Hamid Ansari: Feeling of unease among Muslims, ambience of acceptance under threat

"There is a sense of insecurity," said Ansari, adding that India is a plural society that for centuries, not for seventy years, has lived in a certain "ambience of acceptance" which is now under threat

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: August 9, 2017 10:20 pm
Hamid Ansari, Outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari, Tolerance, Muslims Under Threat, Muslims Unease, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India News, Indian Express, Indian Express News Outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari

Asserting that the “ambience of acceptance” is now under threat, outgoing Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said that a feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity is prevailing among the Muslims in the country. The second five-year term of Hamid Ansari ends tomorrow. Ansari also said that he had discussed the issues of intolerance with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues. Ansari also described the questioning of Indianness of citizens as a “disturbing thought.”

Asked in an interview to Karan Thapar on Rajya Sabha TV whether he shared his concerns with the prime minister, Ansari replied in the affirmative. “Yes…yes. But what passes between the Vice President and the Prime Minister in the nature of things must remain in the domain of privileged conversation,” the ex officio chairman of Rajya Sabha said.

Regarding the government’s response, he said, “Well, there is always an explanation and there is always a reason. Now it is a matter of judgement, whether you accept the explanation, you accept the reasoning and its rationale,” he said.

Referring to the incidents of lynching and ‘ghar wapsi’ and killings of rationalists as a “breakdown of Indian values”, Ansari said, “breakdown of the ability of the authorities at different levels in different places to be able to enforce what should be normal law enforcing work and over all the very fact that Indianness of any citizen being questioned is a disturbing thought.”

On being asked if he agreed with the assessment that the Muslim community is apprehensive and that it was feeling insecure as a result of the kind of comments made against them, Ansari said, “Yes it is a correct assessment, from all I hear from different quarters, the country; I heard the same thing in Bangalore, I have heard from other parts of the country, I hear more about in north India, there is a feeling of unease, a sense of insecurity is creeping in,”

“There is a sense of insecurity,” said Ansari, adding that India is a plural society that for centuries, not for seventy years, has lived in a certain “ambience of acceptance” which is now under threat. The Vice President viewed that the propensity to be able to assert your nationalism day in and day out is “unnecessary”. “I am an Indian and that is it.”

Regarding the issues of tolerance, he mentioned that while tolerance is a good virtue, it is not a sufficient virtue. “…therefore you have to take the next step and go from tolerance to acceptance,” he said. At an event in Bengaluru on Sunday, Ansari said the “version of nationalism” that places cultural commitments at its core promotes intolerance and arrogant patriotism.

Responding to a question on comments made by some BJP leaders related to minorities, he said he would not talk about political people or political parties. “But to me, every time such a comment appeared or came to my knowledge; I mean my first reaction was that, A: the person is ignorant, B: that he is prejudiced and C: he does not fit into the framework that India has always prided to itself on, which is to be accommodative society,” he said.

Replying to a question on some BJP leaders comments related to minorities, he aid he would not talk about political people or political parties. “But to me, every time such a comment appeared or came to my knowledge; I mean my first reaction was that, A: the person is ignorant, B: that he is prejudiced and C: he does not fit into the framework that India has always prided to itself on, which is to be accommodative society,” he said.

Responding to questions on triple talaq, Ansari said it is a social aberration, not a religious requirement. “Firstly, it is a social aberration, it is not a religious requirement. The religious requirement is crystal clear, emphatic, there are no two views about it but patriarchy, social customs has all crept into it to create a situation which is highly undesirable,” he said.

He said the courts do not have to step in as the reform has to come from within the community. “The courts can say that we don’t recognise it. That’s all. I mean a marriage has to be recognised on certain occasions by the system of the state. And if a state functionary at a particular point of time refuses to recognise a happening which may be the product of a triple talaq, that’s it,” he explained.

To a poser on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, the former diplomat said, “the problem has always been primarily a political problem. And it has to be addressed politically.” He agreed to a suggestion that politicians are ducking the problem.

“That’s my impression. And I’m not the only one in the country…when young boys and girls come out on to the streets and throw stones day after day, week after week, month after month, it’s something to worry about because they are our children, they are our citizens.

“Something is obviously going wrong. What exactly, I am not the final word on it, but I think there are enough people in the country who are worried about it. Eminent people belonging to different political persuasions and their worry must be taken on board,” the Vice President said.

PTI inputs

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    Allison
    Aug 12, 2017 at 11:29 am
    Not just the BJP reaction, but his point is also proven by the HINDUTVA poison spewed in the comments against a man who said nothing while in office - is a STARK REALITY of how INTOLERANT the indian society uner RSS is now! HRW and AI must take this into their notice indeed!
    Reply
    1. V
      Venkatraman Balasubramanian
      Aug 11, 2017 at 6:47 pm
      When people are out of power and position, they become wiser. This is what happened with Mr Ansari. Muslims in India enjoy freedom which they can never dreamt of any part of the world.
      Reply
      1. V
        vinod
        Aug 11, 2017 at 4:48 pm
        Throughout his life, a man can never understand how much a woman loves her son. Similarly, the upper-caste people can never understand what Dalits and minorities feel in their localities.
        Reply
        1. D
          Dasari
          Aug 11, 2017 at 2:23 pm
          Religious tone attributed by a high ranking person occupying Vice President of India is really surprising. Probably if the job with such perks are lost, then they feel depressed and original color of the personality comes out!
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          1. L
            Lovely
            Aug 11, 2017 at 8:36 am
            In gentle tone he spoke like Vice President of Congress.He has belittled the post of VP, country and all tolerant communities( all means all).Pure Cong-Left language.
            Reply
            1. S
              sk
              Aug 11, 2017 at 8:28 am
              Hamid Ansari once again proved himself to be a communal guy at his heart. It is a shame that the Congress perpetrated such a snake to the second highest office of the country for 10 years. SHAME!
              Reply
              1. L
                Lovely
                Aug 11, 2017 at 7:42 am
                His comments are atrocious and insulting.He is VP of India not VP of Congress. Language is cut paste of Khangrass.
                Reply
                1. G
                  George Cruz
                  Aug 11, 2017 at 7:10 am
                  The truth is that Hamid Ansari is a bad, bad, bad Muslim, incompetent, a congress party pseudo secular thug, Sonia Gandhi's slave just like incompetent Manmohan Singh, always hiding behind Sonia's skirt and never contributed anything (ZILCH) to the betterment of the nation, and his departing comments "feeling of unease and a sense of insecurity is prevailing among the Muslims " is highly deplorable.
                  Reply
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