal to participate, by subversion of norms or by rejection of rules. In Parliaments opening ceremonies, the performance of the Speaker and moments of disruptive behaviour point to how institutional norms


are reproduced, maintained and challenged.


Ceremonies and rituals are inextricably linked with these processes. They create new traditions, serve the purpose of marking an occasion and celebrating an event for people to revere and regard. Ceremonies and rituals draw people’s attention to the symbols of authority that convey a sense of security and belonging among people. Occasions of grandeur, festivities and traditions associated with institutions of authority underwrite such feelings of belonging. They also have a phenomenal impact in reinforcing the status of our democratic and representative institutions.


Ceremonies in Parliament Ceremony is often defined as “the formal activities conducted on some solemn or important public or state occasion...” making the formal occasion important to the performance. (Kertzer, 1988: 9). Certain ceremonies are associated with the President’s


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76  |  Page 77  |  Page 78  |  Page 79  |  Page 80  |  Page 81  |  Page 82  |  Page 83  |  Page 84