Debates rare, disruptions frequent; says Karan in farewell speech

Singh was both ‘Raja & Mantri’: VP

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Jan 5: Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said today that Dr Karan Singh, former ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, a former Union Minister and Parliamentarian, was both ‘Raja and Mantri’ (King and Minister) and complemented him saying hearing him was a feast.
Naidu’s remarks came before Dr Karan Singh delivered brief farewell speech  in the Rajya Sabha today, the last day of Winter Session of Parliament as he would be completing his term by the end of this month along with Janardhan Dwivedi and Parvez Hashmi.
“Dr Karan Singh was both ‘Raja and Mantri’ (King and Minister). Hearing him was a feast,” Naidu remarked, in an apparent reference of Dr Singh being ruler of Jammu and Kashmir and also a Union Minister later.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad also recalled his inter-action with Karan Singh.
“In Karan Singh, I saw a ‘philosopher King’ as envisaged by Aristotle. Of late, Singh had stopped writing but I urge him to continue writing,” Prasad said.
In his speech, Dr Karan Singh said he had come to New Delhi half a century ago after serving for 18 years as head of the State (Jammu and Kashmir).
“At the age of 36, I joined Mrs Gandhi’s (Indira) camp. Of these 50 years, I had been Member of Parliament for 40 years-four times in Lok Sabha and an equal terms in Rajya Sabha, sitting both in treasury benches as well as Opposition,” Karan Singh said.
He said Parliament has evolved in the last 50 years but not all the changes were positive.
Stating that earlier both the Houses used to witness brilliant debates from Hiren Mukherjee, Madhu Limaye, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Nath Pai, Bhupesh Gupta etc, he regretted that debates have now become rare and disruptions have been more frequent. He called upon the members to introspect this.
“Earlier, there were just two news channels. Now, there are 500,” he remarked.
Dr Karan Singh said there was need for introspection to see “what we can do to ensure that Parliamentary system functions as per rules and smoothly.”
Recalling that he had the privilege of inter-action with huge section of Parliamentarians, he described former Prime Ministers -Jawahar Lal Nehru and Lal Bahadur Shastri as his mentors and said he had the experience of working with Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, PV Narasimha Rao, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Dr Manmohan Singh and now Narendra Modi.
“I have noticed one thing was very common in them despite their different opinion and ideology. All of them were working for what Pt Jawahar Lal Nehru called–“the exciting adventure of building a new India. Every Prime Minister has made a contribution in it,” he asserted.He said he participated or was witness to every single general election in the country.
Dr Karan Singh said he came to New Delhi as “idealistic young man of 36” and was now bidding farewell as “idealistic old man”.
He added that India will overcome all challenges as long as “we are faithful to Constitution and civilian values”.
Dr Karan Singh ended his speech by quoting Shakeel Badayuni and Upnishads.
Quoting Badayuni, he said: “Har Cheej Nahin Hai Markaj Par, Ik Zara Idhar, Ik Zara Udhar; Nafrat Se Na Dekho Dushman Ko, Shayad Woh Mohabbat Kar Baithe”.
From Upnishad, he quoted: “Let us work together, let us be nourished together, let us achieve together, let there be no hatred between us”.
After Karan Singh’s speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi went up to him and shook hands to bid farewell.
Leader of Opposition Ghulam Nabi Azad of the Congress said his veteran party colleague Singh had become the Head of State of Jammu and Kashmir at the age of 18 years, probably the youngest person in the world to occupy such a post.
During his 57 political career, 86-year-old Karan Singh got the opportunity to interact with all the Prime Ministers, right from Jawahar Lal Nehru till Narendra Modi, Azad said, adding he had either been in the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha for four terms each.
Despite being born in a royal family and holding high positions, Singh never touched liquor, cigarette, or chewed paan throughout his life, and always remained humble, Azad said.