I was shocked, this week, to discover that an institution I once thought of as being a myth (like Santa Claus, dragons, and tasteful Marwadis), is in fact real. The Rajya Sabha is apparently a real, actual thing. I always thought it was the sort of bedtime story politicians told their children to make them behave. “Beta go to sleep, or you’ll wake up in the Rajya Sabha, where everyone’s pointless and the only thing you’re worth is one mark on a Civics exam.”
Imagine my horror then when I discovered stories about it on the first page of the newspaper. And if it’s on the front page of the newspaper, it must be true. But then again, the front page of the newspaper also had a brief bit about Manchester United’s Premier League title hopes, so maybe not. But then I did a little googling, and as it turns out, the evidence is undeniable. The Rajya Sabha exists, and is apparently a part of our government, which I know exists for a fact, because nothing imaginary stinks that bad.
A quick search reveals that the Rajya Sabha is “the upper house” of Parliament, which means, according to political thinkers, that it has a better view, more superbuiltup area and higher resale value. You still have to pay extra for the garage though. The RS has 250 members. This is, statistically speaking, 250 more than the Hindu Beef-Lovers Society of India. 12 of these members are chosen by the President of India, who is usually chosen by a tarot-card reading parrot in Patiala. At least that’s how I’m assuming the President is chosen, because any other explanation would show our choices in a rather non-flattering light.
The ex-officio (latin for “that sounds cool”) chairman of the Rajya Sabha is the vice-president of India, who, as everyone knows is, well, you know, that guy. No not the one from Gadar, the other guy. Of the 250 members of the Rajya Sabha, 238 come from our many states and union territories. The other 12, nominated by the President of India, are distinguished people from various fields, and Rajeev Shukla.
The Chairman of the Rajya Sabha is responsible for the day-to-day functioning of the Rajya Sabha. He marshals the team into facing whatever legislative crisis India is faced with on a day to day basis. He is a guiding light, a beacon, a knight in shining armour. He’s Iron Man with a pension plan. The Rajya Sabha deals with several complex issues in India. Most recently, they dealt with a great national crisis that threatened the very fabric of space-time. Rekha, who has recently been nominated into the RS, (for her achievements in being in the front row of every award function ever), was assigned a seat that was very close to Jaya Bachchan’s seat. This caused much tension but luckily the Rajya Sabha swooped into action and switched Jaya Bachchan’s seat, and call off the Avengers, the day was saved.
And now Javed Akhtar is there, and as illustrious and storied as his career is, I can’t for the life of me imagine what he has to do with governing the country. Perhaps the government feels like we’d like our laws more if they rhymed better. Also joining the club is Sachin Tendulkar, who must wonder if this is the country’s way of getting him to retire.
So yes, the Rajya Sabha exists, and is apparently where we park our famous when we’re not quite sure what to do with them. It is the arm of our government that exists quite literally because the constitution says it must. Or perhaps we should be grateful for the existence of the Rajya Sabha. Because this way, we can claim that at least one arm of our government has people with genuine achievements to their name in it.
Rohan Joshi is a writer and stand-up comedian who likes reading, films and people who do not use the SMS lingo. You can also contact him on www.facebook.com/therohanjoshi