Dear Mohammad Hamid Ansari Ji,
It is not without an overwhelming sense of joy and elation that one sees you finally packing your bags and moving out of the office that you’ve occupied for the last 10 years as the Vice President of the nation, one may add, quite undeservingly. While your performance in the last 10 years, may at most elicit a ‘meh’ from the citizens of this ancient nation, it must be said that you’ve served your masters very well. While you were expected to uphold the constitution and act in a non-partisan manner, your actions and words have proven why Madame Gandhi saw you fit for this constitutional post.
Your recent utterances, specifically regarding the ‘a sense of unease among Muslims’ have proven that you would have done a far better job heading a Waqf board or a Madrassa. In fact, this is not the first time that you’ve allowed myopia to cloud your vision and provoke you into saying things that are improper, unwanted and unbecoming of the dignity of the constitutional position that you hold. Your last 10 years in office are ample proof that neither good education nor excellent work experience can cure a myopic vision.
Hamid Ansari Ji, One must applaud you for your unwavering sense of honesty. Back in 2007, after being elected as the Vice President, when some persons had asked you whether you were apolitical, you had honestly stated that “No citizen is apolitical; as a citizen, by definition, has to take interest in public affairs”. Of course, public affairs is an umbrella term that includes affairs related to a political party, a religious group etc.
In 2011, the Lokpal bill was tabled in the Rajya Sabha. It was evident from the very beginning that the then UPA government had no inclination to get the bill passed in the house. After a 12 hour marathon debate, when there were amendments and counter amendments moved, and it seemed certain that the government’s Lokpal bill would be defeated and instead an amended bill be passed by the Rajya Sabha, you, as the Chairperson of Rajya Sabha asked for the national anthem to be played and adjourned the house sine die. Opposition members were aghast at your partisan behavior. As the custodian of the house, you could have taken several steps to ensure that the bill was throughly debated and passed/rejected. Instead you chose to play the national anthem and brought down the curtains on the bill.
Sometime in 2015, Hamid Ansari Ji, You came out batting in support for affirmative actions for Muslims. This you did at the golden jubilee function of All India Muslim Majlis-e-Mushawarat in New Delhi. Instead of using your position to influence the community to shun medieval notions and embrace change, you supported reservations for Muslims. May I ask Sir, how does that make you any different from Jinnah? If you couldn’t fathom the harm brought about by separate electorates and the communal question in spite of all your education and experience, one may raise serious doubts on your suitability for the constitutional position that you held for so long. Incidentally, when asked about Triple Talaq, you turned defensive, saying that it was an aberration and not a religious requirement. Also, you mentioned that the courts need not step into the matter and that reform must come to the community from within
Then in 2016, Hamid Ansari ji, you again donned the hat of protector of Muslim coreligionists from majority community. You asked the courts to ” clarify the contours within which the principles of secularism and composite culture should operate with a view to strengthen their functional modality and remove ambiguities”. Basically translated as, how minorities should be protected from the onslaught of majoritarianism. Be that as it may, It would have been worthwhile if you had also chosen to highlight the example of Kashmiri Pandits, or the Hindus of Pakistan and Bangladesh or the plight of Hindu Bengalis suffering under Islamism under Mamta’s rule. Sadly, you chose to ignore them all.
Sometime this year itself, you aroused the ire of the otherwise calm Venkaiah Naidu, when under your watch Congress members interjected PM Modi’s speech with tut-tuts. When Naidu highlighted that PM Modi had repeatedly been insulted in this house under Ansari’s watch, you chose to question Naidu and his remarks rather than bringing the house to order. But yes, to be honest, you had always held that you wouldn’t behave apolitically.
And then in your last interview Hamid Ansari Ji, you once again brought up the whole Muslims feeling unsafe bogey. Perhaps you have already set your sights on carving out a Muslim vote bank of your own
Perhaps instead of retirement, you wish to emerge as a Muslim leader in Indian politics. Perhaps, someone like Asaduddin Owaisi or may be even Mohammed Ali Jinnah. You could have walked out of your office silently and may be even the people would have forgotten your misdeeds over time. But with your parting shot, you, sir have made it clear that it was the misfortune of India to have someone like you hold such a senior constitutional post.