'Proud to be Hindustani Muslim...': Emotional Ghulam Nabi Azad thanks colleagues as Rajya Sabha bids him tearful goodbye

It was a emotional day for people at the Rajya Sabha as Congress MP Ghulam Nabi Azad gave a farewell speech at the Rajya Sabha. The terms of Leader of Opposition Azad and three others from Jammu and Kashmir -- Nazir Ahmad Laway, Shamsher Singh Manhas, Mir Mohammad Fayaz-- whose terms in the Upper House are coming to an end next.

Looking back at his lengthy career, Azad reminisced about the early days of the partition. "I am among those fortunate people who never went to Pakistan. When I read about circumstances in Pakistan, I feel proud to be a Hindustani Muslim," he remarked.

Azad summed up more than four decades of political experience in a short speech, remarking as he did, that even a ten-hour speech can be summed up in merely two couplets by a poet. But even as he expressed his sentiments through a few Urdu couplets, Azad was not the only one bidding a poetic farewell.

Union Minister and RPI leader Ramdas Athawale lauded the contribution of the retiring Congress leader and said goodbye with a poem of his own.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also became emotional during his farewell speech. Almost teary-eyed, the Prime Minister recalled an incident where Azad's personal intervention led to the return of survivors and corpses of Gujarat residents who had faced a terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

"I will never forget Shri Azad's and Shri Pranab Mukherjee's efforts when people from Gujarat were stuck in Kashmir due to a terror attack. Ghulam Nabi Ji was constantly following up, he sounded as concerned as if those stuck were his own family members," the Prime Minister recalled.

(With inputs from agencies)

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