An open letter | Do some soul-searching, Mirwaiz Saheb
The lynching of police officer Mohammad Ayoub Pandith marks a new low in the despicable politics that you have been propagating and preaching.opinion Updated: Jul 04, 2017 11:57 IST
Respected Mirwaiz Umar Saheb,
At the time, when majority of the people in Kashmir were living in darkness and education was a luxury of a few, the efforts of your forefathers to empower and enlighten the masses through education stand unparalleled. They awakened the people, and guided from darkness towards light. May their souls rest in peace! I have a great regard for this legacy of yours which contributed immensely in the evolution of socio-political and religious milieu of Kashmir.
You are rightfully supposed to carry forward that legacy of truth and light, Ilam and aagahyee. It is painful that you had to don this role at a tender age following the shahadat of your dear father, when you were not ready to take it. But circumstances made you do so.
Here in this open letter, I want to voice my concern and vent my feelings as a young man of Kashmir, of whom you think you are a rahnuma, a mirwaiz, to protect me from vice and guide through path of virtue.
Your respected father Moulana Farooq Saheb was a voice of reason and sanity. Like any other religious and political leader, he did political somersaults but all through his public life remained with his people. There is no doubt he was living among people, literally. He was committed for the betterment, safety and security of his followers. During the days of high political and religious tumult, Mirwaiz saheb was a binding force in old part of the Srinagar city. He would discipline his people and discourage them from self- destructive overtures.
Umar sahib, your politics is mismatch to the philosophies of the legacy you have inherited. You have confused yourself in this self-contradictory politics. Your father lived his life with his people, and you are living your life away from people. His advisers were his people, and your advisers are a coterie of self-serving people who have no understanding of your stature. You do like when you are termed as “moderate” voice of Kashmir, but you can’t claim to be a moderate voice and simultaneously provide tacit support to the violence that happens in your area of influence. Please be honest to your ideals, and tell us, do you think the stone-pelting which is becoming part of life in downtown Srinagar, particularly on Fridays after you deliver sermons at Jamia Masjid, is doing any good to the “cause” you claim to espouse? If you think that hooliganism which happens near the historic Masjid, a holy place, is serving to Islam and “tehreek,” then why don’t you extend your support without mincing words? If your views are reverse, then why don’t you outrightly oppose it from the august pulpit of Jamia Masjid?
The lynching of DySP Mohammad Ayoub Pandith outside the Masjid, of which you are a proud custodian, marks a new low in the despicable politics that you have been propagating and preaching. Though you have condemned the naked savagery but that is not quite enough. You are equally responsible for the death of poor police officer as the criminals who beat Pandit to death are your followers. I wonder how you continued to be in the mosque during that night of forgiveness, repentance and soul-searching! What humanity and compassion you would have preached when your people, you boast of your allegiance, turned savages.
Mirwaiz saheb, what is the purpose of the preaching that can’t guarantee safety of our people on the streets? You are justifying it by blaming the “structures of State,” but even though does that justify the mayhem and madness unleashed by your purported supporters? You are yourself victim of violence, but your silence to acts of violence in your area of influence proved what? That you don’t have courage to speak against it! That you are become part of the thought and action which inflicts miseries on your people!
As I said earlier, education and enlightenment of the people remained the mission of your great grandparents. They toiled for spreading knowledge. But you being their successor and dozens of schools being burned down last year, you didn’t show your opposition unequivocally. Rather you in a way glorified the perpetrators. How come you will face the soul of Molvi Rasool Shah and other greats of your clan who spent their life for education?
Mirwaiz saheb, I still believe you are an enlightened person and you are aware about the changing geo-political dynamics of the world. You know well that today’s world listens to you if you come up with reason and logic. Sloganeering and street violence is not something which earns a good name to you or to the “cause” you claim to fight for. You have the potential to emerge as a leader and get your motherland out of death and destruction. But you have to go for self-introspection, do some soul-searching. The dastardly incident of lynching of DSP Pandit should rather force you do so!
(The writer is a journalist who is also a media analyst with the Jammu and Kashmir government. Tweets @traluk)
(To read a response to this article by Ab Majeed Banday of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, click here)