VP Ansari says all of us are responsible for social attitudes, answers queries in interaction with college students.

Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said for crimes against women to end, social attitudes need to be changed.

“It is a serious matter… [yet] not being addressed at the root,” he said in an interaction with students of the Justice Basheer Ahmed Sayeed College for Women.

The law and order machinery is one important aspect, but a more important aspect is the “question of social attitudes for which all of us individually and collectively are responsible,” he said.

“Unless we are able to see women as fellow human beings, as fellow citizens, as equal citizens entitled to equal rights, equal responsibilities, this situation will continue to arise,” Mr. Ansari said to a query as to why despite many laws, it was still unsafe for women to walk on the roads.

This was just one of over 20 queries, on a wide range of issues, posed to the Vice-President by the students. Mr. Ansari responded to all of them. The only time he said he would not comment was with regard to the Women’s Reservation Bill pending before the Lok Sabha.

The queries ranged from what needs to be done for nuclear disarmament; which is more challenging – his job as Vice-President or as chairman of Rajya Sabha; a permanent seat for India on the UN Security Council and the limited coverage in Indian media about foreign affairs.

On the gradual decline in the quality of the functioning of democracy in India and measures needed to improve it, Mr. Ansari said the participants in the functioning of parliamentary democracy have concluded that noise-making is preferable to debate. “The only viable solution… is to ensure that the parliament functions more than what it is doing now, longer sessions for longer durations are essential.”

Responding to the difference between India under Jawaharlal Nehru and now, the Vice-President said there was no food shortage. “We have sometimes surplus food for export, our infrastructure has improved very considerably. If you go to Chennai airport, look at the old building and the new building of the airport. That is the measure of change that has taken place, in your own city you can see that. You have a very impressive Metro network coming up here.”

Nehru’s vision has been, by and large, followed by succeeding generations, he said. Mr. Ansari said he was very impressed with the founder of the college, the students, faculty and the interaction. Moosa Raza, chairman, S.I.E. Trust, which runs the college, and many other educational institutions, said there were 6,500 students and 3,000 faculty members.

Governor K. Rosaiah, secretary of the trust S. Munir Hoda, correspondent Faizur Rahman Sayeed, and the college principal Nausheen Dawood also participated.

More In: Chennai | News