Lone’s Liberal Politics

He was a politician with a vision and a mind of his own

Muhammad Tabish
Srinagar, Publish Date: May 20 2018 10:16PM | Updated Date: May 20 2018 10:16PM
Lone’s Liberal PoliticsFile Photo

It was difficult for me to find a suitable title for this piece which I intended to write on the 16th death anniversary of one of the rarest politician that the valley has ever produced. Eventually, I came across Rekha Chowdary Commentary published a month after the brutal assassination of Abdul Gani Lone and I was quite convinced to find an apt title that would summaries the life journey of the late stalwart.

Born and brought up in a humble background where education would have been beyond ones comprehension, Mr Lone can be seen on a quest from his early days of life. First as a youngster who is all set on his own, against all the social constraints in pursuit of education, where he would eventually succeed with a degree in law from Aligarh Muslim University. Second as a budding lawyer who is fiery and concerned for the rescue of his people, from sorts of political oppression and delayed justice. In fact his initial journey as a lawyer seems to have obsessed him for a role, as a savior of people who were timid and voiceless – which in turn forces him under the burden of a third quest, where we see him in the role of a non-conventional politician, who is at odds with the political dispensation of his times.        

Mr. Lone was a vocal politician. His political orientation over the Kashmir dispute was quite clear – he would look for a political solution to the issue, with people of J&K as its legitimate proprietors. He would contest over the role any foreign involvement in the movement or on the nature of the movement. He would always consider the movement to be inclusive of all the faiths representing the state of Jammu & Kashmir. In fact, Lone was aware of the changing global scenario post 9/11, he would detest the use of violence for achieving political aspirations. In fact it had started quite before in his mind. He would oppose the role of Pakistani militants in the valley and would ask them to take leave. Mr Lone was looking for a shift of approach and stressed for dialog and diplomatic consultation. He was shaking the separatist ground that had consolidated itself under the influence of Pakistan and religious passions. Antithetically, Mr Lone was pragmatic and would understand the fiction of state and statehood. He was aware of the suffering of the people of Kashmir which was a sole produce of the violence of last many decades. He was looking for a political breakthrough so that this violence is put to an end and peace is reinstalled in the valley. In fact he could see the cross roads approaching. Had he have a longer life a possible political resolution of the Kashmir dispute could have taken place. Unfortunately fate had its own design. 

In fact somedays back over a jovial conversation while driving home, my friend Naseer brings forward a fascinating incident that former US ambassador to India Frank Wisner had narrated to Mr Baig over a discussion on Kashmir conflict which he once summaries in his article Lone's Well and Dog story and Kashmir dispute published on October 28, 2009

"Wisner told him Hurriyat leader Abdul Gani Lone was the wittiest politician of Kashmir. Wisner wanted to know from Lone the fate of Kashmir dispute after participation of people in elections in Kashmir.

Late Abdul Gani Lone instead of giving straight answer related him a story of a village. The whole village was using water from a well. One day a dog fell into the well and all the villagers rushed to the village Imam and sought his advice - about what to do now? The Imam told them to take out forty buckets of water before using the water of the well. Next day the villagers again rushed to Imam with the same complaint that the water of well is stinking. Imam again repeated his previous advice of removing forty buckets before using the water. However, villagers on third day again visited the Imam with the same complaint of foul smell.

This time the Imam told the villagers whether they followed his advice or not. “In its letter and spirit” the villagers retorted. But when the Imam asked them whether they removed the dog from the well, they replied was in negative. Then the Imam told them that they must first fish out the body of the dog from the well and then take forty buckets of water out and only then use the water.

Late Abdul Gani Lone after relating the story to Wisner, told him that the elections and participation of people in elections is equivalent to removing forty buckets from the well. The Government of India, Lone had said, remove forty buckets after every five years. “But it doesn’t clean the water. Only removing of the dog would clean the water and that dog is Kashmir dispute.” 


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