Using subtle satire, Facebook debate criticises Geelani

By Sarwar Kashani, IANS
Friday, October 15, 2010

SRINAGAR - Another day, another shutdown or a curfew… After four months of bearing up, signs of slow frustration appear to be creeping in among Kashmiris. And the writing is on the Facebook wall.

Life in the Kashmir Valley has come to a near standstill. Wonder how long will Kashmiris bear it silently? Perhaps not any longer.

A satirically-rhymed debate, parodying the famous “Aaj jaane ki zid na karo”, originally sung by renowned ghazal singer Muni Begum of Pakistan, says it all - subtly targetting separatist leaders who in demanding ‘azadi’ have forced businesses, schools and offices in the valley to shut down for over 60 days in the last four months that has seen 109 civilian deaths, mostly in firing by security forces on angry street protesters.

The debate revolves round the strategy of hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Geelani who has threatened to intensify the protest programme in the coming days.

Spoofing the second line of the ghazal, Bashir, a Facebook user, posts: “Geelani Sahib threatens more intense protest programme — Haay mar jayengay, hum to mit jayenge, aisi baatain kiya na karo!!!! (Oh, don’t talk like this, we’ll die, we’ll be finished)”.

His post triggers immediate reactions from his friends who include journalists, government and private sector employees and students.

Vijdan, among Bashir’s friends on the networking site, comments: “Ab hartaal ki zid na karo, is laah-e-amal ko badlo, isko nayi raah do”, meaning don’t be obdurate about shutdowns, change the strategy and give the movement a new direction.

Bashir then takes the debate further, mentioning Geelani’s call asking people to march to Hyderpora, an upscale neighbourhood in uptown Srinagar where the separatist leader lives.

“By the way, w(h)at were we supposed to do after marching to Hyderpora?” he writes.

Jimmy, another user, sarcastically replies “having a lunch”.

Ershad, a friend, jumps into the debate that is getting more interesting.

“Mujay jeenay ki khwahish hai yaar, tum ko marna hai to jaakay maro.”

Knowing his comment would attract dangerous consequences, Ershad adds that he was joking. “Plz, don’t take seriously….”

Bashir writes again, saying Hyderpora doesn’t even house a UN office. “Why should we march there?

Ershad quips: “What then if there is not any office… Aastan-e-aalia to hai… (a big shrine is there), referring to Geelani’s residence that also houses his office.

Taseer, another user in the circle, pitches in. He invokes Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. “Bazichaye hartal hai Kashmir mere aagay” (Kashmir looks like a sport of shutdowns), he writes, parodying Ghalib’s “Bazichaye atfal hai duniya mere aagay” - a paradoxical comment on the world by the 18th century poet.

Ershad completes the couplet. “Fouj tere peechhay, aur baba tere aagay…” — a reference to Kashmiris caught between two grinding wheels, ‘baba’ a metaphor for Geelani and ‘fouj’ the security forces.

Mudasir then strikes a “serious note”, saying the shutdown strategy has led to “growing pauperization” in the Kashmir Valley.

“Geelani bhaiya, pls end this strike… Plz, kahin ye chaman jal na jaye (let this garden not get burnt).”

Ershad points out that Kashmiris are at the brink of starvation and completes the parody of the song that is equally famous in India and Pakistan.

“Faqa kashi kay is dour main aap balwaan, kumzor main; Allah taala se tou daro, aise baaten kiya na karo, (you are strong, we are weak, but be god-fearing),” he asks Geelani.

Munshee enters the debate with a famous Bollywood song mocking Geelani’s frequent “chalo” calls, asking people to join in marches.

“Chal chalaa chal, chal chalaa chal; yun hi miljayega hal. too aaj Hyderpora chal.”

Tanzeel, apparently a Geelani fan, asks at the end of the debate: “R u kidding…You must respect the miraculous leader who has won the hearts and minds of Kashmiris…what he says is our say.”

That puts an end to the debate.

(Sarwar Kashani can be contacted at

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