Former Vice President Hamid Ansari was recently in the limelight for his comment on the insecurities of the Muslim community in India. Little did he know that speaking his mind out would create a huge ruckus in the Indian political circles.
Hamid Ansari’s interview with journalist Karan Thapar on Rajya Sabha TV was not the first time he had expressed concerns regarding the safety of Muslims in India. He had earlier expressed his concern regarding the condition of the minorities in India on August 6 at the convocation of the National Law School of India, Bengaluru.
The former Vice President’s remark became the hot topic for debates on TV channels, and has garnered ‘highly negative response’ from the Indian public, to put it subtly. The ruling party BJP has gone into complete denial, with the newly elected Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, labeling Hamid Ansari’s statement as ‘a mere political propaganda’. However, the ruling party failed to realize that by attacking a dignitary’s views and declaring them as a political propaganda has only proven Hamid Ansari right.
While several people are ready to vouch for India’s secularism and integrity, the concern raised by Hamid Ansari is not completely baseless. The Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013, the Dadri mob lynching in 2015 and lynching of a Muslim trader in Jharkhand’s Ramgarh in June this year are enough proofs that India is growing into a religiously intolerant country.
Blame it on the ignorance of the common Indian man or the TRP-seeking news channels, Hamid Ansari’s simple concern regarding the direction in which our nation is going, has now become the biggest controversy. In a country that boasts of its ‘Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression’, such uproar over someone’s thoughts is something that we all should think about.
As the citizens of the world’s largest democracy, we need to ponder over the whole notion of intolerance and the country not being a safe place for the minorities. Bombarding someone with snide remarks just because the person spoke up his or her mind – isn’t that a form of intolerance? The minorities in India cannot feel safe if they have to think twice before expressing their views or choosing what to have for dinner.
Had the government issued a statement to reassure the minorities that their safety and their beliefs would never be belittled in India, the scenario could have been quite different. The Indian media should also be cautious about what it propagates. By giving undue importance to incidents that could endanger the country’s religious and social harmony or by sensationalizing someone’s personal views just to secure a higher position in the TRP rat run, the Indian media seems to be deviating from its true purpose – to be the fourth pillar of a democracy.