A firebrand politician, a fearless orator and a never-say-die debtor. All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) chief Asaduddin Owaisi has several aces up in his sleeve. The leader, who has seen a meteoric rise in the Indian politics in the past decade, is looking upbeat for his next challenge: Bihar assembly elections. Here’s is a sneak peek into his life.
What books are you reading?
Charles Lister on ISIS and Muhammad al-Yaqoubi on refuting ISIS.
What movies do you watch?
I don’t have time to watch films, but if I get time I watch cricket.
What keeps you awake at night?
Nothing. I only get five hours sleep a night and at elections, it’s even less than that.
What is your first memory?
Troubling my mother, and asking her for more milk. I got hyper if it didn’t come on time!
Which non-Indian do you admire?
The only person I admire is Indian: his name is Abdul Gafoor Noorani, a famous constitutional lawyer. He’s an expert on Kashmir and Pakistan, human rights, and a great writer, who has written books on Kashmir, China, Hyderabad, and three volumes on Babri Masjid.
If not a politician, what would you do?
I’d be a lawyer, making good money.
Which other MP do you admire, as a professional?
Mani Shankar Aiyar of the Congress. And Saugata Roy from the Trinamool Congress. They have intellectual honesty and are well prepared for speeches, and they show thoroughness on the subject they’re debating.
What guides you day by day?
A sense of responsibility and passion for the work I do.
What one law would you change in India?
The 1950 Presidential Order which discriminates on the lines of religion, and says only Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists can be Dalits, and not Christians or Muslims. This contravenes Article 14 of the Constitution — the right to equality before the law for all citizens.
What will you do when you retire?
There’s no retirement in politics.