“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free” (John Wolfang)
In the apple town Sopore, it seemed, Omar Abdullah was waiting to fire a salvo. The home town of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, with strong pro-movement constituency, the chief minister chose to pelt all his stones he gathered from Srinagar at the octogenarian, who in his strong commitment for the ‘cause’ has emerged as symbol of resistance.
In his no-holds-barred censure and muck racking he blamed Geelani as a ‘dream merchant’ who is ‘exploiting people in name of freedom’. He cautioned people to remain insulated against such people ‘who can never fulfill their wishes’. The ghost of Geelani hounded him further. ‘it is’ , he screamed, ‘because of him stone-pelting in Sopore has become a common phenomenon’.
Did Geelani ‘glorify’ stone pelting or it was the violent reaction of the youth against the terror let loose by the forces calls for a separate debate. In the prime of stone throwing (2010) it was only Geelani who asked youth to desist from it, even evoking anger from the youth. And mind it was not only Sopore, entire valley got engulfed in this phenomenon. When the stone didn’t chase “development” in other towns, why castigate Soporians? If Sopore ‘lacks behind in development’, it is because of political vendetta, for which government alone is responsible.
Whether or not people of Kashmir, in particular Soporians, heed to the sermons doled by the chief minister, time alone will tell. After all , it is only dreams that carve the pedestal human endeavor can have its flights from. They create tantalizing driving force which keeps us going. Dreams neutralize inertia and galvanize spirits. They goad us to the destination when going gets tough. On the ‘tough gets going’ fervor they make us negotiate the hard terrain and reap the achievable. No one can put freeze on human resolve since it has ever renewable flow in it. All our achievements, temporal, spiritual have evolved from the dream seed. Our unending passion of exploring and taming the forces of nature (we call science) has this provoking instinct in it. Motivated by the burning ambition of seeing their nations free from yoke of slavery, colonial and imperialistic powers have but to give in before dreams of the subjugated.
The dream of scripting their destiny themselves has always been hailed as inalienable right of suppressed people. The dream of seeing India independent stimulated the people of India to rise in revolt against the British in 1857. They were brutally crushed but didn’t give up. It took nearly another hundred years for the dream to get realized. Throughout his struggle of non-cooperation , protest demonstration, and quit India movement Gandhi Ji kept cherishing the dream of Azadi though the imperialist, many a time, derided at the leader and his resistance.
His riveting, ‘I have a dream’ speech has emblematic significance and reverence. It energized the suppressed peMartin Luther King , the genius giant who fought resolutely for rights of blacks in US, pivoted all his struggle around his dream project.ople to stand up and be counted. Non-availability of space-restrains us from further illustration.
Now we are confronted with not only one but two ‘dream merchants’. What Geelani sells we know, and what Omar and his family kept on selling we know that too. Different and conflicting prepositions the merchants are trying to barter in the people’s market. Common sense demands each merchant should be provided free access to the market so as to make people judge quality and “shelf-life” of what they offer.
Omar Abdullah has an integrationist aura around his political career. He is-as ever his NC has been-a protégé of Delhi who cannot mind even courting the communalist BJP. Their loyalty is aged with power irrespective of the color ideology of the Darbar. With NC ruling the state right from 1948 – except 22 years of ‘political waywardness’ Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah sucked Kashmiris in. Pray tell me, did NC and its leadership succeed in changing the dominant prevailing discourse in contrast to the one New Delhi aims to build? Or did it relieve India of the albatross that Kashmir has become in her neck? Have the accessionists earned that credibility where they can prove the best bid for Delhi? It is a known fact that the loyalists of the darbar for all practical purposes depend on the establishment of which army and other security agencies are a keen component of. Both are collaborating to facilitate each other. Still there are no dominant foot-prints of these groups on the political turf. The merchant has swelled his vocal cords. Still ‘mainstreaming’ of Kashmiris remains a distant dream for him.
Geelanian dreams. Are the dreams his own, or are they in sync with the aspirations of the people? Accessibility of market is the real test to prove or disprove it. Denying him the opportunity implies the rival merchant(s) are afraid of competing him. They smell bankruptcy and doom in allowing Geelani to do business on the same turf.
Dreams matter only if they command public support. Ali Muhammad Sagar and Muzafar Hussian Beigh are the two well known voices of diametrically opposite to Geelanian ideology. Sagar has admitted the ‘bitter truth’ that Geelani ‘is a leader of people’. The same reality Beigh reverberated in his latest statement calling Geelani the ‘tallest leader’ in Kashmir who people hold in ‘great respect’. To call a leader of massive public support a ‘dream merchant’ (in derogatory sense) amounts to arrogate to Omar all the virtues of judgment. These are hall marks of an autocrat, not of a democrat