People's failure is actually the failure of leadership
“In 2008 while entire Kashmir was on the road,” said Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman SAS Geelani while releasing his autobiography, “demanding Azadi through summer; in winter the same people came out in droves to vote. In summer it was ‘we want freedom’ and in winter it ‘we want transformers and roads” (Geelani rejects stone pelting’ Indian Express, July 08).
Geelani castigated people for failing ‘to safeguard the sacrifices rendered by them for the ongoing movement’ (Kashmiris have failed to safeguard sacrifices: Geelani, (GK, July 08). In the same newspaper the reporter quoted Geelani that he urged people “to do self-introspection and infuse discipline to pave way for achieving ‘freedom’.” If a leader blames people for the failure of their strategy the fault lies in the leadership. The pro resistance leader has to realise that it is the people who give him legitimacy. And if people voted in the Assembly elections it is the failure of pro resistance leaders not of the people. Voting took place in Afghanistan as well did it in anyway legitimized USA occupation? Geelani and his party have to ask questions and answer them well: why did people vote? What motivated and brought them to polling booth? He must challenge and question the State’s common formulation of the story. If Geelani claims that his politics is based on Islam then he must show respect and live in accordance with the people. In Islam politics is a positive term and not based on deceit. Leaders and followers live and work together. You must identify yourself with people and be among them, not over them.
The legitimacy of any leader depends on the people. It is their hearts and minds that make a leader. That is why in any struggle against colonial forces the colonial powers always target the leaders for they understand and know it pretty well that once the shepherd is lost the whole herd gets lost with him. He must be knowing that herd trusts the shepherd who in turn understands their needs. Sometimes he leads them from front sometimes from the back. The shepherd protects the flock, guides them, gives them direction and when necessary confronts the wild beasts from eating them. There he does not sit on the fence. He risks his own live to save the herd. If a sheep goes astray he doesn’t blame it. He brings him back. “If you do not have faith in the people,” wrote Fidel Castro and quoted by Che Guevara in his diary during the Cuban War, “if you do not count on their great reserves of energy and combative sprit, then you do not have the right to lay hands upon their destiny” (Reminiscences of the Cuban revolutionary war: Ernesto Che Guevara). Even the State leaders refrain from castigating people. They condemn each other, not people. You cannot disdain people and hope to get their trust. When there is deficiency of trust on one side and disdain on the other side things cannot work in uniform. In the summer of 2010 when people where delegitimizing State institutions it was on the call of you that they refrained from attacking. Now a year later you chide them! The fault lies with your leadership, with your cadres and sometimes with your strategy.
It is easy to bring the hordes of people on the street and much, much difficult to bring them back home safely. The failure of the leadership is not the failure of people. It is his individual loss.
When a part of world was against you during the heydays of 4-Point Formula of ex President of Pakistan you stood firm. That time you didn’t lament for lack of support as a leader should be. A leader is to guide not to reproach hapless people who are always looking toward their shepherd to lead them to better pastures. They will make mistakes, they will go astray but then what is a leader supposed to do if he cannot bring people back to the fold.
Inam ul Rehman
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 28 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 29 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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