In an interview to Karan Thapar, outgoing Vice-President Mohammad Hamid Ansari talks about a wide range of issues, including on cow vigilante attacks, lynchings and the mood of the Muslim community. The interview is scheduled to be broadcast by the Rajya Sabha TV at 8 pm on August 10, the last day of Ansari’s term. Full transcript of his interview with Karan Thapar:
Karan Thapar: Mr Vice-President, let me start with a rather unusual question – you were born on April Fool’s day in 1937. Is that the secret of your success?
Hamid Ansari: Well most of my life I got away without having to give a birthday party. And that tradition was broken only in my first birthday in this House, when a message came in the morning that Dr and Mrs Manmohan Singh would wish to come and wish you happy birthday. I couldn’t say no to that!
Karan Thapar: Now, you’ve spent 10 years as Vice-President, and as I said, no one has spent more time as Vice-President than that – what did it mean to you, a career diplomat, to be Vice-President of India?
Hamid Ansari: Well, I said right in the beginning that every citizen is in a sense, a political creature. But being in the thick of things was a new experience, a novel experience.
Karan Thapar: Did the protocol, did the prestige become inhibiting for someone who was quite a free bird? Or was it something that you were to accustomed to as a High Commissioner and as an Ambassador?