New Delhi, August 10: In his final interview as the Vice President of India, Dr Hamid Ansari did not refrain from expressing his opinion on a range of topics affecting the national political discourse. From ‘insecurity creeping among minorities’ to the politicisation of triple talaq, and the current imbroglio in Kashmir, Ansari gave his insights which were at variance with the stance adopted by the ruling government.

Here are the highlights from his interview to Rajya Sabha TV:

On Lynching, Beef Ban and Ghar Wapsi

  •  It is the breakdown of Indian values. Overall, the very fact that Indianness of any citizen is being questioned is a disturbing thought. Our ambience is under threat.
  • A sense of insecurity is creeping in and there is a feeling of unease in Muslims. I have heard this from all corners of the nation, mostly in North India. This is not exaggerated at all.

On Intolerance

  • I fear that it is growing in India and spoke about it in Bengaluru few days back. I spoke about the mood of the country in 2017. VPs do speak and I did so on the matters that are needed to be discussed. I stuck to my manner of speaking.
  • I did share my apprehensions with the government but what happens between the Vice President and the PM should not be talked about.
  • Why do we talk about tolerance? Because we feel the need to tolerate something. Tolerance is a good virtue but not sufficient. We need to move  from tolerance to acceptance.
  • You have to move with times, do not create for an imaginary situation century back. Requirement for developments are education and live up with time.

On Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas

  • Affirmative action is much better for whoever it is necessary. For any segment of society, its comprehensive development is possible only when everyone is taken along. All should be brought to the starting point of development and if one is not there, then the government should take the person there.

Triple Talaq:

  • It is a social elaboration and not a religious requirement. The religious requirement is crystal clear, emphatic and there are no two views about it, but patriarchy, social customs, have all crept into it to create a situation that is highly undesirable.
  • The reform has to come in from within the community. People have to understand the basics of faith as traditions have overtaken the basics of faith.

On Kashmir Imbroglio:

  • It is primarily a political problem which needs to be addressed politically.
  • When young boys and girls come out on the street to throw stones, day after day, week after week, month after month, then it is something to worry about. They are our children, our citizens.

On Freedom of Rajya Sabha TV After He Demits Office:

  • Only two instructions were given by me under my tenure: Create a genuine forum of discussion and remain unbiased.
  • I don’t know what will happen in future. I’m not a jyotshi.
  • But we should face the future, rather than fearing it.

Ansari’s tenure as the Vice President lasted for 10 years. He is the only V-P to have completed two terms after Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Prior to him occupying the top constitutional post, Ansar, a former diplomat, served as the Chairman of National Commission of Minorities from 2006-07. He had also served as the the Vice- Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University between 2000-02.