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Democracy never possible without secularism: Javed Akhtar

Well known poet and writer Javed Akhtar said democracy could never be possible without secularism.

New Delhi: Well known poet and writer Javed Akhtar on Tuesday said democracy could never be possible without secularism.

"We are very blessed. We keep complaining, but we must be thankful for our constitution which gives us democracy," he said in the Rajya Sabha while sharing his experiences in the upper house during the past six years. 

India's biggest achievement after Independence was to establish "democracy in the roots of our country", said Akhtar, who will retire as a nominated member from the Rajya Sabha this year.

Recalling that he approached the then prime minister Manmohan Singh with an issue pertaining to writers, he said Manmohan Singh discussed the matter with him before asking him to consult the opposition as well.

"I felt so good (about the suggestion)," Akhtar said, adding that there is not only a government in India but also an opposition.

"There are governments everywhere in the world, but only a democracy has opposition," he said.

Akhtar said he felt greatly enriched after spending six years in the upper house as he got to hear good debates and discussions on issues concerning the country.

"I have heard lots of leaders speaking here. I have heard (finance minister) Arun Jaitley's scholarly debates. I have heard leaders like Kapil Sibal, Sitaram Yechury, Brinda Karat and others. It was good," he said, adding he could have heard more leaders but frequent adjournments ruined it.

He said he would cherish his memories of his stint in the upper house as they were 'keemti' (precious).

Without naming AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi, he said: "He (Owaisi) said he will not say 'Bharat mata ki jai' as the constitution does not require him to say so. But, the same constitution does not ask him to wear sherwani either," Akhtar said.

He urged the government to use the power of the Indian youth and said that India was blessed with every possible good thing but he could not understand why, despite all this, people were still living a miserable life.