Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Kolkata)
Indian National Congress
BA (Hons); MA (Political Science)
University of Calcutta
Aligarh Muslim University
Two sons; one daughter
12th Vice President of India ( 11 August 2007 - 11 August 2017)
About Hamid Ansari
Hamid Ansari is a former diplomat currently serving as the Vice President of India. He has been in the office since 2007. He is the only person after Dr. S. Radhakrishnan to get re-elected to the post of Vice President of India. Ansari also serves as President of the Indian Institute of Public Administration and Chancellor of Panjab University, Chandigarh.
Mohammad Hamid Ansari was born on April 1, 1937 in Kolkata, West Bengal. His family hails from Ghazipur, Uttar Pradesh. He went to St. Edward's School in Shimla. Ansari completed his graduation from St. Xavier's College, Calcutta University and Masters in Political Science from Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh. He is married to Salma Ansari. The couple has two sons and one daughter.
Professional Career of Hamid Ansari
Hamid Ansari joined the Indian Foreign Service as a diplomat in 1961. In a diplomatic career spanning almost four decades, he served as ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (1976-79), Afghanistan (1989-90), Iran (1990-92) and Saudi Arabia (1995-99). He also served as high commissioner to Australia from 1985 to 1989 and permanent representative to the United Nations from 1993 to 1995.
After retiring from foreign service, Ansari served in various academic positions. He was professor and vice chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University as well as visiting professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia. He also worked for a private research group and various government committees. Hamid Ansari became the chairman of the National Commission for Minorities in 2006. He, however, resigned from this position one year later after the Congress party selected him as its candidate for the vice-presidential elections.
Ansari won the 2007 vice-presidential elections by defeating his nearest rival, Najma Heptullah of BJP, with a margin of 233 votes. He was re-elected for another term of five years in 2012, this time defeating the BJP nominee Jaswant Singh by 252 votes.
Achievements & Controversies
Hamid Ansari is known for his role in ensuring relief and compensation for the victims of the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. He also pushed for a complete review of relief and rehabilitation efforts for all riot victims in India since 1984. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1984.
Hamid Ansari has authored the book 'Travelling Through Conflict: Essays on the Politics of West Asia' and edited 'Iran Today: Twenty Five Years After the Islamic Revolution'. Apart from these, he has written a number of academic papers and newspaper articles on West Asian Politics.
Hamid Ansari's tenure in office has been largely uncontroversial. On certain occasions, though, he has aired strong views in the public domain. In 2006, while serving as chairman of the National Commission for Minorities, he criticised comments made by Pope Benedict XVI as anti-Islamic. In 2005, Ansari questioned the Indian government's decision to vote against Iran’s nuclear program in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
Famous Quotes of Hamid Ansari
“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.
"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.
"There is no shame in acknowledging the faults and the lacunae that exist in the policies and institutions pertaining to Human Rights." -26 September 2013, addressing the First Convocation of Central University of Bihar.