This week Rajya Sahba MP GN Ratanpuri went to meet Geelani Sahib at Malviya Nagar in New Delhi, where the padre of Kashmir’s resistance has been confined to a solitary room by the mighty government. On the first day the honorable MP wasn’t even allowed to shake hands, leave alone meet up the ailing patriarch. Both Geelani sahib (standing on the doorway) and Ratanpuri (standing a few feet away) were not allowed to touch base. Like jinxed lovers.
After standing in the kotcha
for a long time, and having made a dozen phone calls to several chaps
in the higher echelons of power (being a lawmaker has its perks)
Ratanpuri returned with eyes like disappointed lemons. Orders from the
top, he was bluntly told, bar anyone from meeting the 83 year old. A
feeble soul with a pacemaker, half a kidney, chronic asthma, cervical
spondylosis and prostate problem is apparently a code orange level
threat to the largest democracy in the solar system. What to do, Sir?
Rantanpuri is not someone to give up so soon. After all he has been the
editor of the quirky Urdu Daily Aftab in the heady 70s, not to mention
his celebrity broadcaster days at Radio Kashmir, Srinagar. He persisted
on Day two and finally, with a great degree of wriggling and contacts,
managed to convince the paranoid security grid that he won’t really leak
any of the radioactive substance that Geelani Sahib apparently emits.
shall, he pledged, simply have a photograph taken with the old man on
his new BlackBerry. Armed with a tablet (akin to the Ten
Commandments…Thou Shalt not types) and under the watchful eye of the
pot-bellied Delhi Police constables, the MP managed to sneak into the
small room-cum-prison to meet up Geelani Sahib. Only to get an earful
from the bed-ridden paterfamilias, who said what he always says without
fear or favour -- with or without Haryanvi cops around -- that Kashmir’s
right to self-determination is the final answer to all the questions.
for the entire while that Ratanpuri spent by Geelani’s bedside, he was
supposed to talk in Urdu only so that the eavesdropping Haryanvi
constables could make sure that no nuclear secrets are changing hands
(This being the trust deficit season just before the tourist season).
Given the chaste Urdu that Geelani Sahib speaks and drawing from
Ratanpuri’s long years at Radio Kashmir, where he spoke into the
microphone like a velvet throat, one wonders how much did the poor cops
finally pick up?
Did jargon like Haqe-Khud-i-Radyat, Aqwam-i-Mutehda, Bunyaadi Haq, Jazbe Ehsar, Qaabiz Afwaj slightly
dull the heads of the special cell cops? We might not know their states
of mind! However Ratanpuri, coming as he does from the pro-India camp,
after updating his Facebook, revealed truthfully to the media, “Geelani
Sahib was lying with pain in left side of his abdomen. With Ortho-collar
around his neck he stood up to wish me.” Tells a lot about the grace
and fortitude of India’s code orange level threat.