Wit and Humour

I was rummaging through my bookshelves yesterday, and discovered that I am the owner of Wit and Humour in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council, 1921-1971: Volume I. I don't remember when I bought it, but I know that I wouldn't have been able to resist such a title. I like that optimistic 'Volume I.' I believe that the current Opposition Leader / former Chief Minister is considered to be quite witty, so there may in fact be many subsequent volumes. (The Legislative Council, which was an upper house, was abolished in ... the nineteen-eighties?, so the state now has a Legislative Assembly.)

I thought I would present a couple of what my father called gems of purest ray serene:

The question of relevancy was raised on 15th March 1922 by the Member of the Governor's Executive Council in charge of Revenue, when a Member (Rao Bahadur K. Gopalakrishnayya) referred to a provision in the Madras Proprietary Estates Village Service Act, 1894, and the Hereditary Village Officers Act, 1895, which enabled the Government to dismiss any village officer for certain reasons mentioned therein. The President then observed--
So far as I am able to gather, the idea is that the Officer to whom good milk is not supplied may use this particular clause against the delinquent Village Officer (Loud laughter). I have nothing to do with the reasonableness of the argument, but I have only to do with its relevancy. I gather from what the hon. Member has said that the District Officers may use this weapon oppressively against village officers who do not make adequate supplies. Is not that the hon. Member's point?"

Rao Bahadur K. Gopalakrishnayya: "Yes Sir, it is exactly so."

Mr. President: "Then I suppose it is relevant." (Laughter).

"Long period of incubation":

(1922) Thiru C. Ramalinga Reddi complained of delay in introduction of the Religious Endowment Bill, promised by the Government more than a year earlier, and said:

"I understand that a Committee has been sitting. In fact, committees are sitting everywhere and on everything, and this particular thing has been under incubation so long that people are beginning to wonder what has happened to the egg. (Laughter)."

"Employer Providing Pre-Natal Confinement":

The expression "employer provides pre-natal confinement" in a clause of a Bill provided the occasion for humour during the discussion on the Madras Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 1958 on 8th March 1958. The grammatical error was fished out in the following discussion:--

"Sri K. Balasubramanya Ayyar: New section 8-A under clause 10 states--"A lump sum of ten rupees shall be paid as medical bonus by the employer to every woman worker, who receives maternity benefit, except in cases where such employer provides pre-natal confinement and post-natal care, free of charge."

I suppose the hon. Member Mr. Krishnaswamy Ayyangar has looked into this clause. (Laughter) It should be "provides for pre-natal confinement."

The Hon. Sri R. Venkataraman: We will call in the assistance of schoolmasters to decide which is the correct expression. (Laughter).

Sri I. Balasubramanya Ayyar: 'Provides pre-natal care' is all right.

Sri T. P. Srinivasavaradan: They say 'provide mid-day meals'.

Sri K. Balasubramanya Ayyar: You can provide mid-day meals, Confinement, you cannot provide. (Laughter) That is the difficulty. (Loud laughter)".

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