Distinguished Indian and veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah poured his anguish at the state of affairs in the nation, in particular concerning Muslim community in an interview with Karan Thapar for the news portal The Wire.
Padma Bhushan Naseeruddin Shah, 71 is three times national film award winner who won best actor award at Venice International Film Festival for his performance in Paar in 1984. A beacon of parallel cinema movement, called art films, Naseeruddin Shah seamlessly adapted himself successfully for the popular Bollywood cinema also and bagged 16 Filmfare awards. Some of the art films and also many of the popular culture films that Shah acted in have become a milestone in Indian cinema.
Naseeruddin Shah comes from a distinguished family too. His brother Lieutenant General Zameer Uddin Shah, PVSM, SM, VSM, born on 15 August 1948, is a retired senior General of the Indian Army. After serving as the Deputy Chief of Army Staff (Personnel & Systems), Indian Army and as an administrative member on the bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal, he was appointed Vice-Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University.
Naseeruddin Shah known to speak up his mind was livid while talking to Karan Thapar and said those calling for a genocide of Muslims are calling for a full-scale civil war. The actor sounded angry at what he feels about the manner in which Muslims are being treated. He expressed that The Muslims are in the process of being reduced to second-class citizens.
Naseeruddin Shah sad that there is an attempt to spread a phobia among the Muslims and told the Muslims to not give into it. Telling the concerned to fight back without being frightened at the current situation, Shah added ” Because we are defending our homes, we are defending our homeland, we are defending our families, we are defending our children.… I am not talking of our beliefs, beliefs very easily get threatened.”
Naseeruddin shah was referring to the very public hate speeches made at Dharm Sansad – Hindu Seminars- where open calls to massacre Muslims were made and which went unpunished so far and said “Two-hundred million of us are not going to get wiped out that easily. Two-hundred million of us are going to fight back. Two-hundred million of us claim this to be our motherland. Two-hundred million of us belong here; we were born here, generations of our families have lived here and died here. I’m certain that if any such movement begins, it will be met with a massive resistance and a massive amount of anger.”
Naseeruddin Shah lamented that the hate speeches seem to have blessings from the very top. Pained at the bigotry of calls for ethnic cleansing of Muslims , he questioned the silence of the Prime Minister which could be mistaken for tacit support. Inaction of Police and the Uttarakhand and Central Governments on the issue has added to the prevailing uneasiness.
It is significant that several Supreme Court lawyers have written to the Chief Justice of India urging him to take suo motu cognisance of hate speeches calling for ethnic cleansing at the Dharam Sansad in Haridwar and a meeting in Delhi between December 17 and 19. The letter has named nine persons against whom action should be taken on the basis of videos of their speeches. The signatories to the letter are Dushyant Dave, Prashant Bhushan, Salman Khurshid, Raju Ramachandran, P.V. Surendranath, Shalini Gera and Nayantara Roy.