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Making his farewell, the Vice President of India Hamid Ansari on Thursday reminded everyone of the importance of democracy and responsibility of the leadership and minorities towards each other.
Hamid Ansari, after receiving a glorious tribute from the parliament members said, "It (Rajya Sabha) has upheld democracy's sacred creed that discussion, instead of being a stumbling block in the way of action, is, in fact, an indispensable preliminary to wise action."
"Deviation from the golden rule contributes neither to diligent policymaking nor to our claim to be a mature democracy based on rule of law," he said, adding that in this context he would like to recall the words of "the most distinguished of my predecessors, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan".
Ansari then quoted Radhakrishnan who had said: "A democracy is distinguished by the protection it gives to minorities. A democracy is likely to degenerate into tyranny if it does not allow the opposition groups to criticise fairly, freely and frankly the policies of the government.
"But, at the same time, minorities also have their responsibilities. Well, they have every right to criticise, their right to criticize should not degenerate into willful hampering and obstruction of the work of Parliament. All groups, therefore, have their right and have their responsibilities."
Ansari said that he "fervently hopes" that all sections of the House would seek to achieve this laudable objective.
Ansari recalled that when 10 years back he was welcomed in the House, an eminent leader gave him a piece of advice that no matter how the members create a ruckus in the House, the Chair should never let his smile go off his face as a smile can conquer them all.
"I confess I had no difficulty in benefitting from this eminently sensible counsel," the outgoing Vice President said.
He said that the Chair is like an umpire in cricket or a referee in a hockey match "witnessing the play and the players, but without becoming a player".
"Its only source of reference is the book of rules," he said.
He said the manner in which parliamentarians attend to their business is watched by the citizen body.
He concluded with an Urdu couplet saying "Aao ke aaj khatm karein dastan-e-ishq/ab khatme-e-aashiqi ke fasaane sunaye hum".