New Delhi: Staging fast for a strong Jan Lokpal Bill in order to sweep out corruption and malpractices that are eating into vitals of the country and dented its image on the world arena, veteran social activist Anna Hazare, a Gandhian by belief, outlook and practice, has become a cult figure among youths and is swaying them by innocent but can-do contour of his face with donning Gandhi cap.

In traditional dhoti-kurta coupled with white cap and quintessential Indian by look, the 74-year-old Anna has given Gandhi cap a new height, making jeans clad and ultra-modern Gen-next wear the white-coloured cap, which was first popularized by Mahatma Gandhi during the Indian Independence Movement.

Such is the craze that markets have been plastered with the Gandhi caps and the sale of the topi, said shopkeepers, swelled by 70 percent. From children to elderly, everyone is seen sporting the Gandhi cap to express their solidarity with Hazare in a fight to free the country from the rampant corruption.

According to sellers in Maharashtra and Central India, the sales of these caps surge either during the Marathi wedding season or elections. But, this time the selling of Gandhi topis is going through roof following Anna’s August Kranti.

The cap inscribed with ‘I am Anna’ is the most sought after as people, mostly youth, are passionately buying them, in an apparent ground swell of patriotism to ventilate the idea that there could be thousands of Anna standing robust to root out graft and sleaze in the system. The price of these caps ranges from Rs 5 to 10.

According to experts, the Gandhi cap had become an identity of the Congress during the freedom struggle, but after Independence, its use got diminished.

JPN/Bureau