I recently visited the Punjab Vidhan Sabha building and was totally amazed by the design and architecture. When my mother floated the idea of the visit I was confused whether to accompany her and her group of students as I had my Science exam the next day. But I decided to go and am glad that I made the decision.
We were told to report an hour before the allotted time as there would be lots of security checks. I did not expect so much security. I was amazed. But yes, there was a lot of security checking. There was a lot of protocol to be followed. We were told not to carry or wear black scarves. We had been given instructions not to wear belts, watches and anything of metal.They checked our names from the list that had been sent earlier.
After all the checking we moved in a queue to the waiting area from where we were ushered into the Chamber. We were made to sit in the visitor’s gallery from where we could see the whole house.
There were many protocols to be followed there, too. We could not cross our legs and talk: even whispering was not allowed. The first sight of the Chamber was surprising. I thought that it would be a boring, old building but I was totally wrong. The building was differently shaped and full of vibrant colours. Then, I started paying more attention to the work being done in the house. It seemed at first sight that not much work was being done but on close scrutiny I realised that officials of the House were carrying out their duties.
I saw how the Speaker and Marshals maintain order in the House. It was then that I came to know that everyone who comes into the Chamber has to bow in front of the Speaker to show respect to the Chair. I saw the Speaker discharging his duties with grace and strength. He gave equal time to both the ruling party and the opposition party.
The inside of the Chamber was absolutely stunning. The vibrant colours, the shape of the building and the seamless transition between two floors had me transfixed. I was so interested that I came home and googled to know all about the building and the Chamber.
There was so much that I did not know about the building. It was established in 1952 and completed in 1962, which explains the old- time look and feel. It was constituted with 175 members but now there are only 117 members. There are 117 members from 117 single seat constituencies. It was preceded by the Interim East Punjab Assembly.
The most surprising thing was that it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. When it was made a heritage site in 2016 all the alterations done to it over the last five decades were undone. I never knew this and was really surprised. The official name of the building is ‘The Architectural work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to the Modern Movement.’ On the net, I also read about the main door. I had not been able to see it because it is opened only on ceremonial days. It looked very beautiful and had many images on it.
I couldn’t really understand what each image represented. So, I read that the imagery represents Solstices, Lunar eclipses and the Equinox. It has greenery representing Garden of Eden and, in the centre there is the tree of knowledge. The door had to be airlifted from Paris in those times.
I resolved to work hard to become a person of eminence so that I could see the ceremonial doors being opened. I also realised that law making is a serious job. The speeches, arguments and debates by the Honourable Members of the Legislature were serious. They had done their homework well. Questions and answers flew from one Member to another. The Speaker tried hard to maintain order in the House. There were many stenographers who were noting all the proceedings of the House. They were continuously scribbling. They would get up in turns to go and file what they had noted.
Later, our doubts were cleared by the officials of the House. They told us that the different colours of the chairs were designated for the ruling and opposition parties. There were designated seats for the Chief Minister as well as the leader of opposition.
My visit was very fruitful. I learnt a lot. All the students were also amazed at the magnificence and aura of the prestigious House. Such visits should be encouraged so that students learn the hard work that goes behind every law and government functioning.