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AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PARLIAMENTARIAN, 1998

AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PARLIAMENTARIAN, 1998
PRESENTED
TO
SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY, M.P
BY
THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF INDIA

CITATION

SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY has had a long and distinguished career in public affairs and as an outstanding representative of the people. He has been a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly for four terms and a member of Parliament almost continuously since 1984. A man of profound sensitivity and courage of convictions, Shri Reddy has never missed an opportunity to articulate the genuine hopes and aspirations of the masses, particularly the agriculturists and the weaker sections of the society.

Ever since he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984, SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY has made a meaningful contribution towards strengthening our parliamentary system. He has an abiding faith in the efficacy of parliamentary democracy which, for him, is an instrument of social and economic change. He has brought to bear upon his parliamentary career his keen interest and abundant experience in a wide range of fields and scholarly pursuits. Encompassing all these is his deep commitment for the socio-economic transformation of Indian society through the elimination of inequality, injustice and impoverishment. He has also endeavored ceaselessly to invest politics with lofty principles ennobling standards.

A forceful orator and an articulate champion of healthy parliamentary traditions, SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY's compelling and convincing expositions on diverse subjects have enriched and enlivened the proceedings of Parliament and through his informed, expert and active participation, he has upheld and advanced the public interest on varied issues on many occasions. He has been a staunch votary of a national vision unencumbered by any narrow sectional, regional or sectarian interests. His thorough understanding of rules and procedure of parliament and his innate respect for the dignity of the supreme institution of the land are indeed worthy of emulation. His speeches in the Houses of Parliament are characterised not only by the depth of subject knowledge and incisive intellect, but are also laced with dignified humor. For some years past, SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY has been widely acknowledged as one of the tallest and strongest pillars of our Parliament. Be it as a Leader of the Opposition or as a member of Treasury Benches, his has been a presence held in high esteem by fellow parliamentarians. It is but natural that he is listened to with rapt attention and utmost respect even by his political opponents.

Given his national stature, parliamentary experience and notable contributions to parliamentary proceedings and public life, it is only appropriate that the Parliamentary Group should bestow the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award, 1998 on SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY.

Indian Parliamentary Group,
Parliament House,
New Delhi.
December 17, 1999
Agrahayana 26, 1921 (Saka)


AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING PARLIAMENTARIAN, 1998. PRESENTED BY THE VICE-PRESIDENT OF INDIA CITATION.

SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY has had a long and distinguished career in public affairs and as an outstanding representative of the people. He has been a member of the Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly for four terms and a Member of Parliament almost continuously since 1984. A man of profound sensitivity and courage of convictions, Shri Reddy has never missed an opportunity to articulate the genuine hopes and aspirations of the masses, particularly the agriculturists and the weaker sections of the society.

Ever since he was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1984, SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY has made a meaningful contribution towards strengthening our parliamentary system. He has an abiding faith in the efficacy of parliamentary democracy which, for him, is an instrument of social and economic change. He has brought to bear upon his parliamentary career his keen interest and abundant experience in a wide range of fields and scholarly pursuits. Encompassing all these is his deep commitment for the socio-economic transformation of Indian society through the elimination of inequality, injustice and impoverishment. He has also endeavored ceaselessly to invest politics with lofty principles ennobling standards.

A forceful orator and an articulate champion of healthy parliamentary traditions, SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY’S compelling and convincing expositions on diverse subjects have enriched and enlivened the proceedings of Parliament and through his informed, expert and active participation, he has upheld and advanced the public interest on varied issues on many occasions. He has been a staunch votary of a national vision unencumbered by any narrow sectional, regional or sectarian interests. His thorough understanding of rules and procedure of parliament and his innate respect for the dignity of the supreme institution of the land are indeed worthy of emulation. His speeches in the Houses of Parliament are characterised not only by the depth of subject knowledge and incisive intellect, but are also laced with dignified humor. For some years past, SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY has been widely acknowledged as one of the tallest and strongest pillars of our Parliament. Be it as a Leader of the Opposition or as a member of Treasury Benches, his has been a presence held in high esteem by fellow parliamentarians. It is but natural that he is listened to with rapt attention and utmost respect even by his political opponents.

Given his national stature, parliamentary experience and notable contributions to parliamentary proceedings and public life, it is only appropriate that the Parliamentary Group should bestow the Outstanding Parliamentarian Award, 1998 on SHRI S. JAIPAL REDDY.

Indian Parliamentary Group, Parliament House, New Delhi.

PM'S SPEECH AT CONFERMENT OF OUTSTANDING PARLIAMENTARIAN AWARDS

Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee has said that both Government and opposition should work together to make our Parliamentary democracy a success. The Prime Minister stressed the need to maintain dignity and decorum in the Parliament despite heated debate and divergent views. He was speaking after the conferment of the Outstanding Parliamentarian award to Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Shri Jaipal Reddy.

Praising Shri Mukherjee and Shri Reddy for their contribution, the Prime Minister said that they raised the level of debates in which they participated.

Following is the text of the Prime Minister's speech on the occasion :

"We have gathered to confer outstanding Parliamentarian of the Year Award to Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Shri Jaipal Reddy, both of whom richly deserve this distinction.

To recognise and honour the talent in both Houses of Parliament irrespective of party affiliations, shows the vibrancy of our Parliamentary system and reflects our commitment to democracy.

This is all the more so at a time when democratic structure and Parliamentary system are facing crisis in some countries.

Friends, Parliament is the corner-stone of our Republic that will complete 50 years next month. What makes it more relevant is that it affords a platform for both Government and Opposition to debate national issues. Parliament can also be a powerful instrument to forge consensus and cooperation.

I have always held that governance, especially in a country as large and diverse as ours is more than a question of Parliamentary arithmetic. Effective governance is possible when Government and Opposition work together to make Parliamentary democracy a success.

Our Parliament has a tradition of informed, if at times, heated debate. It is this debate that often helps Government to rectify and refine its policies. But, no matter how heated the debate nor how divergent the views of Government and Opposition, dignity and decorum need to be maintained. Otherwise, Parliament cannot fulfil its role.

Shri Mukherjee and Shri Reddy are two Parliamentarians who have sat on both Treasury and Opposition benches.

Irrespective of which bench they have sat on they have participated in debate in their own inimitable style.

Shri Mukherjee is professorial; Shri Reddy never at a loss for wit and humour. Both, however, come well-informed. Both can, on occasion use barbs with deadly effect. But rare is the occasion when they have not raised the level of Parliamentary debate in which they have participated.

Their reasoned arguments have helped Members get a better understanding of the issues involved. Government, too, stands to gain from their contribution.

I have known Shri Mukherjee for many years. His vast experience in Government gives him an advantage, which, I must say, he puts to good use now that he is in Opposition.

With nearly three decades of Parliamentary experience to his credit, Shri Mukherjee enriches the Rajya Sabha with his presence. He justly deserves to be honoured with Outstanding Parliamentarian of the Year Award for 1997.

Shri Jaipal Reddy is one of our younger colleagues having made his Parliamentary debut in 1984. It is indeed a fitting tribute to his skills as Parliamentarian, that, in this relatively short span of 15 years, he has been selected for this award for 1998.

Both in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Shri Reddy has demonstrated his ability to debate diverse issues with clarity, passion and wit. His robust interventions are ample evidence of the robust health of our Parliament. I warmly congratulate him on being conferred this award.

I commend the Indian Parliamentarians Group for instituting this award. It is both a recognition of talent and inspiration for others. Above all it is a tribute to our Parliamentary democracy.

Thank you".


Convocation Address by Sri S Jaipal Reddy at Kakatiya University

His Excellency Sushil Kumar Shinde, Chancellor of the University, Prof. V. Gopal Reddy, Vice-Chancellor, Members of the Executive Council, Faculty, Students, graduating students, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I feel deeply touched and greatly honoured by this rare opportunity of delivering the XVII Convocation Address of Kakatiya University. Let me, therefore, express my profound sense of gratitude to the authorities of Kakatiya University for this affectionate gesture. My sense of gratification is all the greater because I am doing this in Warangal, which is not only celebrated for the historical legacy of Kakatiya empire but also for the heroic contribution it made to the freedom struggle and for having been the cradle of many a progressive movement. As a student activist and a political worker, I have been associated intimately with the educational institutions and political movements of the region of Warangal. I am, therefore, overwhelmed by valued and crowded memories on this occasion.

Since my twenties, I have been delivering extempore lectures to my contemporaries in colleges, peers in politics, mavens in media and academia with unabashed intellectual superciliousness. My good luck is that I have got away with my braggadocio for more than four decades. However, the fact of the matter is that I have not been either a polymathic savant or a super-specialist. I have only been a practicing politician with enough hunger for such general knowledge as to stand me in good stead either as a parliamentarian or as a political commentator. But Kakatiya University has taken my reputation at its face value and chosen to assign this onerous task to me. On this occasion, I am required to desist from my own wonted impromptu articulation and stick to a written address. It is a tall order, as I am more comfortable with speaking rather than with reading. However, I have no doubt that writing is the best form of exposition. Francis Bacon rightly observed that “Reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man and writing an exact man”.

It shall be my endeavour to share with you some of my tentative insights on “intellectual confusions of our time” in the course of this presentation. Both as an activist and analyst, I have been extraordinarily struck not only by the titanic political collisions but also by the traumatic philosophical confusions of the time we are passing through. It might be argued that this has been true of every important epoch in history. It is the extreme degree of this feature, which clearly distinguishes our era from that of any other. As G.W. Hegel pointed out that difference of degree beyond a point would make for difference in quality as well. Our times, therefore, are both quantitatively and qualitatively different.

We are living in an age of unprecedented prosperity. What is more, we are torn by apocalyptic conflicts. On top of everything, we are confronted with bewildering intellectual confusion spawned by extreme divergence in ideologies. There is, therefore, an imperative necessity to rise above the immediate clash of ideological concepts and develop a larger historical perspective in order to make sense out of current chaos and to see the way forward.

It is generally admitted that we are living in a modern age. There is, however, no consensus on what elements constitute the modern age and what factors had led to its birth. Modern age is a product of the vast developments that the two great Revolutions sparked off. The French Revolution, which occurred in the late eighteenth century, destabilized the age-old institutions and ideas and paved the way for new political and social experiments and radical modes of thinking. At about the same time, the Industrial Revolution unleashed new forms of energy such as steam-engine and new technologies such as telegraph. These two great Revolutions reinforced each other and produced a paradigm shift both in thought-processes and production techniques. Although the radical changes wrought by the two Revolutions were there for naked eye to see, it is interesting to see that right in the nineteenth century, the rulers and diplomats went about the usual way as though nothing had happened. It is said of Bourbons, the dynasty at the time of French Revolution, that “they learn nothing and forget nothing”. It was not only true of the French rulers indulging in pomp and pageantry, but it could also be said to be true of all the advisors to rulers. This only goes to prove that the implications of great changes can be discerned only by perceptive minds and not by pro-establishment thinkers.

As we are dealing with the two great Revolutions, it might be asked as to whether they were merely co-incidental or the culmination of historical developments. I am among those who believe that the ground for the two Revolutions was prepared through a number of important developments in such varied fields as religion, philosophy, literature, arts and science. To understand the point, the colossal impact produced by the Reformation and Renaissance, scientific discoveries of Copernicus, Galileo and Newton, new theories produced by John Locke and Hegel, Voltaire and Rousseau need to be recalled. I have briefly referred to the intellectual foundations laid over three centuries for the two great Revolutions. Even a rapid survey of these intellectual foundations is a vast topic in itself. For reasons of space and time, I am not embarking on that exploration here. I will, therefore, now revert to the consequences of the two Revolutions. Of the two, the impact of the Industrial Revolution is better recognised than that of the French Revolution. Even in respect of the Industrial Revolution, its earth-shattering effects are grossly underestimated. It was a huge deluge that transformed every aspect of human society that had existed before. The Industrial Revolution, which started with the spinning jinny and steam engine, gathered momentum with the telegraph and culminated in the splitting of atom and spread of internet. The invention of Internet is identified with the ongoing information revolution, which in turn is regarded as fundamental a development as the Industrial Revolution by some thinkers like Alvin Toffler. Whether the Internet is as important as the steam engine is an academic controversy that still remains to be settled. It has at least served to highlight the dramatic impact of modern technology.

While there is recognition of technological effects on our lifestyle, there is no corresponding appreciation of the changes that have taken place in the patterns of thought. The modernity of current schools of thought is so obscured as to be considered synonymous with seamless extension of ancient ideas. The modern age has not only witnessed vast increase in our economic standards and destructive potential of the weaponry but also immense generation of new popular ideologies.
Let me allude to 10 such schools of thought, which are fundamentally modern and have little or no resemblance to their alleged ancient approximations. They are: (1) Nationalism (2) Democracy (3) Capitalism (4) Communism (5) Socialism (6) Secularism (7) Humanism (8) Anarchism (9) Feminism (10) Welfare State.

The aforesaid list is comprehensive, though not exhaustive.

Contrary to popular perception, nationalism is a notion of recent origin. Before the advent of the nation-state, the primary allegiance of most people was to their immediate locality or religious group or dynastic ruler. In Europe, nationalist sentiments came to be based on language in the context of bloody and protracted confrontation between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism. It also received fillip through resistance to alien domination, for e.g. it grew with resistance to Napoleon in Germany and with resistance to Austria in Italy. Mao, even while leading the communist revolution, embodied the nationalist sentiment of Chinese against Japanese imperialism. Mahatma Gandhi not only led the biggest mass movement for national freedom in history but also inspired anti-colonial struggles all over the world. As Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose knew that nationalism is a new creed, he described Mahatma Gandhi as the Father of the Nation, even while differing from him regarding the techniques of struggle. Nationalism, as a liberating force, is a welcome modern idea. But, nationalism, to retain its positive character, needs to be constantly salvaged from incestuous linkage to language, race or religion.

Although the westerners would like to believe that democracy flourished in ancient Greece and Rome, it needs to be emphatically noted that slaves were excluded and citizenry mostly belonged to small cities. Socrates and Plato, who are among the greatest philosophers of all times, were implacably opposed to democracy, as they thought it had led to the defeat of their beloved city-state, Athens, in war against Sparta. We also want to believe that democratic regimes prevailed in parts of ancient India though they were confined only to village Panchayats. The House of Commons in Britain is regarded as the mother of all Parliaments. Democracy, even in Britain, does not have a long tradition, as only men with property and rank had the suffrage in the 19 Century. Even when large-scale democratic reforms were introduced in Britain in the last quarter of 19 Century, the principle conceded was only that of universal adult male franchise. Women in Britain had to wait for the right to vote until the 1920s. The record of other countries in Western Europe is even worse. It is abundantly clear that the Industrial Revolution and the consequent economic growth facilitated the spread of democracy. In India, the founding fathers had the vision and the courage to let democracy precede development and indeed to accelerate development. It is a unique experiment with more than a modest measure of success. As the exciting story of Indian democracy deserves a detailed exposition, I do not intend to deal with it any further.

Capitalism is often confused with mercantilism. In fact, capitalism succeeded mercantilism. Capitalist system could not have sustained itself without the factory system, which itself was a by-product of industrial development. Capitalism could not have survived as a system until our times even with all its modifications, if the snowballing technology had not constantly increased the surplus to such a degree as to let the fruits of progress be widely diffused. That is the reason why such a vast social security net can be seen in the developed world. Capitalism has managed to survive more through the bountiful blessings of technology rather than through dynamics of market. Even Karl Marx looked upon capitalism as a necessary prelude to socialism.
Communism was propounded by Marx in collaboration with Angels to put an end to economic inequities and growing monopolies, which were compounded by capitalist exploitation. It advocates community ownership of all property and distribution of means according to the necessity of persons. Marx was acutely alive to the absolute novelty of his idea. He never confused his post-industrial communism with tribal communitarianism. He in fact thought that all socialist thought before he wrote his ‘Communist Manifesto’ in 1848 was merely utopian and the era of thought of scientific socialism began only in 1848.

Anarchism, like communism, is entirely a product of the 19 century philosophy. It holds all forms of government authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and envisages a society based on voluntary cooperation. P.J. Proudhan, Mikhail Bakunin and others propounded the anarchist philosophy in their own respective ways but all of them had raging doctrinal disputes with Marx. Even Marx was not immune to it, as is evident from his prediction that the State would eventually wither away. In our own country, Vinoba Bhave preached a certain variety of philosophical anarchism.

Socialism, be it utopian, scientific or Fabian, is a post-capitalist concept. It is aimed at achieving distributive equity in society. It is contra distinct from communism, in so far as it is implacably opposed to proletarian dictatorship and strongly attached to democracy both as a means and as an end. However, socialism does recognise class as a vital category. In the context of our society, caste is largely synonymous with class.

Secularism as a concept was developed in the historical context of huge confrontation against the medieval papacy. This led to separation of state from the church in Europe. This principle has been adopted in all parts of the world, as every religion has a tendency of promoting totalitarian belief-systems. As the institutions of popular democracy have got strengthened, secularism has received enormous impetus. As a consequence, democracy and secularism has become Siamese twins.
Humanism is animated by an individualistic and critical spirit. Historically, humanist philosophy was thrown up by the cumulative impact of two major movements, Reformation and Renaissance. It lays emphasis on a human centered rather than a God- centered universe. It would be absolutely incorrect to equate modern humanism with charity or love in various religious traditions.

Feminism is a pure product of 20 Century. Women, after receiving their voting right and enhancing their educational and economic status, began to assert the right to absolute equality with men. It continues to have great resonance and relevance because even in 21 Century most women are discriminated against. The programme of reservation of 113 seats in legislatures of India still remains a far cry. Even at the philosophical plane, many intellectuals continue to harbour reservations about equality of women. The recent academic controversy started by none other than the President of Harvard University about women being genetically inferior in mathematics and sciences is a resounding demonstration of continuing prejudice against women. Such formulations do not take into account the dynamics of sociology of knowledge. It is difficult to convince even academics that opportunity is a pre-requisite for the growth of talent.

Welfare State is again a complete product of the 20 Century. For the first time in history such economic conditions have been created through technology as to let the state provide welfare to all citizens. When John Kenneth Galbreth wrote his ground breaking work in the 1950s, ‘The Affluent Society’, it was a new revelation. Dr. Amartya Sen developed welfare economics in such a way as to envisage a system of universal entitlements. This is a concept which is still evolving. What is more, it has largely been confined to developed countries. In India, a bold attempt is being made to accelerate economic growth, even while strengthening the system of entitlements. It is to be clarified that all ancient and medieval religious traditions have their systems of welfare but they were primarily ethical postulates, as at that time there was neither industrial prosperity nor popular democracy to back them up.

While as many as ten popular ideologies have received a brief treatment, no reference has been made at all to such other powerful forces of modern times as imperialism and fascism. I am aware of the fact that they have been as powerful as any other. After all, imperialism was the plank behind the First World War, while fascism was the cause of Second World War. I have not dealt with them as they are pre-modern schools of thought. In fact, they have been receiving impetus from reaction against modern egalitarian forces. The popular ideologies I have dealt with are primarily modern and largely positive. The areas of convergence among these ideologies are much larger than those of divergence.

The paladins of modern ideologies refuse to recognise many commonalties that bind them together. As a result, they unwittingly end up strengthening feudalism and communalism, which are only indigenous cousins of imperialism and fascism.

Apart from passionate protagonists, who are bothered more about their doctrinal niceties than about the larger picture, liberal intelligentsia gets confused as the fundamental distinction between the modern and pre-modern philosophies is not clearly made. In the pre-modern phase, the belief-system and production techniques were similar, if not identical, both in the east and in the west. The pre-modern west was as much steeped in poverty, superstition and tyranny as the east. The term, ‘oriental despotism’, is a false western construct. Who was more despotic in history than Nero, who played fiddle while Rome was burning, or than Louis XIV who famously said “I am the state”.

Our intellectual confusions are primarily the result of our inability to distinguish between the modern and the pre-modern and to confuse the modern west with the historical west. If these two fundamental intellectual distinctions are driven home, many of our current confusions, will be eased. We will then not only be able to partake of all the fruits of Industrial Revolution but also relish the three great ideals of French Revolution — liberty, equality and fraternity. These ideals are more realistic today then they were in the eighteenth century. Let us proceed to fulfil these dreams. This appeal of mine is specially directed towards the young graduates and post-graduates who will receive their degrees today as they will be more open to new ideas than people of older generations. Resistance to new ideas grows with age. It has been rightly said that He who’s convinced against his will
Is of the same opinion still.

Before I conclude, let me warmly greet the graduating students and wish them a glorious future. I also once again thank the authorities of the University for this honour and wish the University a great reputation.