Thursday, October 6, 2011

The World’s Craziest Constitution

“Women, like men, are human beings. This is an incontestable truth… Women are different from men in form because they are females, just as all females in the kingdom of plants and animals differ from the male of their species… According to gynaecologists women, unlike men, menstruate each month… Since men cannot be impregnated they do not experience the ailments that women do. She breastfeeds for nearly two years.”

The above extract, is not some scribbling of a madman or some empathetic crazy idealist.

No, it’s an extract from a country’s constitution.

Yes, I’m serious.

Deep musings such as these that formed Libya’s constitutions for over four decades, are what set the precedent for noble and judicious rule in the oil-rich African nation.

If you thought that it was just confined to the pages of a dusty constitution that no one bothered to read, like the Indian one, you are again wrong.

Not only was it was mandatory for Libyans to learn this at school, they also had to put up with routine broadcasts of the extracts on the national radio and television.

It’s a bit of an irony really because the Green Book, as the constitution was called admonished “mandatory education” and termed imposition of any teaching material “a dictatorial act”.

The book authored by Libya’s former strong man Muammar Gaddafi was born out of one of his “contemplative exiles”- he was known to give himself an occasional break from the duties of a statesman in order to meditate.

The self-styled “King of African kings” was very unusual in his own ways.

Not only did he surround himself with an army of female guards, he decreed that sporting institutions were evil and even went as far as saying “The grandstands of public athletic fields are actually constructed to obstruct access to the fields.”

If ever there was piece of propaganda that was ludicrous and baseless, one need not look beyond the Green Book.

Now that Gaddafi has erased his eccentric persona off the Libyan political landscape, Libyans are happily consigning his wacky little book to the flames.

With Gaddafi gone, that will be make great fuel for a joyous bonfire.

It is pity that the Indian constitution isn’t half as fun, as that was one book of laws I actually read and even memorised!

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