Why Ghulam Nabi Azad said he is a proud Hindustani Muslim
Within days of Aman Chopra’s now famous interview with former Vice President of India Hamid Ansari, a prominent Indian Muslim leader of the Congress party – Ghulam Nabi Azad – now former leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha – showered praises on India and exhorted Indian Muslims to thank their stars that they were in Hindustan.
This was in direct contrast to what Hamid Ansari’s position was. And he chose to maintain that position at times moving into a confrontational mode during the interview that the Indian Muslim was not feeling safe in India.
In essence, Azad told the Rajya Sabha: Azad said, “I never visited Pakistan but I know the problems and circumstances in that country and I hope those problems do not come to haunt the Muslims of India and after seeing the fate of Muslims in many countries I feel proud of being a Hindustani Muslim.”
Full address of Ghulam Nabi Azad can be watched here:
Clearly Azad completely annihilated the theory of Hamid Ansari claim.
Delivering such a speech within days of that interview of Hamid Ansari going viral – cannot be a mere coincidence. Particularly, since times immemorial politics has been said to be a game of scoundrels.
There are theories and some really hold some ground. Let us decipher them.
The first one is that he has already done a deal with PM Modi either to be a multi-party (including the BJP) nominee for the position of Vice President of India.
The second is that Azad will join the BJP for Jammu and Kashmir elections to lead the Centre led control of the region perhaps by being the BJP chief minister there.
That seems credible when one looks at what Modi said to him in the Rajya Sabha in his farewell speech:
“You are retiring from the House, but I will not let you retire and my doors are open for you and I will need your contribution and advice.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi became very emotional praising the Congress MP.
The third theory going around is that Azad is having a falling out with the Gandhis on the required reforms needed to revive the Congress party. With the Sonia-Rahul grip on the party despite its abysmal repeat performances, there is clear inertia in Gandhis to move. And for people like Azad (remember “G-23”), who has served the party for more than four decades, not being able to save the party doing whatever needed is an unacceptable situation to be in, particularly in the twilight years of their political career. These are the years when you enjoy the spoils of your lifework and write memoirs and enjoy commenting on others while you recede into the history books. Axiomatically Azad does not want to evaporate into oblivion which many anticipate will happen to many Congress party leaders.
This thesis support and supplements the second theory if he accepts Modi’s insinuated invite to keep active and contribute, meaning joining the BJP.
If Azad joins the BJP’s it will add a tall, credible and compassionate leader to the talent the party has. Azad can provide healing touch to the region the BJP so sorely needs to make its mark there.
Moreover at 71 years, Azad has a few years before he crosses the BJP’s unofficial age of retirement, which is 75 years.
He ended his speech asking the prime minister, to restore the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir and elections be conducted early.
If read with the PM’s reply to the debate on President’s Address in the Rajya Sabha, some dots can be connected.
PM Modi noted Azad’s easy manner and his comments on Jammu and Kashmir and the recent DDC polls.
“DDC is a good step. We prise Central government for maiden elections”, Ghulam Nabi Azad had said.
“Ghulam Nabi ji always speaks decently and never uses foul language. We should learn this from him, I respect him for it. He praised elections held in Jammu and Kashmir… I believe your party will take it in the right spirit, and not make the mistake of doing the opposite by listening to suggestions of ‘G-23’,” said the PM, referring to the term “Group of 23” used for Congress leaders who last year demanded changes in the Congress party.
The PM’s comments were also seen as an open invitation by the BJP to the group of dissenting Congress leaders.
Other BJP leaders too are all praise for the “soft-spoken, compassionate and gentle” Azad “who wants the situation to improve in the Valley”.
As Modi had promised that the statehood status of Jammu and Kashmir would be restored (at some stage), who knows the credit of that will be shared by both PM Modi and Ghulam Nabi Azad, when it happens.
The final theory again speaks volumes of good and golden heart Azad has. The theory is – that the colossal damage done to Indian Muslims by Hamid Ansari making the unsubstantiated claim that ‘Muslims were not safe in India’ was seen by Azad who actually feels proud to be a Hindustani Muslim, as a huge mistake and he chose to correct it with equal potency and set the record straight once and for all.
Whatever the reasons, and no political speech is without a reason, it was good to hear Azad speak on the floor of Rajya Sabha and making a significant contribution to his nation state.