Shall we then give up?

It depends on what we call `giving up''

AJAZ UL HAQUE
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 26 2018 10:41PM | Updated Date: May 26 2018 10:41PM
Shall we then give up?File Photo

My last week column (Losers can't be choosers) raised some questions. Some of my readers are not happy with the idea of `losing' which they say, means defeat. Their question is more important than my opinion. A reader asks, `shall we then give up'? 

Give up what? The struggle? The sentiment? The wish? Give up resistance or a form of self-destruction we call resistance. What shall we give up? I don't have answers, but I can only rephrase the question for my own understanding of the problem. If Mirwaiz Umar Farooq says `our demand is simple. We want freedom'. Whose demand is complicated. Who doesn't want freedom. My worry is everyone's worry. While chasing for a bigger freedom, aren't we losing the smaller one. My definition of a loser is not the one who has lost the game, but the one who has lost the sense of losing. And it's not the question of winning and losing, it's the question of surviving. Only survival can promise us the goal we have set for ourselves. It's all about understanding the difference between `what should have been' and `what could be'. Between a beautiful desire and an ugly reality. 

I am not a politician to welcome ceasefire as a `Ramadan gift'. Such statements have a different consumption, a different market. Ceasefire, I repeat, is a placebo. A hollow slogan with hollow contours and an empty core. Who will welcome Modi for what he is doing for himself. But if I am dying, it's not Modi's problem, it's my problem. The trouble, `my dear Brutus' is not with him, but with me. We don't have to evaluate ceasefire as an option from their, but from our perspective. Like a drowning man catches at a straw, I catch at shadows, at smoke, at vacuum, at anything which fakes better than nothing. 

And yes. My readers say they value resistance. I think I value resistance too. But I don't value us-versus-them brand of resistance only. I value us-versus-us self-critical, self-condemning mode of resistance more. `Resistance shows character' I agree but character can't be confined to slogans only. Character means saying what you are not prepared to say. To say (as Orwell puts) what others don't want to hear. To say that we are few and they are many. That we are weak and they are strong. That we are dying and they are killing us. A black rebel Richard Wright wanted to do it in fifties the way we want to do it now. But then he thought, `If I fought openly I would die and I did not want to die'. Call him a coward, but it takes courage to be a coward like him. 

Resistance is to be understood in a broader framework like this. As we resist the enemy outside, we have to resist the one within. Lest we lose and lest we think we have won. Urdu poet Habib Jalib echoes our tragedy. 

Ghuman tum ko ki rasta kat raha hai

Yaqeen mujh ko ki manzil kho rahai ho

(You think you are gaining, I say you are losing)

 

I can't sell hope when there is no hope around. My hope lies in the lives we save, not in the lives we lose. I beg for life and if that means defeat, such defeat I celebrate as a self-proclaimed victory. 

 

 

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