Challenges ahead

THIS IS A CRUCIAL MOMENT AND WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND THE MAGNITUDE OF IT – LEST WE LOSE IT, 

It has been a month since Hurriyat Conference, led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani, launched a ‘Quit Kashmir campaign’. What has been significant since it was launched that despite economic woes, there is no displeasure observed in the people. There are no signs of fatigue and exhaustion. Neither one notices salient simmering grouse against leadership that runs the campaign. Contrary to it, the preset phase of agitation is serving as a catharsis for the young generation to drain their anger and abhorrence against injustice. A bond of emotional attachment and motivational involvement of the youth has emboldened the pro-resistance leadership.

‘Hamein awam kai azm aur istiqlal nay hosla deya hai aur woh is rah  mein azim say azim tar kurbanian dainai  kay liyae tayaar hein’ (The strong will and steadfastness of our people have given us courage and they are ready to offer all sacrifices that come   in its way), reads the statement of the Hurriyat while  releasing the protest calendar this week.

 Continuing with its high voltage campaign, the Hurriyat (G) that has emerged as the most formidable and credible voice of Kashmiris with people rallying around its programmes resolutely and keenly, has ignored to tamper its calendar with Jihad Council Chairman and Hizbul Mujahideen supremo Syed Sallaudin’s advice. Sallaudin has on Friday (23 July) urged the Hurriyat(G) to reorient the on-going resistance movement, taking care that education and economy  should not suffer. The militant leader suggested that Hartal should be called in phases (district-wise) instead on valley-wide basis, as he believes, ‘continuous strikes are not  a good option’.

 Syed Sallaudin by all means is not a pygmy. He has its own name, fame and stature. He holds a strong position in the militant groups. Still his remarks have evoked a strong reaction especially from two quarters. One, the youth who are pitted against Indian forces on the streets and two, the resistance leadership which propels the movement in the current phase. And, incidentally, the two are inseparably twined together. Youth let out their anger against UJC Chairman in holding demonstrations. Hurriyat(G) far from heeding to Hizb chief sharpened its teeth of defiance and asked people to ‘stop paying taxes from July 28’.  In its statement Hurriyat stated that they do not frolic on the beaches of ‘dreamy world’ but have keen appreciation  of the prevailing situation and mull their ‘strategies’ after a ‘deep deliberations’. Explaining the compulsion of carrying on the hartal and shutdown programme it added: ‘when voice of dissent is stifled, intellectuals are slapped with PSAs ad Bar President and General Secretary are imprisoned peaceful demonstrations and hartals are the only effective means left with us’. Asiya Andrabi, another staunch voice from resistance camp expressed  discomfort on Sallaudin’s giving vent to his feelings through media. She asked him to share  his opinion through proper channel with the present leadership to avoid the confusion.

 The mood of the people reflect their emotional  integration with the campaign. That is why protest calendar has evoked massive support from them. However, saner voices are worried about its sustenance. And when Sallaudin has prescribed his “redemption perception” he might have his gaze fixed  on this aspect. There is nothing malicious or atrocious in what he has stated. Raising the campaign and taking some bold decisions at extremely pulsating moments is by all means a Herculean task.  But that is a beginning of the most daunting task ahead. And that is where the real worth of the leadership matters.

 Many a time also mega events occurred before, land-sliding developments got unfolded, mass uprisings sent shock waves to the oppressors, yet when a finishing touch was needed to reap success disappointment engulfed the Nation Kashmir. Some vowed to shepherd  us against wretched autocracy and the ‘sale deed’ but ended in pushing us out of the frying pan  into the fire.

Baptized to power, they fizzled us  out in the helplessness. (It is another matter sentimental component never reached a  freezing point. It kept simmering  and simmering……….) Some stole the sunshine, the Helium of which was all borrowed from militancy. However, when the militancy passed off its meridian, they too changed their direction. (Remember what Khursheed Mahmud Kasuri, who was President Mushraff’s foreign minister from 2002 to 2007, revealed: ‘Syed Ali Shah Geelani was the only Kashmiri leader who refused to come on board’ (Times of India, April 25 2010). Meaning accepting a K-solution on the lines of Mushraff’s 4-point formula, while all leaders from pro-resistance camp including Yaseen Malik agreed, Geelani choose not to get in the loop).

 Call it Geelani’s ‘principled stand’ for a ‘just cause’, his steadfastness and unwavering commitment or his ‘hawkish’ and ‘rigid’ attitude – for which he was dubbed as  ‘rejectionist’ by Musharraf –friendly leaders – he has gained the stature of a leader who people can repose their trust on for not betraying them. A leader on whose name and attribution campaigns and agitations can be launched and geared up. Some cynics in their sulkiness bring in his age to define his undiluted and uncompromising stand as if the octogenarian incarcerated leader has sported ‘moderate’ stripes in his green and salad days. He has been throughout his political career what he stands distinguished from others at plus 80. That character gravitates the people and that is what we are seeing when ‘Quit Kashmir Campaign’ was initiated from the group he leads. The massive support the campaign gained has its roots in people’s faith that leadership will not ditch the nation this time.

 That is the first stage of the movement. And this stage has sealed the fate of many leaders, who change stands and ideologies as and when it suits them. The second is not less challengeable. Rather it is more demanding, more price extracting: How to sustain it? The import of Sallaudin’s remark has to be steadied in that context. But where he faulted and erred is that his remarks created confusion and spread disillusionment when people rose up as one unit at this juncture. His district-wise suggestion has all the risks of breaking the tempo of movement. And ending in whimper, without getting anything in exchange. True education and economy have to run but security and future hold the precedence. In past also we witnessed such movements but those who spearheaded them were unworthy of them. That is why such movements got abated. They got stabbed at crucial times. That is not the situation now. It is youth that is at the vanguard of the movement and it is their future that is at stake. Definitely people should be given a breather and ways should be explored how to achieve that. But in a world where nothing of yours is yours, where Generation Next finds itself all but besieged by concertina wires,  army barracks, para military bunkers and police camps, where even peaceful dissent is garroted, and clouds of uncertainty loom large to give life a meaning, moralistic pronouncements on educational economy, especially from those whose who have pawned their conscience to Delhi do not jell with reason. We cannot celebrate pain when we are left to carry coffins of our teenagers. Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.

We have to, and we will, extract our bare minimum biological needs out of the womb of present crisis but letting slip this moment out of our hands is to let smolder the embers to again repeat the cycle. It is better for the New Delhi to heed to our pleas and listen to our voice. We too are human. We too want peace. We too want to script our destiny by our own hands.

 With the release of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the release of other leaders too is on the cards. A word of caution. So far Nation Kashmir has risen as one voice and supported the campaign led by Hurriyat (G). It is time other leaders resist temptation of giving a parallel or separate programme from any other political platform.

Tail Piece: – One cannot have the feel of a fragrance of a rose unless he is pre-determined to endure the pain of thorns that nestle the flower. Every achievement is price-tagged.

(The author can be reached at zainagiree@yahoo.co.in)