On 26th Jan. morning when the whole nation was busy in celebration of 66th Republic Day, some antinational elements posted photos on social sites like Twitter and Facebook showing that Ansari did not salute the national flag during the national anthem. ‘‘Jihadi sympathiser’’, ‘‘anti-India’’, ‘‘anti-nationalist’’, ‘‘traitor’’, these were some of the names that the vice president of India was hurled at on the country’s 66thRepublic Day. Many tweeted demanding that Ansari be impeached, the more moderate ones wanted him to resign, and the more outraged ones advised him to join the ISIS. Some users concluded that Ansari might have deliberately done so because saluting a national flag is against strict interpretation of Islamic teachings, which argues for Ummah – one common nation of Muslims – and doesn’t support the modern concept of nation-states. He is such a gem who has some distinguished talent and has been a member of the elite Indian Foreign Service from 1961. Ansari has been the Permanent Representative of India to the UN. During this time, he has represented India and Indian interests at countless World Forums. Moreover, he was the Chief of Protocol for the Indian government in 1980–85.
So you are doubting him? First read something about who is Mr. Ansari?
Mohammad Hamid Ansari is the 14th and current Vice President of India since 2007. After Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, he is the only person to get elected for the post of Vice President of India for two consecutive terms. He also presently serves as President of the Indian Institute of Public Administration and Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh. Ansari worked as an ambassador and served as Vice-Chancellor of the Aligarh Muslim University. Earlier he was Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities. 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. 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. Ansari is a West Asia scholar and has written 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.
MP from Telangana and AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi wrote an opinion piece on this and asked, “It seems that no matter how many times a Muslim swears his allegiance to the Indian nation, no matter how successful he becomes in the country, there will always be doubts over his patriotism. Even if you are the vice-president of India, if you are a Muslim, you still have to prove your love for the country.”
Section VI of the Flag Code of India says, “During the ceremony of hoisting or lowering the flag, or when the flag is passing in a parade or in a review, all persons present should face the flag and stand at attention. Those present in uniform should render the appropriate salute.”
This has been further explained by Gurdeep Singh Sappal, Officer on Special Duty to the Vice President of India CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Rajya Sabha TV through their tweets
Since the Vice President was not wearing uniform, even the law didn’t require him to salute. The President, by virtue of him being the Commander in Chief, is required to salute. The Prime Minister and the Defence Minister are not required to salute by any law or protocol due to absence of any ‘uniform’. The PM and DM may have saluted out of inexperience or extra enthusiasm.
(The author is a lecturer of Department of Applied Geology from National Institute of Technology)