Friday, April 26, 2013

Boneless Wonder

"Where have I heard that before?"

This is the thought that crossed my mind when I read the following passage from a Private Member's Bill tabled in the Indian Parliament today:

(viii) Panchayati Raj continued on paper and Sarpanches got elected without any attendant charter of responsibilities and the financial powers that could have rendered their duties effective and meaningful;
(ix) despite the detailed enumeration of allocable functions to Panchayats in Eleventh Schedule (article 243 G) of the Constitution, the devolution of financial powers to make these enumerated functions meaningful and the non vacation of administrative space by concerned government departments, has resulted in rendering the Panchayati Raj a boneless wonder;

It turns out that the original expression comes from a circus advertisement that was used by Winston Churchill to flame Ramsey MacDonald in the 1930s. He is the original quote -

"I remember when I was a child, being taken to the celebrated Barnum's Circus, which contained an exhibition of freaks and monstrosities, but the exhibit on the program which I most desired to see was the one described as "The Boneless Wonder". My parents judged that the spectacle would be too demoralizing and revolting for my youthful eye and I have waited fifty years, to see The Boneless Wonder sitting on the Treasury Bench."
Winston Churchill On Ramsay MacDonald
It seems Ramsey M found himself quite often at the receiving end of Churchill's barbs. Here is another one -
"[Ramsey] MacDonald has the gift of compressing the largest amount of words into the smallest amount of thoughts."
For a wider sample of barbs & quotes, look here.

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