Behind the blossoming tulips…. (1)
Tulips are blossoming to attract people from within and abroad. The Badamwari is staging a fascinating look. Dal in its panoramic beauty is casting spell on the visitors. Mughal gardens, Gulmarg and Pahalgam are lifting the veil to welcome and greet people. “ Paradise on earth” is all in “calm and grandeur”. The “Kashmiriyat” is stretching its hands of communal harmony to lap up “peace and progress”.
From this “calm” and “stable” situation, the message that Indians and their political lackeys and controlled media aim to send across the globe is that people of Kashmir have reconciled to the status quo and have cast off the “baggage of miseries” the “gun culture” drooped their shoulders with. They take pride in asserting that ‘comforts of democracy’ are being “enjoyed” by people; “press is free”, “there are no curbs on the freedom of expression”.
Well, on the face value one can be lulled into believing what is picturized: That busy markets, open schools, traffic jams, sports activities, business, tourists, shopping malls, gondolas all have sealed their destiny with ‘rest of India’.
This implies that in all pro-India atmospherics people in Kashmir have since long insulated their hearts and minds from freedom movement and leaders like Geelani have lost their utility value and their expired-date “medicine” have no customer to buy them.
But the ground reality, in comparison to this much touted claim, is completely different. Geelani, for his great commitment to the cause of freedom, unwavering stand and steadfastness, while facing all sorts of difficulties, has emerged a symbol of resistance who refused to cave in while other pro-freedom leaders in no more than different ways showed “flexibility” to earn what they call “win-win situation”. (By the way can any wrong-doing be rectified by letting the wrong doer run away with the 50% good of his victim).
The veneer of what you make a show-case of blows up the moment Geelani steps out of his residence the balloon of government claims gets deflected and Kashmir rises up to the call of this octogenarian leader. That absolutely is the inherent lurking fear in the echelons of power which has forced the administration to keep up with the policy of imprisoning Geelani and convert his residence in a fortified jail. It is only in Delhi when Geelani is allowed a free movement and take part in seminars. Otherwise he and his party’s constitutionally guaranteed right to movement and assembly and freedom of political dissent is severely curbed.
The question is when, according to the satisfaction of state government and its masters in Delhi people in Kashmir have turned their back towards freedom struggle and winds of “change” are seeping favorably to India across J&K, why the curbs on Geelani, why his activists are silenced either through PSAs or raids. When scores of pro-resistance leaders are allowed a contest in a “battle of opinion” and their presence does not affect the health of Indian democracy, why Geelani and his party alone are subjected to this political vendetta.
In fact that kind of treatment in itself provides answer to two vital questions that pop up in this entire issue of Geelanio phobia : (a) who does truly represent the freedom-loving people of Kashmir ? (b) does mundane activities (khurdan barayai zeestan) of people mean they have refused to nurture freedom sentiments?
The government fears Geelani’s mass support and is also apprehensive of the brittle nature of its “peace and normalcy” bubble. It is fearful of the rising popularity of Geelani who it thinks still holds the challenge to break up the veneer of falsehood. It might have succeeded in making other leaders, who once upon a time sheared dais with Geelani, fade in commitment or drift from the fundamentals of Hurayat Conference or even weaned some in its fold, but it knows the ideological moorings of this bone-caged shriveled leader and its firm resolve to carry the struggle to its logical conclusion stand as strong and uncompromising as it was when gun of militants roared far and wide in Kashmir.
(to be concluded)