We knew already that he was erudite, a scholar and a thinker. But when Former Vice President Hamid Ansari took the Algebra stage, we received a masterclass in dignity and resilience, and in conviction outside of easy binaries.
His political maturity came through in his desire not to engage with the minutae of the moment, but to take a wider view of India’s belief in plurality, and he argued – convincingly – that the broad sweep of history validates the best of us, rather than particular moments in time that seem to draw out the most insecure in a society.
Speaking of his years as Rajya Sabha chairman and the challenge of manoeuvering unequal political relationships, he said “I was like the umpire in a cricket game or a soccer match. I go by the rules laid out, and I have a red card and a yellow card. It was not for me to play the match.”
It’s a conversation reassuring for its underlying optimism, even as the former VP deflected the more thorny questions of our present.
No matter where you lie on the political belief spectrum, you’ll enjoy watching the full session above.
Algebra, the Arts & Ideas Club brings together a fellowship of people who believe great cities are built not just on infrastructure but a life of the mind; who understand robust and liberal societies need the oxygen of great conversation and nuanced thinking.
At a time when we are increasingly surrounded by rage and noise, Algebra is a live and continuous space for people to come together for a genuine exchange of ideas and exposure to issues; where new seeds could be sparked, fresh perspectives formed, and intelligent connections made.
Algebra – the Arts and Ideas Club is designed to host almost 35 engagements over the year with topline thinkers and practitioners from almost every discipline that impacts human affairs: politics, economy, environment, spirituality, cinema, medicine, science, technology, music, media, literature, the arts, sports, people’s movements, et al.