Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fathers and sons

If you want to choke a debate, question someone’s ideology and political opinion, just do one thing, ask him what his children are doing and he will lose all his argument, whatever he may have.
This is old technique adopted by some people here who have opinion about nothing except people. They have been fairly successful in executing this archaic technique with new arguments. Often those who espouse pro-freedom cause and talk about right to self-determination and the independence are being posed these questions. Elsewhere, outside Kashmir those who talk about loot and plunder by the corporate giants in tribal areas are being accused of agents of foreign powers. They weave argument according to situation.
From Syed Ali Shah Geelani to Muhammad Yasin Malik, there is not a single pro-freedom leader who has not been chided for actions which have nothing to do with their ideology. Geelani has been asked not once but time and again what his sons have been doing over the years and what he has done for them. And Malik was literary hounded for marrying Mushaal.
There is no denying of the fact that people sacrifice themselves and everything dear to them for their respective ideologies and cherished dreams of freedom, liberation, independence, democracy, women rights, rights of tribal’s, secularism and human rights. There are people who devote their lives for these causes without knowing what happen to their children and family. Even they remained oblivion to what happen to them in personal life. They carried on. There are children who have immensely suffered due to the ideologies of their parents especially in Kashmir. In Kashmir you have hundreds of examples. The examples are in every lane and by-lane.
A father was killed here because his son was wanted militant. Son was killed here because his father was working for troops or it was perceived he was working for troops. People were killed on mere perceptions here. A sister was taken into custody for months together because her brother was wanted. Our trauma has no end.
Fathers and sons were killed because over the years this argument has percolated down that ideology of son can’t be different from the ideology of his father. That if son espouses cause of independent Kashmir, father might have played active role in convincing him about the truth of that cause.
It has been seen that the society and the State have denied personal freedom to the individual here. The State has gone after everyone who has had political opinion. It first ridiculed him, and when he refused to bend, it went after his family to crush him. The State has been fairly successful crushing individuals this way.
The society has never been sympathetic. Son here should marry in same gotra where his father wants him to be. Or daughter should not chose her partner herself, if she or he does so it is construed as sort of rebellion or betrayal in Kashmir.
So we should have sympathy for the people who pose questions of fathers and sons while debating political opinions. Because, they come from a society which even denies a freedom to chose a partner and a career to an individual here.
But the question is why ideology, political opinions and political goals should be made subservient to the actions of family members of the person having certain political ideology. Is it necessary for Geelani that his son should take oath on same thing which his father preaches day in and day out? Is it necessary for Malik that Mushaal should certify his political opinion of independent Kashmir and then it would be accepted as his political opinion? Is it? Do their opinions become valid only after they are certified by their relations? If this is so, then they are not subscribing to any ideology or opinion but to sham.
I think except in Kashmir, there might be no other place in the world where such bizarre questions are being posed and asked. They are being asked with the purpose. The purpose is to put the people having strong opinion about issues in defensive.
Sir Vidia Naipaul has no child and he has no regrets about the same. “No regret at not having children of my own. In fact, I would say it is constant cause for celebration for me. Take Graham Greene. When I was with him once he received a letter from his son. The son was ill, not seriously. But Greene’s whole face collapsed with concern at that letter. He said: you never lose this feeling for them no matter how old they get. I wouldn’t have wanted that,” says Naipaul.
Graham Greene was concerned and it was but natural. It is natural for us to be concerned about our loved ones. But at the same time actions of sons and relations of opinion makers have no relation with each other. You can’t bring relations in ideologies. They shouldn’t be used to contradict opinions of political leaders who have different opinion. Father’s ideology is not subservient to his son’s opinion and vice-versa. Let father have his goals and let son perceive different goals. This kind disagreement is necessary for growth of society. Otherwise we will be society of automatons.
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