…an hour with Geelani

It was an heartwarming experience!



I arranged for an hour with Syed Ali Shah Geelani on 8th of December, prior to the start of a seminar on human rights in Hyderpora office of Hurriyat [G] where I was invited as a participant.   Incidentally, human rights day is observed worldwide on 10th of December. However, Hurriyat [G] seminar was preponed to accommodate the JKLF seminar/strike call on 10th December, meant to protest judicial verdicts. The verdicts extending life imprisonment to the stroke of death, the commoner’s perception of life imprisonment meaning confinement up to 14 years, withstanding.
SAS Geelani lives in middle class setting and greets his guest in a sparsely set drawing room, with not only a handshake but, more often than not, with a hug. The hug that exudes warmth, in sharp contrast to made out image of being rigid. Withstanding respect for the octogenarian leader, I asked him some tough questions over the next hour. He has known how not to loose his cool, in the face of contention of his viewpoint. His smile is often infectious. I asked him to comment on change being the only constant, as made out by Prof. Bhat of Hurriyat [M] while quoting John Lock in an earlier interaction.
Change, said SAS Geelani, does not imply bargaining on basics, the basics vis-à-vis ‘K’ issue remain U.N resolutions and right of self determination. Change is a pattern pertaining to developmental stages a human being passes through, as also the change of seasons, the changing pattern of planets in the solar system. Endowed with couplet after couplet of Persian and Urdu poetry, with which he laces his public speeches as well a private talk, he quoted Iqbal to prove his point:
Sabbath Ik Tagayyur Ko Hai Zamanay Mei’n    
 It could be put as:
Change is the only permanence
For a moment I thought, he supports change; however he was insistent that it applies to natural phenomenon, not to basic beliefs. “Self determination may not get realized in our lifetime” said SAS Geelani “far from compromising the basics we may pass resistance to generation next”. He looked every inch the Geelani, we know. Propagated to be a hardliner, the label may apply to him if sticking to basic principles of an issue means adopting a hardliner. He looked accommodative to the extent of accepting tripartite dialogue, as medium of realizing self determination. However that as per Hurriyat [G]’s constant line is subject to India accepting Kashmir, as a dispute. The rider, SAS Geelani time and again seems ready to relate is borne of India’s luring the contenders into a dialogue process, and then backing out. The luring has yielded no results, except for exposing the ones lured into the much touted dialogue process.
Dating back the phenomenon of politics of change to events and occurrences of combined Hurriyat of the year 2002 A.D, he related that while as prior to the trip to America, it was said that India is strong and we are weak, still we may not surrender, following the trip accession to Pakistan got ruled out. In a 13th July meet at the martyr’s graveyard, it was related that if India takes one step, we shall take ten. On the last Friday of Ramadan, before diverse narratives would come up, SAS Geelani, as he related, made a speech stating the basics related to ‘K’ issue. In the resulting euphoria, none else, related Geelani was allowed to speak, as the call for prayer rent the air. Relating Lt. Abdul Ghani Lone’s differing stand, SAS Geelani looked charged with sentiments. He looked gracious in conceding that differing stand withstanding; Lt. A.G.Lone was a deft practitioner of political art. SAS Geelani was a picture of pain borne of years of struggle, as he recounted the period, when Prof. Bhat took over from him as chairman of combined Hurriyat.
Three weeks earlier, on 17th November, in media interaction SAS Geelani had stated, “People need to go into what led to the division after amalgam remained a single entity for 10 years. You have to see why we parted ways?”  He seemed to be providing answers to his own query. I did question him on unity moves initiated by Shabir Shah in 2008, which as he related had a written agreement. While as Shah ascribed failure to incarceration of leaders, SAS Geelani said that others backed out of what was noted—sticking to demand of self determination, and tripartite talks, were India to accept ‘K’ issue being a dispute. The talk on politics of change being desirable or not, given the basic principles of  ‘K’ issue stated by SAS Geelani remained inconclusive, as initiating a seminar on human rights was getting delayed.

(Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]. Feedback on: iqbal.javid46@gmail.com)

Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 27 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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