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“Price” of BRINJALS, the men had to “Pay”

29 November 2021 12:06 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Watching news in the company of a lady relative at her house, I had a feeling of shameful discomfort when I saw ‘Tissakutti’ denying the use of any unparliamentarily terms, and even challenging the opposition, offering to quit politics if it was proved. 


The amazed elderly lady inquired as to what really transpired; and making it more embarrassing, the lady’s husband avoided involvement in the ‘ruckus’ when she ‘reprimanded’ me, “ Aren’t you a journalist who pretends to know the ‘ins and outs’ of parliamentary  matters?” - I said, “I do not pay attention to cheap innuendos or lewd sexual jokes.” She was unconvinced.  How many men would have suffered the same ignominy? Resolving not to watch political news in the presence of the fairer sex in the future, I slipped out of the place thanking Tissakutti and his 224 colleagues, in my tenacity in avoiding a situation.

"The voters are to be blamed; because they keep voting for the same vulgar MPs who misbehaved or robbed our money at every previous parliament; just because they assert to fight for their class, race, caste or religion."

Wearing orange colour ribbons around their arms, and stickers on their dresses, reading; ‘Stop Violence Against Women’, SJB MPs staged a protest [to coincide with the ‘International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women’-IDEVAW] against remarks made by Janaka Tissakuttiarachchi, SLPP MP, on November 20, targeting parliamentarian Rohini Wijeratne and the Opposition Leader’s wife.  Quite recently this ‘Tissakutti’ had made some veiled remarks against a senior opposition member, who in this case, decided to contemptuously ignore it. 
From around 75=/ cents a pound [Rs. 1.60 a kg], in the 1960s, brinjals fetch around Rs. 400/= a kg today, signifying the severe embarrassment faced not only by women, but also by men who were left in a humiliating position, attempting to shun inquiries by the opposite sex. It takes just a few seconds for a person with a dirty mind, to shred a sentence of its literal meaning and convert it into something vulgar.  A person who often uses obscenities and socially unacceptable utterings, is called a ‘cusser’. They use them out of habit and devoid of control or conviction. Tissakutti, apart from falling into this category, has further shamed himself by his bold challenges. 


Brinjals, have a history in the legislature too. Taking a cue from his illustrious father DS, Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, took a great interest in developing agriculture and making the island self-sufficient, during his 1965-70 tenure.  


He appealed to all citizens to grow vegetables in their home gardens. Sirimavo, his opponent, responded positively too. Surprising every male on either side of the well in the old parliament, the PM in the midst of his speech, in lighter vein, said, “Passing Horogolla the other day, I saw Mrs. Bandaranaike had grown Bri….in her compound,” the lady, brought up in a highly cultured environment, comprehended only the literary meaning and happily acknowledged the remark with a grateful smile. There were no staging of protests, apart from a few condemnations outside of parliament. Certainly no cross talk, warnings, debates, or fisticuffs.

"Our legislature is in a mess because of the rogues; thugs and hooligans sent in by voters or are nominated and supported by leaders. At least the next general election should ensure all such men from both sides are left out altogether, without allowing them to decide on the destiny of this land and dictate our future."

 In 1977, after winning the general election with a 5/6th majority, JR Jayewardene appointed Ranasinghe Premadasa [RP] as his Prime Minister. The latter had an old score to settle with former ‘Crown Prince’ Anura Bandaranaike, who had made a derogatory remark at him during the election campaign, saying that RP was the boy who sold [levariya] a local sweetmeat, at Keselwatte. At the very first meeting of the house, RP  determinately  spat out at his bête noir, saying, “I wish to remind the third member for Nuwara Eliya-Maskeliya, that this is the boy who sold ‘levariya’ at Keselwatte, and I prefer being that, rather than being born as an illegitimate [avajatake] offspring, in a castle.” Anura was a back-bencher in the opposition, while the mother Sirimavo occupied the front row. There were no cross talks, no warnings or apologies; the matter ended there. 
When Indira Gandhi launched her own faction-INC (R) after being expelled from Congress; she was given a “Cow with Calf” as an election symbol. JR, during 1977 campaign drew a parallel, “India’s ‘Cow with Calf’ is Indira and Rajiv—ours is Sirimavo and Anura.”  We had to pay back with interest in 1987.


 Parliamentary privilege is tainted with impunity; Standing Orders ignored; un-parliamentary vocabulary is the order of the day, while each day’s sitting cost the poor tax-payer 
Rs. 84 million. 
Indirect sexual intimidation occurs when a victim has been insulted by the verbal, physical or visual misconduct of another. Even overhearing a lewd sexual joke or comment, a woman becomes a victim of sexual harassment, even though the joke had not been intended at her. Even if you were not the targeted recipient of the remark or joke, if you overhear a sexually charged description, comment or slur, regarding a colleague’s body; or degrading terms used to describe another; you become a victim of sexual abuse. 


Political considerations win over community interests! Exactly what amounts to unparliamentary language, is usually left to the judgment of the Speaker of the House. Enforcement of the assembly’s debating regulations, is a major part of the speaker’s responsibility. Legislators  are protected from trial and civil prosecution by ‘parliamentary immunity’ which specifies that they cannot be sued for anything spoken in the House; the very reason that they are expected to stay away from using language, expressions or phrases that appear to be seen as misuse of that protection. Our legislature is in a mess because of the rogues; thugs and hooligans sent in by voters or are nominated and supported by leaders. At least the next general election should ensure all such men from both sides are left out altogether, without allowing them to decide on the destiny of this land and dictate our future. 

"Indirect sexual intimidation occurs when a victim has been insulted by the verbal, physical or visual misconduct of another. Even overhearing a lewd sexual joke or comment, a woman becomes a victim of sexual harassment, even though the joke had not been intended at her."

Legislative bodies in democracies, impose standards and rules. There are words or phrases, traditionally evolved and believed inappropriate for use in the chamber, whilst it is in assembly. The Westminster system, calls this ‘unparliamentary’ language and there are parallel rules in other legislative systems too.  So, any direct reference to a member as lying, is unacceptable.  Any such violation is termed “terminological inexactitude ” and ruled as unparliamentary. Some of the listed terms in Parliaments in the Commonwealth are…


Crook, does not have a spine, fuddle duddle, pig, jerk, sleazebag, racist, scuzzball, weathervane, joker in the house, ignoramus, scurrilous  and to hell with Parliament attitude.  
The voters are to be blamed; because they keep voting for the same vulgar MPs who misbehaved or robbed our money at every previous parliament; just because they assert to fight for their class, race, caste or religion. A system is badly desired to investigate and discipline politicians’ deplorable behavior. The downtrodden female workers; tea pluckers, apparel girls and housemaids in the mid-east, undergo continuous agony. The scholarly ‘feminists activists’ oratory will last for a few days on IW Day [March 8] and IDEVAW that falls on 25th November.

These unlucky women would continue to be subjected to their customary physical and psychosocial hazards, like  bullying in work places and sexual harassment in public transport.  Late-hour work, gender inequality, aggression and conflict, will continue unabated. Most of IW Day’s empty cacophony by politicians are as a result of incidents involving female politicians and have little effect on the wellbeing of the above-named deserving categories. “Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong”-- Jean-Jacques Rousseau [18th Century 
Genevan philosopher]

Writer can be reached on: kksperera1@gmail.com

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  • Ros Weer Monday, 29 November 2021 10:06 AM

    I find it impossible to believe that our people so ignorant as to elect these retards to our parliament. This kuttiarachchi in particular together with a few other vulgar foul mouthed no hopers should be taken to task over their behavior.


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