We were hoping against the hope
that Hamid Ansari, the Vice-President of the nation would not take back his ‘harsh
but justified comment’ about the parliamentarians when his frustration asked
the members of the Indian Parliament if they wanted to make the highest elected
body in the country a ‘federation of anarchists’.
Well, we had a disappointing
development a day after (August 14) when the Vice-President and the Chairman of
the Rajya Sabha, the upper body of the Indian Parliament, asked his office to
review the statement after the government and the opposition continued with the
demand to withdraw the statement from the official records of the House.
Let’s see again what ‘his
frustration’ had to say: “Please allow question hour to proceed. Every
single rule in the rule book; every single etiquette is being violated. If the
honorable members wish the House to become a federation of anarchists, then it
is a different matter.”
Earlier, it seemed, Mr. Vice-President
would not back-off from his stand. We had some reasons to believe so.
Before becoming the
Vice-President in 2007, he had taken, on more than one occasion,
different-and-inconvenient line from the official line of the government of India, notably on issues related to the Western
Asian nations like Palestine, Iran and Iraq. Mr. Ansari is a renowned
scholar on West Asia.
He may still not pull it back as
his clarification in the House indicates where he said he didn’t place an
allegation but put forward simply a question for the parliamentarians to think
over the continued logjam, unruly scene and unproductive sessions.
He clarified: “If you read
what I said I said with condition ... not as an allegation, or attributing it
to anybody. If a question is posed, it cannot be an allegation.”
Yes, an opening is now there but
the career diplomat, the teacher and the intellectual in him may push him not
to back-off this time because he is not bound to accept the demand, because
‘enough is enough’.
But then politics behaves (predictably)
strangely in this country. The Vice-presidential chair to Mr. Ansari has been
given by the Congress party, a party with a known undemocratic and elitist
history of defining precedents. Also, he is a grand-nephew of a former Congress
So, it leaves a window for an
understanding over the issue to be developed.
And why would our
parliamentarians, an increasingly intolerant and elitist lot, understand the simple
understanding behind the clarification when they know they can pressurize the
Chair to withdraw the statement, a Chair that is ceremonial in nature, a Chair
that is headed by a Chair that is nothing more but a decorative title?
But we the citizens of India
reiterate our request Mr. Vice-President.
‘Federation of Anarchists’ is
an innovative expression of our displeasure and frustration over this political
lot. It suitably describes the deterioration of values in Indian politics.
Please, Mr. Vice-President,
don’t let it be expunged from the Parliament records. Even if it is not going
to change anything, at least, it gives us, the common men, yet another symbolic
point of reference’ to brood-over the growing political apathy.