THERE IS NO ARMOR AGAINST FATE Print
Saturday, 19 May 2012 03:17

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SHABNAM GANI LONE

Ten years ago, on a fateful evening of dark intent, when the lingering rays of a May 21, 2002 Kashmir summer were ready to relent to the darkening shadows of Dusk, I got a call. One, I shall never forget. The eerie calm with which I heard that curt message from a neighbor “your father has been shot dead at Eidgah, on Mirwaiz’s father’s death anniversary procession.” Indescribable, savage pain that fatal moment inflicted on me even as it remains etched in my memory forever.Abdul Ghani Lone my father assassinated in the quest for peace for a land he loved dearly Kashmir. Somewhere, far off somewhere very near those faceless conspirators decided to don the assassins glove, and one more son of Kashmir left bleeding on its horizon.Those lines from Othello “good name and honour are immediate jewels of human soul, and essential components of life’s dignity.” Remind me of my father life an honour code of values and innate ability to reach out to others. Lone Sahib’s life started from a small hamlet in the hinterland of Kashmir’s rural heartland KupwaraSon of a hard working farmer, honorable and fiercely proud he rose to greater heights. An MA- LLB, lawyer, politician, cabinet minister, an unbroken stint of 26 years as a respected firebrand legislature then finally a senior Executive member of Hurriyat Conference, an amalgam of 26 parties.The journey of his life ironically represented the historical, political complexities and contradictions that is Kashmir. Landlocked in those surreally majestic mountains, Kashmir affords us no reprieve. The tales of turbulence, triumph, tragedy, truce dotting this landscape has implications of Geo political ethos, weaving   inextricable strands of Kashmir issue as the fabric of our lives.

"A visionary he strove ahead with purpose, strength and spirit. He tried to accomplish, the new hope for peace and stability in Kashmir. Lifting the Indo- Pak dialogue on the path to rediscover Kashmir imbroglio, to make people look beyond caste, creed, religion, the fight for reason against extremism, he greatly understood the terror, hope, the danger and risks the diversity and possibility of a peaceful pluralistic Kashmir. “It all ends as it begins in Kashmir; pay a price for peace your life.”

People die ideas don’t.! Kashmir resolution reads like a rhyme for many people. Fail in governance, pat comes the reply, it’s a political issue needs resolution. For others it’s the interpretation of UN resolution. This power play goes on in the big political Bazar of valley.  One hopes nothing akin to Charles Taylor’s blood diamonds or blood money scourges this political paradox for invariably it sets the tide of the crimson creed.As Roosevelt said, “the only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubt of today, let’s move forward with active faith.” That is what My Father stood for active faith in peace. Ready to move forward, ready to pay any price!

“I write today not with helpless lament, but a daughter who celebrates the life of a brave leader, who lived it well.” There is so much to say, so much to write yet I would try to retrace some of his moments personal and political that I recall. Meticulous with details he had a photographic memory one that connected him spontaneously with the common man. He remembered thousands of faces and names, would call out to individuals in a gathering of thousands and they loved it.

 " Thousands of boys and girls employed in the north of Kashmir did not even apply for their jobs. Yet he remembered each and every educated person from there, applied for them, made the required formalities even paying fees. With no connectivity no water, no electricity in their areas “a good knock of fate at their doorstep from Lone Sahib changed their lives forever”.In 1960 Ramhal and Rajwar border areas were drought ridden, he travelled on horse back trekked hundreds of miles to reach even the last house. Finally he came up with idea of Dams which became their life savior. UNESCO team described it as most ingenious, I was told.Then came that ominous summer of 1987 the rigged election which stormed democratic conventions, subverted procedure of law creating anarchy of opinion buoyed by historical  complexity which finally led Kashmir to the journey of chaos."

"As a keen student of history, and a follower of Democracy my father filed a W-P No 3/87 before High Court which read “presented by Mr. A.G. Lone petitioner in person today at 1.30 PM. The petition is complete in all respect”. An election petition calling in question election of declared candidate as void on account of electoral malpractices.A quarter of a century on, for 25 years this petition was not decided. As a lawyer, I have been through great journeys of justice winning some losing some, but this was a court order which left me silent and stoic. “High court order dated 15-7-2002 A.G. Lone Vs /Oth…. Shabnam Lone daughter of petitioner late A.G. Lone has appeared made a statement that the petitioner has passed away. More – so the petitioner has challenged the election of respondent No1 to state Assembly has expired since the petitioner has also expired. Petition cannot proceed and is dismissed accordingly.” A case he should have easily won."

Then came the strife in 1990, he was in and out of jails under PSA. A heart patient he never feared or faltered reaching out to other detunes. My graceful mother Hanifa Lone and I would always be served with father’s wishlist in jail. Visit homes of detunes, ask for the welfare of their families, file applications in courts of course pro-bono.When released from jails he would personally   visit families and homes of incarcerated people beyond party lines.

" The FIR filed in his assassination case seems lost somewhere. Not a single step taken in furtherance of justice, not a single statement recorded despite a national channel having the entire footage. Punishment is not the issue, but absolute disregard for legal procedure and respect for life is. The state and successive governments made no efforts for justice to prevail. Pertinent to note, statement made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on celebration of 60 years of Parliament that it was improper to mock Parliament citadel of Democracy. ‘So very right’. In the same manner it is fatal for Democracy to mock justice. ‘EXPENDABLE’ is something I consider anathema to Democracy and the ultimate road to trust deficit."

"My father is buried in Eidgah Mazar, few months after his assassination on a usual visit to his grave; I saw another grave by his side with lot of flowers planted around. On enquiry found it was one of the alleged assassins as per reports. My first sentiment –anger - one of the care takers of the graveyard an intelligent Kashmiri perhaps knew how to handle this he said “his frail mother comes every morning to water these plants which flower”. I stood in stunned silence. That haunting image of a grieved mother, who had lost like me a very loved one. Fact is we both had lost, I learnt to let go of my anger. Through the realm of forgiveness, I ebbed away those shackles of hate."

" Fatigued by many many summers of discontent Kashmir remains a prism of conflict, not confluence for India and Pakistan and rest of the world. Henry Kissinger describes Kashmir as the most dangerous place on earth and says if the 111rd world war starts, it will start from Kashmir. In an interview to Russia Today 19th April 2012 Foreign Minister S.M Krishna said, “I hope Mr. Kissinger will be permanently wrong. India and Pakistan should not be adventurous enough to embark on war.” Yes peace is the predominant purpose for all of us, fundamentally as it was for my father Abdul Ghani Lone."

“LET ALL THE ENDS THOU AIMEST AT, BE THY COUNTRY’S, THY GOD’S, AND TRUTHS”. ( Shakespeare )

Really.. there is no ARMOR AGAINST FATE.! Writer is a Supreme Court Lawyer and daughter of Abdul Ghani Lone.  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it Published on 19th May, 2012 Jehlum Post

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Last Updated on Monday, 20 August 2012 07:01