Mohammad Hamid Ansari
By Afzal Usmani
Born: April 1, 1937 in Kolkata
Education: St Edwards High School in Shimla, St. Xavier College, Kolkata, S.T. High School (Minto Circle), AMU Aligarh
M.A. (Political Science) in 1959 from AMU Aligarh
Lecturer: Department of Political Science, AMU Aligarh -1959-61
Joined Indian Foreign Service in 1961 (4th Rank)
Vice President of India - August 10, 2007 - Till date
Chairman: National Commission for Minorities: March 2006 August 10, 2007
Vice-Chancellor: Aligarh Muslim University from 28th May 2000 to 30th March 2002.
Chief of Protocol Officer Government of India (1980-85),
Ambassador: United Arab Emirates (UAE) 1976-80, Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Australia
Permanent Representative to the United Nations
Visiting Professor: The Centre for West Asian and African Studies,Jawaharlal Nehru University
The Academy for Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia
Chairman: The Advisory Committee for Oil Diplomacy of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
Co-Chairman: The India-UK Round Table
Member: The National Security Advisory Board
Trustee: The Bapu Sadbhavana and Shiksha Trust
Padma Shiri: 1984
Mohammed Hamid Ansari was born on April 1, 1937 in Indian city of Kolkata. His family originally belongs to Ghazipur (UP) but his father was staying in Kolkata. He is the grand-nephew of Dr. Mukhtar Ahmad Ansari, who was President of the Indian National Congress in 1927 (Madras Session) and founding member of Jamia Millia Islamia. After completing his primary education from St Edwards High School in Shimla, he joined St. Xavier College, Kolkata and later joined Aligarh Muslim University for higher education. He was a part of AMU cricket team during his student life and was wicket-keeper in the cricket team. After completing his education he joined teaching at AMU Aligarh and later qualified for UPSC and joined Indian Foreign Service (IFS) in 1961.
In his career as seasoned diplomat he served as ambassador to United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 1976 to 1980. He also served as Chief of Protocol Government of India from 1980 to 1985. He had also served as an ambassador to Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. He had also served as High Commissioner to Australia. He had also served as Convener and later Chairman of The Advisory Committee for Oil Diplomacy of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. He was a Permanent Representative to the United Nations. After retirement from Indian Foreign Services, he joined as a visiting Professor at the Centre for West Asian and African Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Academy for Third World Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.
In May 2002, even with a lot of odds due to his age of 63 years he was appointed as Vice-Chancellor of his alma mater, Aligarh Muslim University. He served as AMU Vice-Chancellor from 28th May 2000 to 30th March, 2002. On 30th March after reaching to age of 65 years (as he was born on 1st April 1937), he handed over the charge of AMU Vice-Chancellorship to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Saleemuddin Siddiqui and moved back to Delhi to live a retired life. Even in his retired life, he was very active in academics and was serving as Visiting Professor to JNU and Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi and was a seasoned write to different news papers and print media on different social and political issues. Mr. Ansari wrote trenchantly on the Palestinian issue and took positions inconvenient to the Indian official line on Iraq and Iran. In a Leader Page article, “Alternative approaches to West Asian crises” (The Hindu, May 5, 2006), he brought out the need for simultaneous progress on Palestine, Iraq and Iran. In an earlier article, “Et EU, India,” (Outlook, October 10, 2005), he questioned India’s vote in the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran’s nuclear programme. He said that though the Indian Government claimed to have acted on “its own judgment,” this was not borne out by facts. He also edited Iran Today: Twenty Years after the Islamic Revolution (Rupa, New Delhi, 2005) and has written a number of academic papers and newspaper articles on West Asian politics.
Mr. Ansari was appointed to the 5th Statutory National Commission for Minorities (NCM) in March 2006. Before that he was co-chairman of the India-U.K. Round Table, a member of the National Security Advisory Board and convener (and later chairman) of the Petroleum Ministry’s advisory committee on Oil Diplomacy for Energy Security. He was chairman of the working group on “Confidence building measures across segments of society in the State,” established by the Second Round Table Conference of the Prime Minister on Jammu and Kashmir in 2006. The report of the working group was adopted by the Third Round Table in April 2007. Among other things, the report advocates recognizing the right of Kashmiri Pandits to return to “places of their original residence.” This right, it argued, should be recognized without any ambiguity and made a part of state policy.
Mohammad Hamid Ansari has handled an impressive range of assignments in a career spanning over 45 years. These positions include co-chairman of the India-U.K. Round Table, a member of the National Security Advisory Board and convener (and later chairman) of the Petroleum Ministry's advisory committee on Oil Diplomacy for Energy Security. He has a deep interest in West Asian affairs. He has written extensively on the subject, including in The Hindu , where his latest column appeared on July 11.
Mr. Ansari edited the book, Iran Today: Twenty Five Years After the Islamic Revolution.
Seasoned diplomat and academician Mohammed Hamid Ansari was on Friday, 20th July, 2007 unanimously chosen as the United Progressive Alliance-Left candidate for the post of Vice-President of India. Scholar-diplomat-writer was Chairman of the National Commission for Minorities at the time when he was elected to the second highest office of the country. Mohammad Hamid Ansari, brings with him a wealth of experience, having handled an impressive range of assignments in a career spanning over 45 years.
From August 10, 2007, he is serving as Vice-President of India, the largest democracy of the world.