24 Aug 2008, TNN
Syed Ali Shah Geelani is perhaps the most polarising figure in contemporary
The media, constantly on the lookout for soundbites, moved to the separatists' other engagements in the day, ignoring the import of Geelani's new diktat and its fathomless falsity. In a single stroke, the Hurriyat hawk had coated his territorial battle with an Islamic flavour. Like
The chant of "freedom for Islam" is actually a gross misinterpretation of a faith which unambiguously calls God "Rabul Almeen (lord of the universe)" and Prophet Mohammed "Rahmatul Almeen (blessing for universe)". "Like the Hindutva hardliners hinduised the Shrine Board for Amarnath yatris, Geelani has used a political slogan to provide the separatist movement with a pan-Islamic colour. Muslims might have been enslaved or free in the last 1,400 years, but Islam has never been a slave to anyone. Since it's not a slave, it doesn't need to be freed," says Islamic scholar Asghar Ali Engineer. "Islam is democratic in spirit and has no conflict with secular, composite nationalism, an idea that the likes of Geelani vehemently oppose."
In Geelani's warped views, all Muslims must strive for and live in an Islamic state. "It's as difficult for a Muslim to live in a non-Muslim society as it is for a fish to live in a desert," writes Geelani in Rudad-e-Qaf, his prison memoir. Bangalore-based Islamic scholar Yoginder Sikand, who has written extensively on Kashmir's composite culture, met Geelani a few months ago in
How will an Islamised Kashmir, if it becomes a reality at all, look? To find that, don't look beyond Asia Andrabi, the leader of Dukhtaran-e-Millat (Daughters of Islam), who dictates head-to-toe hijab, issues fatwas against music and favours "covering" the women who dare to bare, preferably by sprinkling paint on them.
Geelani's ideological guru, Maulana Abul-Ala Maududi, Jamaat-e-Islami's founder, sought the idea of an Islamic state in a Quranic verse which says that if given power in the land, Muslims should establish salat (worship) and zakat (charity) and enjoin virtue and forbid evil. Maududi interpreted it as God's command to establish an Islamic state which needed to enforce the eradication of vice like adultery, drinking, gambling, vulgar songs, immoral display of beauty, promiscuous mingling of men and women, co-education and so on.
Wasey's argument on the inclusivist nature of real Islam is backed by historical truth. Wahhabism, a revivalist, puritanical movement, expounded by Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahbab in 1740s in today's
The idea of an Islamic state did not attract even the venerable Maulana Abul Kalam Azad though his zeal for Islam was unmatched. Born in
The Kashmiri youth who dance to the tune of "Teri jaan meri jaan,
'Our aim is to set up Islamic Nizamiyat'
Q&A: Sayed Ali Shah Geelani
Aasha Khosa /
Sayed Ali Shah GeelaniThe allotment of land for the Amarnath shrine board was a trigger for the azadi sentiment in
We all know the history of Kashmiri separatism but what was the immediate provocation for the ongoing massive protests?
The upsurge has not happened suddenly. The sentiment for “azadi” was always there. However, the transfer of 50 acres of forest land to the Amarnath shrine board made Kashmiris realise once again how insecure they feel. This acted as a trigger. Suddenly, people have started thinking about the 100,000 acres of land that is with the Army. Under the guise of “Operation Sadhbhavana,” the Army has usurped huge parcels of land and seems to be expanding its network. I have information that the Army has seized 23 acres of land for opening a school in Pahalgam.
The schools being opened by the Army are for Kashmiri children. Why object to this?
I know the schools are meant for Kashmiris. But they are also meant to make them sing Vande Mataram and not offer namaz. The aim of these schools is to turn Kashmiri children into pure Indians. This is cultural aggression on our Islamic values and is not acceptable to us. In fact, apart from fighting for the right to self-determination for 62 years, we have also been fighting against the cultural aggression by
So the transfer of land is not the real issue as many have been saying.
Yes, they are right. Land is not an issue for us. It has just acted as a catalyst to shape peoples’ sentiments into an upsurge.
There are differences even among the separatists — some raise the slogan of azadi while people like you want Kashmir to go with
Our unity is based on a single point — implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir (which ask India and Pakistan to hold a plebiscite in undivided Jammu & Kashmir to find out if the people of the state want to be with India or Pakistan). However, I do agree that there are differences among us. While I am for Kashmir going to
In essence, Osama bin Laden’s crusade to establish Islamic rule across the globe seems no different from yours. Are you talking about Kashmir alone or the entire state, which includes Hindus and Buddhists, both of whom would not like to live in an Islamic dispensation of your dreams?
I want the right to self-determination for the entire