For many, he is a symbol of resistance against one of the most brutal occupations; the occupation of Kashmir by Indian forces. His supporters see him as the reincarnation of the Libyan revolutionary, Omar Mukhtar. But unlike Mukhtar, this lion does not fight in the deserts, but in the mountains of Kashmir. With his resignation from the Chairmanship of the Tehreek-i-Hurriyat, Syed Ali Shah Geelani wants other leaders of the Kashmir movement to hold the baton of freedom of Kashmir.

Geelani led a remarkable struggle against India’s illegal and oppressive occupation of Kashmir. He can be indeed called the street fighting man. Mr. Geelani fought Indian subjugation with protests, with arguments, with arbitrary confinements, with house arrests. The irony for Indian state is that the oppressed ones in the valley of Kashmir took up the message of Gandhi. To put pressure on the government to grant the Kashmiris their inalienable right to self-determination Mr. Geelani has frequently relied on non-violent means such as strikes or boycotts. Relying on the force of logical arguments, he successfully brought India’s tyranny in Kashmir before the world.

The question may arise in many people’s mind that who will fill the vacuum of leadership after him? To this, he says, “Personality does not matter. Ideology does. Personalities and leaders are not important. Objective and goal are. After me, the people of Kashmir should follow the guidelines given by us.”

India often takes pride in calling itself the largest democracy in the world. But in Kashmir, their democracy mutates into demon-crazy as Arundhati Roy calls it. People’s will and wishes are not relevant. The largest democracy is afraid of an 88-year-old man as is evident from the fact that Mr. Geelani was put under house arrest for the last eight years. Virtually paralyzed through cheap tactics of the biggest democracy, the street fighter has stepped down. Often condemned by the Indian state as responsible for militancy, history will absolve him.