Abraham Lincolon famously said “Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character then give him power”. As it turns out in case of ex Vice president Hamid Ansari , its not the power but instead the loss of it that proved his character. Mr Hamid Ansari in his farewell speech decided to express his concerns over “enhanced apprehensions of insecurity amongst segments of our citizen body, particularly Dalits, Muslims and Christians”. With this one statement , Mr. Hamid Ansari decided to identify himself more as a Muslim and less as somebody who held one of the highest constitutional post in a Hindu majority country.
Not unprecedented at all….
Unfortunately this isn’t the 1st time successful elite muslims have decided to raise bogey of being insecure or targeted. There is a long list of such celebrities who have time and often played this card.
- Sanjay Dutt: In 2009, he said this: “I was there (in jail) for 3.5 years and was tortured because my mother was a Muslim, and I was a Muslim’s son” in public.
- Emran Hashmi:In 2009 he claimed: “I had finalised a deal to buy a flat, but the society refused to issue a No Objection Certificate because I am a Muslim”
- “King” Shah Rukh Khan:Let’s only focus on his latest 2013 interview: “I imagine this (giving “Indian” first names to kids) will prevent my offspring from receiving unwarranted eviction orders or random fatwas in the future.”
- Azharuddin: In 2000, after being banned for life for match fixing scandal, he said something like this: “I am being targeted because I belong to the minority community”
- Shabana Azmi : She claimed in 2008: “If Javed Akhtar (husband) and Shabana Azmi (wife) cannot get a flat in Bombay because they are Muslims, then what are we talking about?’
Always have been a “muslim” speaking for just Muslims
The real tragedy is that Hamid Ansari has reduced himself to a spokesman for his community rather than the Vice-President of all of India. And this is not the first time he has done so. In September last year, he made a specific plea to give Muslims reservations in jobs, when the constitution does not allow quotas based on religion.
On 2 April, Hamid Ansari raised heckles all around when he called on the Supreme Court to reflect on how minorities can be protected from majoritarianism and 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”
He also wondered aloud, without any sense of irony, whether Indian democracy may not be better served with a “more complete separation of religion and politics” – when this is precisely what Muslim organizations oppose. Throughout India’s journey from 1947, Muslim institutions have opposed a uniform civil code, the triple talaq and several other things. Recently, the Jamiat-e-Islami-e-Hind had the effrontery to tell the Supreme Court it had no business looking into triple talaq, a simple gender rights issue that should have nothing to do with religion. Nor has he spoken aggressively against the Haj subsidy, something that directly brings the state into a religious activity.
Needless to say the man inspite of being at such an important position decided to stick with his community point of view and nothing more.
Importance of Narrative
With increasingly tightening grip of BJP on power of not just center but also states, clearly Acche Din are far for minority appeasers and people who have amassed huge wealth for representing the special religious community . Hence there is an increasing need for creating narratives against the current dispensation. Award Wapasi , Lynchistan and now insecurity among muslims is the new narrative which is being perpetuated . The longevity of it will depend on how creative they can get and well they are supported by gaffes of BJP but what is not lost is the dire attempt to fire a parting shot to create such an impression.
With his conduct in last few days , Mr Hamid Ansari would do well to explore a career in writing fiction which clearly he seems to have a knack for. He can write about the autocracies that a small group of invaders faced while conquering a peaceful land of accommodating all inclusive religion , about the trials and tribulations of these invaders while they were busy killing locals of this land , raping women and basically putting everyone to sword who didn’t believe in their faith. While at it , he may choose to mention the kind and just law which these invaders follow in their land and merit of it being replicated in this invaded land so as to prevent exploitation of the invaders.
Mr. Hamid Ansari after all has managed to imagine insecurities where none exists.