|Parliamentary system borrowed from Buddhism|
It is probable that the tendency towards self government evidenced by these various forms of corporate activity received fresh impetus from the Buddhist rejection of the authority of the priesthood and further but its doctrine of equality as exemplified by its repudiation of caste. It is indeed to the Buddhist books that we have to turn for an account of the manner in which the affairs of the early examples of representative self-governing institutions were conducted. It may come as a surprise to many to learn that in the assemblies of Buddhists in India 2500 years and more ago are to be found the rudiments of our own parliamentary practice of the present day.
The dignity of
the assembly was preserved by the appointment of a special officer
- the embryo of "Mr. Speaker" in our house of commons. A second
officer was appointed to see that when necessary a quorum was secured
- the prototype of the Parliamentary Chief Whip, in our own system.
A member initiating business did so in the form of a motion which
was then open to discussion. In some cases, this was done once
only, in others three times, thus anticipating the practice of Parliament
in requiring that a bill be read a third time before it becomes law.
If discussion disclosed a difference of opinion the matter was decided
by the vote of the majority, the voting being by ballot.
Marquess of Zetland, former Viceroy of India, "Legacy of India"