There might be many opponents of hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s ideology on Kashmir but the 82-year-old aging separatist has found many takers in the army, paramilitary security forces and mainstream political parties for his autobiography Wular Kinare, released on Thursday.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the valley’s strategic Chinar Corps Lt General Syed Ata Hasnain had placed order for the book on the same day the book was released.
“Hasnain sahib asked for three copies of Geelani’s autobiography. We handed the copies over to the personnel sent by Hasnain sahib at the venue of the book release,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar told the Hindustan Times.
The book, Wular Kinare (From banks of Wular), which is an autobiography and touches Geelani’s life up to 1970s, was released in a Srinagar hotel before a selected audience on Thursday. More than 150 copies were sold at the venue only, immediately after the release.
Geelani plans to release the second part of the book, which will deal with his life up to 2011, soon. “The next edition will answer the most frequently asked questions by people like why Geelani’s stand is unchanging with the changing global times on the Kashmir dispute,” said Akbar.
Geelani acquired the epithet of hawk for being intransigent on his demand for the right to self determination for people in Kashmir and rejection of any bilateral dialogue between New Delhi and Srinagar.
“This book will give an insider’s view about the man, with whom you may disagree ideologically, but has been able to attract people’s attention,” said Kashmir main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) spokesman Naeem Akhtar.
The book reveals unheard details of Geelani’s life like he doing menial jobs at the house of famous Urdu writer Muhammad Din Fauq’s daughter at Lahore. “Fauq promised me to help in continuing my higher education in Lahore but I fled the place soon,” writes Geelani.
Geelani, an ardent supporter of accession of Kashmir with Pakistan, also lashes out at Pakistani authorities of the 1947 “for not being assertive” about Kashmir.
The Hurriyat had printed 2000 copies of the book. “Given the demand we will release second edition soon with bigger number of copies. We are also receiving calls from outside Kashmir,” said Akbar.
Valley’s known bookshop, Khan News Agency, owner Hilal Ahmad too observes good sale of the book, particularly with the security establishment. “CRPF men are buying the book for their officers,” said Ahmad.
“Geelani might be in opposition to our stand but there is no harm reading his book to understand him,” said CRPF spokesman Prabhakar Tripathy.
The Hurriyat has already sent the book to a number of writers like well-known columnist A.G. Noorani and scribe M.J. Akbar. “We will send copies of the book to writers and political leaders in Pakistan soon,” said Akbar.