SECULARISM, PLURALITY UNDER PRESSURE, WE RESISTED THAT PRESSURE: HAMID ANSARI

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Former Vice President of India Mohammad Hamid Ansari

Caravan News

NEW DELHI: “India has many world views. These worlds cannot be done away with. They exist in terms of languages, habits and beliefs,” said former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari in an interview, adding that “secularism and plurality are under stress in the country today. There has been lot of public debate on it. They were under pressure. We resisted that pressure.”

In the interview with wionews.com, former seasoned diplomat Ansari, who served as India’s Vice President for 10 years (only second VP to get two terms after S. Radhakrishnan- 1952-62), talked about various issues – threats to secularism and plurality, Hindutva politics, controversy surrounding his farewell moment in the Rajya Sabha in 2017, cultural nationalism and under-performance of institutions.

The interview was in the context of Ansari’s latest book ‘Dare I Questions?’ .

Catch-points of Interview:

Secularism and Plurality are under stress in India today.

If you have a multi-religious society then the relationship between states and individual faiths have to be put in certain framework. Our political leaders put it in shape of secularism.

Secularism was a living practice of Gandhi and Nehru and there was no ambiguity about it.

— The role of the Legislature is to make laws and make government responsible. It allows public representatives to debate topics of public importance. Now, from 120, the days Parliament gets together for discussions are down to 60. It means that time for debate and making the government of the day accountable has halved.

— Immigration has been there for a long time. When Germany needed manpower after WW2, they took the Turks. Even French and British took manpower from the colonies. That was one phase of immigration…If there is immigration taking place to Europe, it is the result of Western policies.

— The traditional Indian practice was to make circle wide so that no one was left out. It reflected our ethos. Cultural nationalism as defined narrows the circle.

— I was a professional diplomat for 40 years. I was in the service of the state and I was all over the world. Every diplomat is given a language and for that fact you spend a good time in the language zone. That’s what took me to West Asia. But I was India’s High Commissioner to Australia and also ambassador to the United Nations at a very critical time…You address these things as professionals. You don’t address them as language I speak and faith I follow and food I eat. It was a professional job and it was done professionally with here, there or anywhere else. A competent officer of Indian Foreign Service is competent to express his concerns and his government’s concern in any part of the world. I was part of that fraternity and I’m very proud of being part of that fraternity.

For Full Interview, Click wionews.com