The saffron party’s contempt for India’s largest minority is once again out in the open.
by Md Hussain Rahmani, DailyO
First, he is not invited to the event that has gone into the Guinness Book of World Records. Then, his absence is questioned by a very important RSS spokesperson-turned-BJP leader. The episode reflects how the current dispensation thinks of vice-president Hamid Ansari.
Had the BJP general secretary Ram Madhav not tweeted abut the V-P’s “absence” from the Yoga Day celebrations at New Delhi’s Rajpath, it would not have come to light that Ansari was not even invited for the event.
This is, however, not the first time that the high office of the vice-president of India has been questioned over “patriotism”. On the Republic Day celebrations this year, he was declared a “traitor” and lynched on Twitter for not saluting the national flag. However, Ansari was well within the rules and decorum to do so. There were others on the dais who didn’t salute the tricolour, but people went after Ansari calling him a “jihadi”, “anti-India”, and what not.
I was a student at the Aligarh Musilm University when Ansari was the vice-chancellor and had observed him from close quarters. His tenure as the V-C of one of the most watched campuses in India was one of its best time in terms of academics and law and order. He is a man who goes by the book, never beyond it.
Moreover, the left-of-the-centre scholar by no means is an ordinary politician and has risen to the rank of the vice-presidentship riding high on electoral arithmetic. He has been one of India’s top diplomats, who served at the United Nations as permanent representative for six years. You can’t question the patriotism of a man who has dedicated his life to the service of the country and represented it at various international forums. It is naive to think the BJP and its leaders flaunting their patriotism up their sleeves, don’t know about Hamid Ansari and his service record. The obvious question then is: What is the ruling party’s problem with him? Is it that an Indian Muslim, no matter how worthy and qualified, not being respected enough to assume a high constitutional office?
Politically, the BJP may not be comfortable with Ansari. The party had questioned his conduct in the Rajya Sabha for ending its session abruptly during the Lokpal Bill debate in 2011.
But political disagreement is fine in a vibrant democracy. What is strictly not is raising doubts over a Muslim high office holder’s patriotism. It says a lot about the saffron party’s contempt for India’s largest minority.