Wit and Humour

Wondering what to post, I fell back on the amazing Wit and Humour in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Council 1921-1971, Volume I.

It is best to let such books fall open at random, so I did -- and found this:
Humorous Definition of 'Tiller of the Soil'

On the 24th of September 1956, during the Debate in the Council on the Madras Cultivating Tenants Protection (Amendment) Bill, 1956, a humorous situation erupted when the Minister (The Hon. Thiru M. A. Manickavelu) tried to give a "layman's definition" as he himself put it, to the term 'tiller of the soil' by saying: "As I understand, a tiller of the soil is a person who, with a very scanty dress -- he has no coat, no turban and no umbrella in hand -- takes a plough and ploughs the land. There is sweat on his brow."

The following exchanges then took place:

"Sri A. M. Allapichai: Is it a crime to wear coat?

The Hon. Sri M. A. Manickavelu: No, not at all, even a long coat can be worn (referring to the Member's long coat). (Laughter) So, the tiller of the soil is the opposite of one who wears a coat and turban holding a walking stick or umbrella in hand and goes round his field, comes back home, takes coffee and chews pansupari.

Dr. V. K. John: Is he too old or too young?

Sri. A. M. Allapichai: Suppose he applied his mind? Application of mind also is physical labour.

The Hon. Sri M. A. Manickavelu: Yes, Sir. He must very much apply his mind because if he wants to take away the weeds, he should not pull out the crops in the process. Mind also plays its part."


Anonymous said...


I think this is hilarious.


Abraham Tharakan said...

Nancy, this is good. One wonders how many of the Indian legislators of today have such sense of humor.

Anil P said...

The exchange is remarkable for its candour.

A_N_Nanda said...

Lawyers and legislators can argue for days. And when they reach the end of it, it's a revealing situation. Once they almost decided that sugarcane is vegetable!

Thanx, Nancy. I enjoyed reading ur post.


ashok said...


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Pipa said...

did you read this piece by Mani Suri. It was too funny:


madhan said...

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