Two controversial statements by APHC Leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani have generated chaos and confusion among self-proclaimed intellectuals, resulting in debates on social networking portals recently. The first statement made by Geelani sahab that "Kashmiri youth do not have any option but to pick up guns" divided political commentators.

The statement hogged debates on social networking portals, writers chose to respond with columns and the responses to the articles made the debate healthy, and yet simultaneously regressive. Some showed anguish, while others supported the statement.  But it is unfortunate to see people making hollow remarks questioning whether a Kashmiri boy should opt for the gun or not. 

It sounds absurd for us in general, as we are the people who dub freedom an option but simultaneously put forward immature questions.  Let us put forth the argument: will Kashmir get freedom without militant aggression? If yes, the question itself merges into another: is there any nation in the world which achieved freedom merely by chest thumping or chanting slogans?  If rejecting violence can achieve freedom then why have we not achieved it over the last 20 years?

I’m just being the devil's advocate to rebut those who oppose militancy as an option to seek freedom. We need to accept the argument that militant resistance is a part and parcel of freedom fighting, and so it just cannot be rejected. The famous saying by Martin Luther King supports this argument: “Freedom is not voluntarily given by oppressor it must be demanded by oppressed”.

No nation in this world prefers violence, but it is the oppression and illegal occupation which pushes people to choose militancy. This is true for places like Palestine and Kashmir, where the oppressor is armed and the oppressed is unarmed; where people are suffering brutality and have no choice but to retaliate in order to survive.

Kashmiris have two options: sit silently or pursue militant aggression as path to freedom.

There are two different characters of freedom, one is to mark our protest against the oppressor and another is to protest and go on with a do or die mentality. Unfortunately the situation is different here, neither are we compatible with a ‘do or die’ vision, nor with ‘marking protest against the oppressor’. What some people seem to be implying is that we should chant freedom slogans and beg India for freedom.

This might sound harsh, but according to ground realities Kashmiris are not ready for freedom. People here are capitalistic and all they care about is money, property, jobs –freedom can go to hell. People here no longer love freedom, what they love is to denounce, argue and remain divided.

People are divided into two sections; one seeks freedom and the other wants profit out of the freedom movement. A few years ago Geelani warned us about the black sheep among us. Time passed and he joined the right wing party and contested election. Today he holds a good position, and is being awarded for the role he is playing. In 2008 Geelani warned us to boycott elections and what did we do? We voted and blatantly chanted pro-Indian slogans during rallies and then after the five phase elections we blamed Geelani for disrupting the freedom cause.

Another example: when Geelani calls for hartal, people put forth questions like ‘what have we achieved from the hartals and chaos?’ Now when Geelani says “Freedom can only be achieved by joining Guerilla war” this is apparently hurting us more.

Another statement by the unarmed and tolerant leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was: “People have failed the leadership”. The statement stormed the whole freedom cause and people blatantly called him a traitor. It was mindboggling. The perception of Geelani may have changed following 2008 and 2014 election results. On the other hand, he may be confused to see people taking part on both sides i.e. they want freedom, but will cast their vote too.

As a management student what I have learned is this: “the decision always comes with proper planning, collection of data, data analysation and at last the decision maker has to finalize the decision---that is he comes up with final decision”. I think Geelani has followed the same process before his ‘big claim’.

The argument on the one hand is healthy, as we are the people responsible for it. But on other hand, we need to blame leadership too. They are responsible for the failure of the freedom movement. It is the divided leadership that needs to raise its hand up.

Freedom needs blood. I am not saying militant aggression is the only route to freedom, but we cannot reject it at any cost. We can use secondary ways too. As the saying reverberated during the Indian freedom fight goes, “Give me blood, and I shall give you freedom!” I firmly agree with this sentiment. If not, then why are people out each and every day chanting the pro-freedom slogans, jeering the army personnel by hurling ISIS flags and hoisting Pakistani flags?