Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaking to the US Congress isn't the only bit of political crossover that has emerged from the tighter diplomatic embrace between India and America. Now American lawmakers are also beginning to imitate Indian Members of Parliament. On Thursday, the Speaker of the House of Representatives in Washington, DC struggled to get control of Democratic lawmakers who decided to use stage a sit-in demanding a vote on gun control legislation.
What followed were scenes that are much more familiar to observers in India: protests that make it hard for the Speaker to enforce his writ, shouts of 'shame! shame!', people yelling outside the House and the party in power choosing to turn off cameras to prvent the outside world from seeing what is happening.
Speaker Paul Ryan tried to bring the House back to order, but Democrats – as you can see in the video below – took to sitting on the floor of the House, chanting 'no Bill, no break!' The protesting lawmakers are demanding action on gun control legislation, in the aftermath of the Orlando mass shooting.
When the House Republicans decided to turn the cameras off, C-SPAN, the TV network that broadcasts the events of the House had to resort to showing videos taken from the Twitter and Periscope accounts of Democrat members who were protesting inside.
All of this is more than familiar territory for Indians. Protests in both the lower and upper houses of the Indian Parliament are par for the course, with sloganeering, posters and walk-outs almost a daily occurrence. For Indians to sit up and take notice of messy scenes in the Parliament, lawmakers have to do much more than what happened in the US Congress.
The best example of this – not recommended for American legislators – were the scenes of chaos around the time of the vote for bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. The cameras were turned off but reports emerged of knives and pepper spray being brandished inside the Lok Sabha.
The Speaker's inability to control the house, especially during Meira Kumar's tenure, became something of a running joke because of her constant refrain, 'baith jaiye' (sit down, please!).
Heading out of Delhi into the states of course offers even more fodder, as Kerala's Assembly showed last year.