Addressing a meagre audience of activists and scholars at his Hyderpora residence on Thursday on the occasion of Hazrat Imam Hussain’s (R.A) death anniversary, the octogenarian Hurriyat patriarch and senior resistance leader turned nostalgic and said: “Elders in the Jama’at would say that Geelani Sb’s memory is very strong.” “But now,” he swiftly added, “I forget things.”
Geelani was referring to the time when he was a basic member of Jama’at-e-Islami, Kashmir’s largest socio-religious political organisation.
During his over 40 minute’s speech on the incident of “Karbala”, Geelani, evidently, needed help. Intermittently, the scholars present had to aid Geelani to recall incidents or couplets.
“I have lost that semblance and vigour (as an orator) in which I would deliver presidential addresses (during public meetings),” Geelani said of his days as the political bureau head of Jama’at up to 2004. The same year Geelani parted ways with Jama’at and formed Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
Pertinently, Geelani was allowed to hold a gathering at his residence, after more than a year.
The event, which lasted more than five hours at the Hyderpora residence of Geelani, however, witnessed a meagre participation. Not more than 70 people were present in the audience.
The octogenarian resistance leader impressed upon the youth to stick to the teachings of Qura’an.
“We in Kashmir are facing difficult times. The identity of Islam is under threat,” Geelani said, cautioning people against sectarianism. “This is my earnest appeal to youth: to make it their daily schedule to read Qur’an and Hadees,” he said. “For easy understanding of Qur’an, they should consult the 6-volume Tafheem-ul-Quran and for that, (knowing) Urdu is must.”
Geelani, who had apparently turned weak and frail, said, that the government of India has hatched a conspiracy to demolish the real identity of Islam “Government of India is propagating new term ‘Sufi Islam’ and publicizing it en-masse,” he said, “Islam is Islam, no Sufi Islam,” Geelani cautioned and while addressing the youth said they have to counter such “evil designs”. “This is New Delhi’s conspiracy.”
The octogenarian resistance leader said that Muslims in the subcontinent have their Islamic treasure in Urdu literature. Besides, he was all praise for the “Sha’ir-e-Mashriq” Allama Iqbal.
“Urdu is a must for Muslims in Kashmir, India and Pakistan, to understand Islam in the true sense,” he said. “More so,” he asserted, “I am of the firm belief that the clean-shaven Sir Muhammad Iqbal had understood Islam more clearly than those with long beard.”
The Kashmiri youth, Geelani insisted, “must read and follow the teachings of the ‘Poet of East’.”
Geelani also made a fervent appeal to the people to stay away from pro-India parties. “Allama has made it clear in his poetry that slavery is worse than death. Slaves have to die every day under (an) occupation.”
“Slaves cannot understand the occupier’s tricks,” he said. “Roads, employment, hospitals, daily-wage jobs – they cannot make us forget the raids, the harassment of women, the rapes and killings of innocents,” Geelani said.
“To achieve success in the current crisis,” Geelani told his audience – which could be counted on fingertips – “Azadi from India should be our mission.”
“Vote or support to pro-India parties, which are helping strengthen the occupation of J&K, is death for us,” he added.