26 November, 2020

Capped Crusader

A vote-cutter or a voice of the Muslims? A messiah or a mole? A secularist or a mirror image of the Hindu Right? Questions swirl as the mysterious Mr Owaisi rises nationally….

Photograph by P.V. Sivakumar
Capped Crusader
outlookindia.com
2020-11-21T14:03:59+05:30

Occasionally, an entity seems to possess power far beyond what’s quantifiable. Of all the chess pieces, for instance, the knight possesses the most intriguing qualities. Despite a limited range, its odd two-and-one, onward-and-sideways dance step allows it mobility in any direction, a certain unpredictability. It’s unique for another reason: it can jump over occupied squares, and so cannot be blockaded. Its potency, therefore, increases as it advances. The figure of a knight is advancing over the Indian political chessboard as we speak. To some who behold it, he appears in shining armour; to others, he seems a disconcerting interloper. Even to the neutral observer—if there is any that can manage neutrality towards the figure of Asaduddin Owaisi—he seems to contain the unknown quality of a googly. His party just hit the headlines by contesting Bihar, winning five assembly seats. And now Bengal looms. Everyone is trying to fathom how this four-time Lok Sabha MP has grown beyond his little island of Hyderabad, to Maharashtra first, and with sallies right into...

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