By Naseer A Ganai
Professor Saif-u-Din Soz, whenever speaks, speaks off the record. He never says anything on record. It is very difficult to make anything out of what the professor says “on record.”
On record he would talk on expected lines. For example, try to seek his reaction on Afzal Guru’s hanging. He would say Sonia ji is Congress president and Manmohan Singh is prime minister and he has conveyed both of them feelings of people over the issue and they have given him a patient hearing. And what are feelings of people? “Well, both Madam Sonia ji and the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh ji, understand the feelings of the people,” Soz Sahab would reply.
If you persist with your query, he would say, “I conveyed them about feelings of people and they heard me patiently.”
So it was very surprising to see Prof. Soz reacting to a “rumour”. He issued a long statement on the alleged rumor.
Since Prof. Soz saved the Congress government with his one vote, it is first time that he has issued such a long statement. Many events took place since then but all these years Soz sahib has reacted very patiently. Mufti Sayeed became chief minister, followed by Ghulam Nabi Azad and Omar Abdullah is about to complete six year of his tenure. But all these catastrophic events in Kashmir history were no events for Prof. Soz.
Nothing forced him to issue a long statement.
He usually refrains from issuing long statements. Perhaps he realizes that long statements need more words and for more words, you need to say something and for saying something, you need to have something to say, and for having something to say, you need to have consent of Sonia ji, and having consent of Sonia ji is such a big task that Soz Sahab prefers shorter statements over the longer ones.
But a rumour, which only Prof. Soz and the person who called him knew, prompted Soz Sahab to issue a long statement. It is sea change in J&K Congress and it speaks volumes about confidence of Congress in general and Soz Sahab in particular. Otherwise who reacts to rumors these days? Only Soz Sahab has guts to do it. Others will prefer not to touch this risky political issue of reacting to a rumor, which can cost chief minister his job.
In his rare and long statement carried by all newspapers today, Soz Sahab, while reacting to, what he called, a hot rumor, said: “When a Senior Journalist and Editor of a News Paper (sic) rang me up from Srinagar late last evening and sought a clarification on a hot rumour in Srinagar that Prof. Soz accompanied by Mr. Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mr. Gulam Nabi Azad, had met Smt. Sonia Gandhi. I was alarmed and told the Editor that it was a figment of somebody’s imagination! It was then that I decided to say something on rumour mongering in Kashmir, as a traditional trait.”
First of all, it is allegation against the rumor that there was any such rumor. Then giving gender to the rumor and terming it “hot” is sexist comment. Soz sahib admits that he was alarmed by the hot rumor. That is personal issue and we should not speak about it. I never knew that hot things even alarm politicians.
Anyways, Prof. Soz then cited Sir Walter Lawrence and said Lawrence agreed with many historians that Kashmiris were given to cause rumours. “He had said how rumours traveled from Zainakadal to Amirakadal and then traveled back to Zainakadal to die down there. Incidentally, Lawrence called Zainakadal as Hawakadal ! So, I thought I must say something on rumour mongering in Kashmir. I thought, I must clear the position on certain recent rumours, including the functioning of the coalition,” reads Prof Soz’s strong worded statement.
He means to say that Sham Lal Sharma’s accusation against Taj Mohideen is rumor, sale of fake drugs in government hospitals is rumor and the State government run by Omar Abdullah is big rumor.
He then explains that “the NC-INC Coalition is in proper shape.” Prof. Soz did not explain the “proper shape.” It is very difficult to elaborate the proper shape. As if NC-INC was a model and it walked on a ramp and Soz sahib was judge. And after watching catwalk of Sham Lal Sharma, Taj Mohideen, Tara Chand, Abdul Rahim Rather, Ali Muhammad Sagar and others, he gave the coalition a certificate of having a perfect shape.
Prof. Soz however did not mention the size of the coalition. This he left to imagination of the readers.
He then went on to elaborate: “The coalition will continue for its scheduled life span that is till the next elections are due. At that point of time both parties will have the option to decide the next move, keeping their party interests in view.” Perfect. What does it mean?
This is what linguists call Sozology. Linguists say Sozology is study of language to decipher what people like Soz Sahab say. Over to Sozologists.