The Indian Parliament is the country’s most open institution regarding data about its functioning. It records its daily proceedings meticulously, and reports of its committees are rich in detail and insight. Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have made their records electronically accessible by heavily investing in technology. The Parliament website has digitised debates since the central legislature in 1921. The institution is now in the process of opening up 18,000 hours of video proceedings.
While these are recent developments, the Parliament Library, a repository of work done by Parliament, was always open to scholars and researchers. But despite the easy availability of information about the institution, academics have largely ignored it. Ronojoy Sen, in his book House of the People: Parliament and the Making of Indian Democracy, addresses this gap in the scholarship of our national legislature.
A quick look at books about Parliament shows that they fall into three broad categories (Sen also talks about it). First are the ones produced by the institution. These are usually a collection of speeches of its presiding officers/ eminent Members of Parliament (MPs) or are a collation of statistics. Some other individuals have also observed the institution closely, like MPs/ journalists. Their insider accounts are valuable additions to the public understanding of parliamentary functioning. Then, purely academic works analyse the institution through a theoretical lens.