An alternate viewpoint is important in a functioning democracy like ours and there should always be room for parliamentary debates on important matters, former Vice-President of India M Hamid Ansari says in conversation with author and senior journalist Kaveree Bamzai as part of The New Indian Express’ webcast series E-Expressions about his book By Many A Happy Accident: Recollections Of A Life Flying the flag at the top of Red Fort on Republic Day was akin to the violence that erupted on Capitol Hill in the USA, said former Vice President of India, M Hamid Ansari.
“There have been subsequent debates as to how those people could reach that particular point in the Red Fort that is not easily accessible. Someone must have failed and it was almost like India’s Capitol Hill moment,” said Ansari. Answering a question on the farmers’ protest following the farm bills, Ansari says: “As a principle, I do not comment on the work of my successors. The public knows what happened and what didn’t happen. What has happened after that and the expression of public opinion that has (been) emanated by thousands of people, there’s surely something to it.”
Speaking about his role as a public intellectual and how important multiple viewpoints are to the functioning of democracy, Ansari says: “An alternate viewpoint has always been important in a functioning democracy. It might not be that important in a non-democratic society, but ours is a democratic society and a proud one too. The option of transforming intellectual inputs into alternates is critical. This has always been my observation about the need for parliamentary debates. The legislative process is a very acute one. The proposed legislation is drafted with utmost legal and political care by experts, covering all possible angles. But when it comes to the house, (which is) a body of people with varied experiences, they can tear it to bits or even add (to it).”