Mohammad Hamid Ansari


Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Mohammad Hamid Ansari
Vice President of India
Incumbent
Assumed office
11 August 2007
President Pratibha Patil
Preceded by Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Personal details
Born 1 April 1937 (1937-04-01) (age 74)
Kolkata, British Raj (now India)
Political party Indian National Congress
Spouse(s) Salma Ansari
Alma mater University of Calcutta
Aligarh Muslim University
Profession Diplomat
Academician
Religion Islam

Mohammad Hamid Ansari Hindi: मोहम्मद हामिद अंसारी, Urdu: محمد حامد انصاری ) (born 1 April 1937) is the 12th and current Vice President of India. He is a former chairman of the National Commission for Minorities (NCM).[1] He is also an academician, a career diplomat, and a former Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University.

He was elected the 12th Vice President of India on 10 August 2007 and took office on 11 August 2007.

Contents

Early life and career

Ansari was born in Calcutta (now Kolkata) on 1 April 1937 though his family belongs to Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh. He is the grand nephew of former Congress President Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, a leader of the Indian independence movement. He is also a relative of the notorious Ansari brothers of the Bahujan Samaj Party from his native Ghazipur, Sibakatullah Ansari, Mukhtar Ansari and Afzal Ansari, known for running an extensive contract work mafia in Uttar Pradesh.

Ansari studied at Shimla's St. Edwards High School, the St. Xavier's College of the University of Calcutta and at the Aligarh Muslim University. He started his career as a civil servant in the Indian Foreign Service in 1961. He was Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations, Indian High Commissioner to Australia and Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. He was awarded the Padma Shree in 1984.[2] He was also the Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University from May 2000 to March 2002. He is known for his role in ensuring compensation to the victims of the Gujarat riots and pushing for a complete re-look into the relief and rehabilitation for riot victims since 1984.[3]

Other activities and NCM

Ansari is a renowned West Asia scholar and has written trenchantly on the Palestinian issue and taken positions inconvenient to the Indian official line on Iraq and Iran. He questioned India’s vote in the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran’s nuclear programme where India voted against Iran. He said that though the Indian Government claimed to have acted on "its own judgment," this was not borne out by facts.[4]

He is the author of the book Travelling Through Conflict.

Ansari was the chairman of a working group on "Confidence building measures across segments of society in the State," established by the Second round Table Conference of the Prime Minister on Jammu and Kashmir in 2006. The report of the working group was adopted by the Third round Table in April 2007. Among other things, the report advocates recognising the right of Kashmiri Pandits to return to “places of their original residence.” This right, it argued, should be recognised without any ambiguity and made a part of state policy.[4]

Ansari became the chairman of India's National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on 6 March 2006.[5] In June 2007, Ansari, in his capacity as NCM chairman, upheld the decision of India's premier educational institution, St. Stephens College, to earmark a small percentage of seats for Dalit Christians.[6] Ansari resigned as NCM chairman soon after his nomination for the post of India's Vice President.

He edited a book titled Iran Today: Twenty – five Years after the Islamic Revolution (ISBN 81-291-0774-0).

Vice-Presidential Elections, 2007

On 20 July 2007, Ansari was named by the UPA-Left, the ruling coalition in India, as its candidate for the post of Vice President for the upcoming election. When asked, Ansari said he felt "humbled" over the UPA-Left decision naming him as their candidate. "I am humbled by the confidence reposed in me". Ansari refused to say more when asked about his prospects in the 10 August election.[7]

Ansari secured 455 votes, and won the election by a margin of 233 votes against his nearest rival Najma Heptullah in the Vice-President Election.

Quotes

  • "The language used by the Pope sounds like that of his 12th-Century counterpart who ordered the crusades... It surprises me because the Vatican has a very comprehensive relationship with the Muslim world." – 15 September 2006, as Chairman of the Minorities Commission of India, on the Pope Benedict XVI Islam controversy.[8]
  • "No citizen is apolitical; as a citizen, by definition, has to take interest in public affairs.” – 10 August 2007, after being elected Vice-President, on being asked whether he is apolitical.[9]

See also

Notes

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Bhairon Singh Shekhawat
Vice President of India
2007–present
Incumbent

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