Crack the Door

Geelani’s prolonged home-confinement signifies the collapse of mind

When the mind of a state exhausts, volcanoes of violence are just about to split open. In an argumentative exchange, it is a common observation, when decent talk hits the limit abuse sets in; before long even arms start flailing.  And in the giving up of mind, body is the inevitable sufferer. This is where violence becomes definite and deadly. J&K government’s decision to disallow a person like Syed Ali Shah Geelani from attending some political gathering on a particular occasion when there are chances of things slipping out of control is understandable, though not agreeable always and to all. But still such restrictions are considered not so outrageous in a situation like Kashmir. But the way police have laid a sort of permanent siege at the gates of Geelani’s residence merits questioning. What is this government up to!

It is not in praise of a person but a lament over a politics. Geelani’s political beliefs and practices are no subject matter of this questioning. Even his personal character as a man steadfast in his ideals is removed from this topic. Questioning the government action is prompted by the “dense feeling of deterioration” related to the political ways of meeting the adversary. National Conference led government has unmistakably turned bankrupt on how to deal with crisis that flow out from the fact that Kashmir is a contested and conflicted land. 2010 uprising has cast a spell over its mind. They are clueless on how to deal with a population that burst into streets all over Kashmir. Now they do whatever they think can be done to stop it from happening again, without thinking for a minute does it really work. Disallowing Geelani from stepping out of his house is one such act. They probably wish to believe that closing the gates on him means the end of a problem. Even the naïve would laugh over it. Whatever the stature of Geelani in this Resistance movement, he is not the producer of the problem but the product of a problem. You allow the problem to linger, in fact you nurture it, and then frantically cover up its manifestations. In doing so National Conference deceives not only itself but Delhi as well. It serves no body’s interest if the political adversaries are permanently put in  jail or confined to homes.

Imagine a murder inside a house. The murderer, afraid of the dead body, doesn’t like anyone coming in or going out. He can hide the body but for how long can he hide the stink. In an act of savagery he one day decides to eat it away. Same is the case with this government; it will one day turn savage and start relishing the dead bodies.

What does that mean! It means the worst is waiting. There are too many things happening in and around Kashmir.

There are too many gates besides the one that police man in Hyderpora, things slip in and out of those gates. As a way of reducing the chances of violence in a conflicted zone it is always wise not to shut all the doors close. If National Conference has completely denuded itself from that political wisdom what has happened to Delhi! Is she glorying in her arrogance or does she really believe that National Conference is her best bet in Kashmir. The political leadership in Delhi is making strikingly wrong choices in Kashmir. They are heavily investing in the violent.

Whatever his political beliefs, Geelani has political content dominant in him. He is a person who you know. He has a definite station where one can drop in and talk to him. You can meet him politically. By disallowing him expression stage is only set for shadows. And shadows cannot be chained. We all know that Geelani has an absolutist and extreme position on Kashmir dispute, but that does not disqualify him for political engagement. After all India too has an absolutist and extreme position on Kashmir dispute. As a dispassionate observer one can only wish that these extreme positions remain known, and always talking to each other. Not necessarily by way of meeting on the table, but at least expressive in the known and established public spaces. That is the fundamental imperative if the conflict has to be managed non-violently till the time it finds its own ways of resolution.

Tailpiece: In the Pakistani hockey of 1980s Hasan Sardar was a rage. The opposing team on the field would always try to limit this man by engaging some of its players to sort of encircle him throughout the game. Meanwhile someone else in the Pakistani team would strike the ball hard into the opponent’s goalpost!!! And the goal is what the goal is.