The passing of Syed Ali Geelani


By Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Illaihi Rajeeoon!

With the passing of Syed Ali Geelani, Chairman, Tehreek-e-Hurriyet, on September 1, 2021, a leader par excellence, who was a symbol of humanity and champion of human rights all over the world, be it Palestine, Myanmar, Chechnya, Kashmir or else, it is an end of era.

Syed Ali Geelani was an intellectual, deep thinker, visionary, brilliant and an articulate scholar and above all an institution by himself. He was a giant in Kashmir’s turbulent history.

In the annals of history, nations and peoples are often blessed with leaders, guides and activists who play singular roles providing leadership that transcends inspiration and casts a lasting impact on these societies. Syed Ali Geelani was one of those leaders who gave his last full measure of devotion in unflagging pursuit of a just and noble cause of Kashmir.

A moral high ground was everything to him. Words inevitably cheapen the impeccability of his character and accomplishments. His legacy lives as much in the heart as in the head. His formula for Kashmir was simple but powerful. The aspirations of the people of Kashmir must be ascertained.

He had the clarity of vision about the future of Kashmir. There were no ifs and no buts in his approach. He was bold enough to say it loud and clear that accession of Kashmir to Pakistan was not my political manifesto but my article of faith.

Syed Ali Geelani

When in 1990 the winds of change blew across the world, destroying dictatorships and occupations, the people of Kashmir also renewed their struggle. During their period of quiet the world had forgotten them. Now, they were filled with hope and longing of a new dawn. It was at this crucial juncture that Geelani Sahib emerged to present a much larger aspect of his leadership. He not only rekindled the issue afresh but also gave it a new vigour and meaning.

The people of Kashmir will never forget the selfless contribution and the tireless efforts of Geelani Sahib. His efforts will remain forever a milestone in the history of the freedom struggle of Kashmir.

The vision of Geelani Sahib and the unity and sacrifices of the people of Kashmir will undoubtedly lead the Kashmiri freedom struggle to its logical conclusion, that is freedom from the occupation and alien subjugation.

The people of Kashmir lost an iconic leader. May Allah accept the sacrifice of Geelani Sahib and elevate his status as the guided person, comfort him in his grave, make his grave part of Jannatul Firdous and give Sabr to the family! Ameen.

(Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai is Secretary General, Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum. He can be reached at 1-202-607-6435 or