Every Muslim should feel proud that we are in India: Ghulam Nabi Azad

Manushree MA

Bangalore: After over two decades of service and powerful debates, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and Congress stalwart, Ghulam Nabi Azad, signed off from the Upper House in a poignant speech, leaving Parliamentarians emotional. Following PM Modi’s farewell speech, Azad recalled the 2007 terrorist attack in Kashmir, when a grenade was lobbed at a bus carrying tourists from Gujarat, during his tenure as the Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. He emotionally spoke of how the families and children of the victims moved the former CM to tears. “I pray to God that militancy and terrorism end in this country,” Azad said. In the archived video, a teary-eyed Azad can be seen comforting the pilgrims who lost their dear ones to the deadly terrorist attack. “You were supposed to return with fruits and dry fruits, but now you are having to go back home with the bodies of your children. I ask for your forgiveness,” Azad can be heard in the video. Azad, whose term as Rajya Sabha member ends on February 15, has been a member of the upper house for 28 years. He was a member of Lok Sabha for 10 years and was Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir for three years. Remembering former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Azad said, “the Opposition could not keep fighting over issues. I learnt this former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during his tenure as the leader of the opposition. The easiest working of the House was when Vajpayee was the LoP. People chose us to make rules for them. These rules would not pass if we keep arguing. I learned a lot from Atalji, how to break a deadlock, how to run the House.” In his speech, Azad recalled his days in Srinagar’s SP College when there were more people to celebrate August 14 (Pakistan independence day) than those celebrating August 15. “I was among few who would celebrate India’s Independence Day. We used to stay away from college for days after the event fearing for ourselves,” he said. The tall Congress leader said, “I am among those fortunate people who have never been to Pakistan. Looking at the state of affairs in Pakistan or even in other Muslim countries of the world, I think, every Muslim should feel proud that we are in India,” in his speech laced with Urdu couplets. Quoting revolutionary Urdu poet poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz, he said, “Dil na-umeed to nahi, nakaam hi to hai, lambi hai gham ki shaam, magar shaam hi to hai (the heart may be hopeless but its not been unsuccessful, the evening is long, but will end).

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