We once lived in High Wycombe, a town in England that lies in between London and Oxford. High Wycombe used to be the seat (no pun intended) of the chair industry in England, an honour that has sadly been relegated to just the chair museum in the town.
One of the more charming traditions the town continues to have is its unique Mayor weighing-in ceremony. Held on the third Saturday in May each year, the outgoing Mayor and town council are publicly weighed in the high street in a fun and historical ceremony that is said to date back to 1678.
Each member of the council is announced by the town crier and makes their way to the giant scale. To much laughter and merriment, the member takes their place on the scale and as their weight was recorded, the Macebearer would shout out the weight, adding the words ‘and some more’ if the Mayor had gained weight over the year, or ‘and no more’ if he were the same or had lost weight.
The spectators, gathered in a circle around the scale, jeered if they heard ‘and some more’ as it was believed that the council member had grown fat at the expense of the townspeople. If the words ‘and no more’ were shouted out, then the member was rewarded with much cheering.
I was reminded of this ceremony while reading of the increase in fortunes of the candidates in the upcoming Assembly Elections for Goa. Crossing party-lines, our politicians have seen increases of 200% – 800% in their (declared) income from 2007 (the last election). Even Mr. Parrikar has increased his fortunes from about 54 lakhs in 2007 to 3 crores now.
If we had a weighing-in ceremony for our MLAs and prospective candidates, the scales would not only tip, but collapse under the weight of their blatant corruption. Prospering with tax payers money is what Goan politicians are good at. They are in a super-league of their own.
Image credit: Bayat on Flickr