It is well presented. Two old men, calling for freedom for their respective lands through protests against the occupying powers. Both with names starting with G and ending with I. Both having a big role in the struggle for freedom. It is a big fat lie. It is an insult to India’s Satyagraha movement to accept this without objection. I haven’t seen many people bring this up, and I think it needs said.
Let me begin with saying that I am biased. I think Geelani is one of the most evil people to exploit Kashmir in its history since 1947. Gandhi had his faults, but he never called for something he himself wouldn’t do. Gandhi and his close associates stood at ground zero with protesters, not issued calendars. Gandhi had his faults – who doesn’t, but using the success and recognition of the Satyagraha movement to legitimize organized rioting is an insult to India and a gross misguidance of Kashmir, which isn’t going to help the moral fabric of the state whether in India or free or in Pakistan.
Some points that come to mind:
- Gandhi didn’t have an agenda to free India from the British and hand it over to another country. This can’t be called a freedom struggle. Particularly when the country itself has a far worse human rights record and thinks nothing of killing Kashmiris as a part of their strategic depth.
- Gandhi did not have hoodlums ‘enforcing’ his protests.
- Gandhi had protested Hindu-Muslim riots, and empathized with the pain of both, not led the persecutor.
- Gandhi did not excuse violence as a part of the non-violent movement. The entire nationwide non-cooperation movement was called off at the peak of its success when ONE incident at Chauri Chaura resulted in clashes between the police and the protesters and three protesters died. Geelani, what’s your score? If hot blood was resulting in stone pelting and deatths, what did you do to prevent those innocents from dying? To ensure that the morality of your movement was beyond reproach?
- Most importantly, Gandhi was a protester himself – out there on the street, courting lathis, courting arrests, risking his life like any other Satyagrahi. When was the last time Geelani stood defiantly asking for his rights along with his people?
- Gandhi did not expect the British to see to the safety of the protesters. Six decades later, Geelani still reacts with expectation of not evil from people whom he declares evil.
- Gandhi was of the people. There was no threat in contradicting him. He lived their life, ate their food, suffered their suffering. Did Geelani go hungry this winter because he was busy protesting in the summer?
It is sad today that India’s activists who claim to stand for the rights of the people apparently only stand for the rights of people already vocal against the state. It is sad that they legitimize this kind of corruption of not just India’s image (which is comparitively minor) but the spirit defining one of the worlds most successful and ethical resistances that inspired movements around the world.
As long as Geelani sits at home and declares days of protest in full awareness that the protesters will face bullets, he is nothing more than your garden variety gangster manipulating local events for fun and profit. A leader assumes responsibility for the well being of his people, not sets them up for situations likely to risk their lives.
Yes, the soldiers have done many wrongs. Yes, India has been unable to find a political resolution so far. Yes, India is guilty of neglect. Yes Kashmir is suffering. This doesn’t total up to a butcher who sets Kashmiris up for more suffering to be their hero.
When dead bodies are advertisements, there is some organization also profiting from the results of that advertisement. I doubt if it is the person who died, or the others lined up to become advertisements.
And no, I’m not a Congress supporter. The congress of today is irrelevant to Gandhis satyagraha movement.
No, I’m not a Gandhian with a pen either. I’m only looking at the leadership of one successful mass movement.
I AM a fan of the concept of Satyagraha, which is what I am defending.