Book Review: ‘Who Cares about Parliament’ by Derek O’Brien

Reviving Parliament's Essence: A Profound Critique by Derek O'Brien

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Book Title: Who Cares about Parliament
Author: Derek O’Brien
Publisher: Rupa Publications India
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 978-9357021135
Date Published: Jul. 15, 2023
Price: INR 315

Who Cares about Parliament by Derek OBrien Book Cover

Book Review

Who Cares about Parliament” by Derek O’Brien, a politician, quizmaster, and Rajya Sabha member from West Bengal, critiques how the Indian Parliament has been undermined and disrespected in the last decade by the ruling party and its allies. O’Brien argues that Parliament is a new building and a sacred institution with old traditions and values that must be protected and preserved.

From his firsthand experience as a parliamentarian and an opposition leader, Derek O’Brien exposes how the government has violated and ignored the parliamentary procedures, rules, conventions, and precedents. He cites examples of how bills have been passed without proper discussion or scrutiny, how dissenting voices have been silenced or suspended, how parliamentary committees have been bypassed or manipulated, and how the role of the Rajya Sabha has been diminished. He also highlights the importance of parliamentary debates, questions, motions, and interventions to hold the government accountable and raise public awareness on various issues.

The book is well-written, informative, and engaging. O’Brien uses anecdotes, humor, and sarcasm to make his points and to keep the reader interested. He also provides insights into the functioning of Parliament and its committees and tips and advice for aspiring parliamentarians. The book is a critique and a tribute to Parliament as a great institution of Indian democracy.

The book narrates how rules, precedents, and conventions established over the years have been bypassed and ignored and how this glorious institution is being mocked. It offers insights into the challenges faced by India today and is a must-read for those who want a deeper understanding of the nation’s state. The book also invites the country’s youth to write the foreword to the book, making it an inclusive and engaging read.

Derek O’Brien believes that the Indian Parliament is a great institution that has been undermined in the last decade. He laments the decline of Parliament and how rules, precedents, and conventions established over the years have been bypassed and ignored. He believes that the institution has been reduced to a mere talking shop and is being mocked. In his book, he offers insights into the challenges faced by India today and invites the country’s youth to write the foreword to the book, making it an inclusive and engaging read.

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In addition, Derek O’Brien has written political essays reflecting on the nation’s state, offering insights from a unique vantage point inside Parliament. He has criticized the Modi government for its brazen mockery of the parliamentary process and believes that Parliament is the foundation of democracy and must be protected.

One of the book’s weaknesses is that it is mainly focused on recent years and does not provide much historical or comparative perspective on the evolution and performance of Parliament over time. The book also does not offer many solutions or suggestions for improving or reforming Parliament in the future.

Who Cares about Parliament” is a timely and relevant book that exposes the threats and challenges faced by Parliament in India today. It is also a passionate plea for restoring the dignity and respect of Parliament as a pillar of democracy. The book is written in a simple and accessible language that appeals to experts and lay readers. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Indian politics and parliamentary affairs.

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