//Meet the staunch Muslim Gandhi

Meet the staunch Muslim Gandhi

Prarthna Gahilote  CNN-IBN Updated Monday , March 13, 2006 at 12:49
IDENTITY POLITICS: Abdul Hafiz Gandhi is making his presence felt on the AMU campus.

Terror attacks in Varanasi, anti-Bush protests across the country, the Godhra report, the controversial Muslim headcount in Indian Army – minority politics is yet again on a boil. Amid the angry voices, slogan-shouting, appeasement politics and the rising intolerance, where exactly does India’s Muslim community stand? CNN-IBN gauges the minority mood in a special series – Minority Report.

The Aligarh Muslim University has been in focus for its rising conservative attitudes for quite some time now.

From being increasingly intolerant to all things Western to propogating the Islamic ideology with pomp, show and sometimes even force – the institute has always been a popular ideological and intellectual hub in the Muslim scheme of things.

Abdul Hafiz Gandhi is a 28-year-old law student of the university. Two years ago, Gandhi was just another college student, hanging out at the university dhabas (eating joints) and wearing shirts and trousers.

But today, with the aspirations of a political career, Gandhi has fashioned a different identity for himself.

Gandhi opposes Nescafe, sternly disapproves of drinking beer or rum, supports minority status for AMU and campaigns against women students who don’t stick to a dress code.

“Your dress should be proper. Not something that provokes people to sexually harass you or pass sexual comments,” Gandhi says.

He looks serious, rather, he must look a serious Muslim. His attire has undergone a transformation too, reflecting his new-found identity of a Muslim mass leader.