Thursday, April 30, 2009

Boycott or not : 01 May 2009


Did Hurriyat (M) come under pressure before making an announcement in favour of election boycott, comments Hassan Zainagiree.
  After three days marathon deliberation of its Executive and General Council at its Rajbagh headquarters, the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference stated. One, elections were a non-issue. Two there was no need to call for a boycott. Three we leave it for people to decide themselves.
  In fairness to the acting Chairman, Mouana Abas Ansari, the statement reflected the thinking of many of the Executive Council Members. But it was, the approach of Moulana Abbas and his unwanted and contemptuous remarks about Jihad Council that, apart from causing embarrassment to his likes in the conglomerate, provoked youth to unleash their adrenalin and torch his effigy. First time a pro-freedom leaders effigy was burnt in Srinagar-especially at a place considered Mirwaiz Umar’s strong hold. The fury and spontaneity of the demonstrations shows the sensitivity and “zero-tolerance” of the youth on the question of Azadi.
  More than a conviction, it was swaying to the ragda tide that Hurayat (M) jumped into the bandwagon of election boycott in last year’s parliamentary elections. Situational compulsions forced them to toe the line of Syed Ali Shah Geelani. On second February 2009, in an interview with BBC Urdu Service, Moulana Abas pulled off the veil and candidly admitted: ‘we were not in favor of election boycott but for unity we supported the boycott’. In a softened way though, Mirwaiz Umar too echoed the same thinking when he advocated for ‘adopting positive approach’. Between the lines it implied the election boycott is not a ‘positive approach’. ‘It is important’, Mirwaiz told a local news gathering agency KNS on 2nd February 2009, ‘for the people of Kashmir to get this issue resolved by adopting positive approach. The hard line stance has always given a government of India a chance to dilute the freedom struggle of Kashmir’.
  Does energetic Mirwaiz need to be told it is now Delhi that, driven by military hubris, has stuck itself on the hardline stance. The summer uprising – spontaneous, peaceful, non-violent and historic-has, once for all, taken the rubric of India’s stand on Kashmir. Elections that followed were aimed to neutralize the spill-over effect of the Intifada. True a significant number of people participated in the December’s 2008 assembly elections when Kashmir was virtually converted into a garrisoned town and main opposition leadership imprisoned. But this will not rob you off the essence and the sanctity of the cause you espouse for. And it is here the role of leadership assumes significance.
  What a leader is worth for if he ceases to provide guidance to the people? Has he to quarantine himself when people start fighting on what he says is non-issue? If issue is non-issue, why discuss it at three days marathon meeting? And you discuss it to seal your mouth. Because that suits you. Sometimes silence is more rewarding.
  Why should elections be a non-issue for us when for Delhi it is a matter of life and death? Delhi plunges in the fray with all its henchmen and resources to strip you off the moral high position and kill you with your own weapon? Pray tell us, if elections are ‘non-issue’, why the most ardent voices of election boycott are put behind the bars or house arrested? Delhi strives everything to make it a Waterloo for us and you look to other way in sardonic smiles! In sweet delusion you love to lull in when earth beneath your feet refuses to hold you up. just for sake of argument, suppose tomorrow people scream in anger that Hurriyat (M) be flogged in public, its headquarters be renamed as donkey’s cabin, or they proclaim Geelani as Usama Bin Ladin, US has put a reward of millions on his head and demand India that he should be handed over to America, would you enjoy all this happening? Bal aksarar hum la yalamoon (majority of people do not know) says the Holy Qur’an. And leaders who claim they “represent” the genuine sentiment of freedom loving people’ have to always lead people in pledging loyalty to the cherished goal of Azadi. It is the goal that matters and criteria of judging the worth of a leader depends on the quantum of sincerity, dedication and stead fastness a leader puts in pursuing that cherished goal. For a genuine cause a leader lives and dies for. Faces imprisonment, kisses gallows, embraces martyrdom. But never lets his people down. Not even when they let him down.
  Just as the ragda gravitational pull pushed Hurayat (M) into election boycott mode, the public resentment on its 15th April decision paved the way for its flip-flopping. Only a week after Mirwaiz Umar held a two day long meeting of his conglomerate’s Executive and General Council and then on 23rd April in a press brief termed elections a ‘futile exercise’ and asked people to ‘stay away’ from the ongoing parliamentary elections. he said : ‘It (elections) is an agenda of government of India and the pro-Indian parties which take part in the elections. …..if the issue is resolves then only will elections have any significance’. Flaying Sajad Gani Lone, People Conference leader, on his decision to contest the polls, Mirwaiz said: ‘people who take part in elections are working against the interests of the Kashmir movement’. It is in the place to mention that Mulana Abas Ansari has recently sought to justify Sajad’s decision. In acknowledgement of the role of Jihad Council Mirwaiz said: ‘we cannot take away credit from the resistance forces which brought out the Kashmir issue from cold storage into the global focus’.
  Besides street pressure, Mirwaiz had to face a highly vocal group in his conglomerate especially in General Council. He succeeded in negotiating the tough terrain. Hurriyat earlier decision was a sure recipe for its disaster. But the question is how can Mirwaiz reconcile different factions in a conglomerate where there is imminent polarization and two conflicting rather confronting strands within the grouping’s thought and approach.
Tail-Piece:-Mirwaiz has expressed his resolve that Hurriyat (M) ‘will go to places and urge people to refrain from taking part in elections…..The Hurriyat constituents have already started door to door camping and they will continue it’. If this is his heart that scoops out on to the esteemed cleric cum-politician’s tongue (and we do not believe otherwise) the test does lie in his already well – known pro-election boycott vocal group campaigners. It is in four Executive members of his Hurriyat where the ‘buck stops’. ‘Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation’, remarked Fredrick Douglass, ‘are people who want crops without ploughing the ground’.

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