Shri Frank Anthony has proved that he is a greater “complimentarian” than a parliamentarian. He has also confessed that he is sometimes “carried away by emotion.” ….The other day he got up in Parliament and called Shri Lalbahadur Shastri, the Union Railway Minister, “a lovable little chap.” When a Delhi newspaper wondered whether it was a phrase of disparagement or not and when the propriety of the second adjective was questioned in view of the short physical stature of the Minister, Shri Frank Anthony sprang up to assert that anybody who knew English idiom would know that the expression was one of affection and esteem…..The Member was not without friends. Oxonian Jaipal Singh told the House that there was nothing derogatory about “lovable, little chaps” in Oxford, and what is good for an Oxon is good for the rest of us. It is a pity that such sentiment goes unappreciated in our sovereign house of lawmaking…..Imagine Shri Frank Anthony or Shri Jaipal Singh referring to the Prime Minister or the Home Minister as very “decent”, a term which must have been in vogue among British undergraduates, when “little chaps” like Shri Jaipal Singh were freshers, or addressing the chair “Ole Boy, Sir” out of affection. Or again, imagine the plight of Rajkumari Amrit Kaur or her Deputy if some gallant Ocons like Shri Jaipal Singh were to refer to them as “cute.” Let Mr Menzies greet President Nasser when they meet tomorrow as the “Swell Colonel” and let Mr. Loy Henderson produce a copy of “Current American Usages” to justify the form of address. The Parliament Secretariat can profitably publish a booklet (hand made paper to be used) codifying tender but patronising forms of compliments which can be exchanged between Ministers and members. Appropriate footnotes whether the phrases are used in Oxford or Cambridge will make it a useful volume to those who appear before the Public Service Commission for important or juicy jobs.

(EDIT, September 2, 1956.)

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal