Kashmiris living on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) and across the globe are observing the first martyrdom anniversary of Baba-e-Hurriyat Syed Ali Shah Geelani with the pledge that they will continue their freedom struggle till getting independence from the Indian rule.
Geelani was born on September 29, 1929, in the village of Bandipora in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK). After receiving his primary education in Sopore, he enrolled in Oriental College Lahore for higher education. Having completed his education in Lahore, he joined the Jamaat-e-Islami IIOJK in 1949.
In 1961, Geelani left the government job and became the all-time leader of Jamaat-e-Islami. On August 28, 1961, he was first time arrested and put behind the bars.
Geelani was elected three times as a Member of Assembly in IIOJK in 1972, 1977 and 1987 on the ticket of Jamaat-e-Islami. In 1990 when Kashmiri youth picked up arms to fight against Indian illegal rule in IIOJK, Geelani backed the armed struggle and termed it as per the United Nations resolutions to get freedom from India by armed struggle. In 1990, Geelani was arrested and released after three years.
In 1994, Geelani founded the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) along with other Kashmiri leaders including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat and Abdul Ghani Lone. From 1990 to 2010, he was arrested and released several times. In 2010, he was placed under house arrest at Hyderpora, Srinagar to keep him away from the public. Geelani spent 11 years in house arrest and sacrificed his life during the confinement for the greater cause of the people of IIOJK.
Besides a popular leader, Geelani was also considered a fiery orator and accomplished historian and scholar in IIOJK.
Since his student days, Geelani was fond of studies. The founder of Jamaat-e-Islami Syed Maududi and national poet Allama Iqbal had a deep influence on his academic life. He was an expert in Iqbaliyat. He wrote three books on Iqbal's Persian poetry. He was the author of more than two-dozen books, including Rudad-e-Qafs, Wular Kinaray, Safar Mahmood Me Zikr Mazloom and Iqbal’s Falsafayeh Khudi are some famous books of Geelani.
Geelani was using poetry in his articles beautifully. He knew how to control readers through common sense and simple language in his writings.
The government of Pakistan has given Nishan-e-Pakistan to Geelani aimed to honour his struggle for the freedom of IIOJK. Geelani was the symbol of resistance in IIOJK and youth were blindly following him on his principled stand on the Kashmir dispute. Geelani was the founder of the slogan “Ham Pakistani hain aur Pakistan hamara hay”.
The occupational forces snatched his body from the family members and buried him secretly in Hyderpora, Srinagar graveyard without the participation of his family members in his funeral prayer.