Discussion at Shalimar Cafe
Director: Shaina Anand
Duration: 00:53:00; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 226.782; Saturation: 0.029; Lightness: 0.196; Volume: 0.139; Cuts per Minute: 0.245; Words per Minute: 178.089
Summary: This discussion follows the boycott of Coke and Pepsi called out by the Indian Hotels Association in response to the attack on Afghanistan by America . During the course of the discussion it is revealed that a number of other American products have been boycotted along with Coke and Pepsi. The discussion points to America being unreasonable with its attack on Afghanistan as a result of the September 11th attack on the World Trade Center. The conversation covers a wide range of topics, moving from a justification of the Taliban's restriction on the freedom of movement for women, to the banning of education for girls (with a reference to the statement given by Safir Syed Rahnatullah Hashimi at a university in California on 10th March 2001), to a pro-Taliban stance with regard to the Taliban's ban on the cultivation of opium, and on to liberals and fundamentalists with respect to India's own freedom, Islamic law in Arab and Muslim nations, and ending with the manipulation of the news by the American media.
Here, Maulana Saab (MS), Mr. Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS), Shaina Anand (SA), and Raees Khan (RK) are discussing why they went to the Consul General of America, and what had they said in the letter to the president of United States of America, Mr. George Bush
Mr. Shahabuddin Shaikh, chairman of the Indian Hoteliers Association, has called for a ban on American products, notably Coke and Pepsi
in protest against America's bombing of Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.
MS: So, our (?) intellectuals here had gone to meet the Consul General of America, here in Mumbai, to offer him condolences. At the same time, they also said that "the incident that has occurred over there, we (?), criticize it." But the action that America has to take against it should not be a reaction of anger, or an act of revenge.
RK: Maulana, but now I spoke to one organisation who support our movement of the boycott. They say that you'll have done wrong by going to the consulate. Why? Because according to them, Bush is a criminal. And it's a conspiracy as per which they are bombarding Afghanistan, first point. Second point is that they will be doing the same in other countries too, according to the defence reports that have come out.
MS: No, we were.
SS: No, so what? One minute. Isn't Advani a criminal? You tell me, isn't Advani a criminal? No, but the point is straight. If the person is in the government, you have to... I mean.
RK: But to the one who is doing everything?
SS: If a person is the head of the state, then we have to go.
MS: When we went there, we went to there to sympathise for the five to seven thousand who were killed in the attack. And since Bush is the president over there, we have to talk to him.
SS: Yes, however big a criminal he is.
MS: Whoever he is.
SS: Now, if they make us meet with the criminal, what can we do?
MS: What can we do?
SS: It's their own matter. But if he is the head of a country, then we have to go and give whatever condolences we have to offer, and it is going to through him. If people are supporting us, that does not mean whatever they say, will be our ideas and we on every issue. No, we, our...
RK: Now, it strikes me now, that going back to now...
MS: Anyway, we went there and offered our condolences. And we even told them about what incident has happened with them over there, they should investigate and enquire as to who were behind this, and why this had happened. You'll should go over your policies, see that people are not angry with your policies. And who could have done this. It should not happen that due to this incident, you attack some other place as an act of revenge, due to which many civilians and innocent people will be victimised. We had also written this in a letter to Mr. Bush.
RK: Which was read out today in news.
MS: But the only regret is whatever we said and heard went in vain. And the same happened which we were afraid of. Afghanistan was attacked by America on 7th October. Today I think it's almost a month; twenty-nine days.
RK: Seventh, they started.
SS: Today, only, it got over.
MS: Today, only one month is over. In that, thousands of people have lost their lives who were not guilty. So what's the difference between what had happened on 11th September and what is going on in Afghanistan?
SS: Both are terrorism.
MS: The people who were killed on 11th September were also not guilty.
SS: Both are terrorism.
At the office of Mr. Shahabuddin Shaikh, Shalimar Cafe, Mohammed Ali Road, Mumbai, India
Here, Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and Maulana Saab (MS) are giving their views on the loopholes that could have been in America's government, which they believe could have checked to prevent the 11th September attack, and went on to influence the investigation thereafter.
SS: Fine, so such a big incident happened there, but do notice that behind one person, no, man responsible for the incident is Osama Bin Laden. It was decided and the proof of that was given to NATO, United Nations. But, from where the person needs to be taken into custody, there no proof is given. Where's the logic? Secondly, in a country, hijacking of four aeroplanes is a big incident. And America has all the police, all around the world, knows everything. Even if a needle is moved from its place, it comes to know of it. Under it's nose four aeroplanes would have been hijacked together, at same time, and on the same day, and would have been rammed into buildings - wouldn't America know of it at a early stage? Wouldn't it? And even if it came to know later, did America question its intelligence agencies like C.I.A and F.B.I, asking them of were they sleeping, what were they doing? Or even the airport authorities for not being alert - how did this incident occur? Nothing, only congratulating. Whenever you see, it has only congratulated such agencies. Did it or didn't it? It did not even enquire about a single person, it's just praises, and how it needs the F.B.I, and what a commendable job is C.I.A is doing, etc.
MS: No, among all this the important point that people are not paying close attention to is that, about which they say, that the people responsible for this were for years staying in America. It's there, where they took the training of flying an aeroplane, where they planned everything and hijacked four aeroplanes at the same time. Even a common man would think of this not being possible until anyone from internal, within the system, was involved. America's first job, instead of attacking outside, was to check the people within it's system who were involved - how many moles were there supporting them (the terrorists)? Till date, we haven't heard of it. Taking action against the C.B.I, the C.I.A, F.B.I. At first, direct action was taken against Afghanistan, what happened within, till today, nobody knows. This is a very important issue which people haven't noticed yet, or spoken about it. From the very beginning, America should have had paid attention to it.
Osama Bin Laden
Here, Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) discusses why it is necessary to react and bring in change.
SS: See everything and then react; reaction is necessary. The ability to react is the proof for humans to existence. So this message needs to go across, that the people have changed their way of thinking and understanding things. Whether or not there are changes at the authoritarian level, we want to change. We are changing. And this has been very positive. And the way the movement has been spreading from Mumbai to Navi-Mumbai, places like Malegaon and all over Maharashtra
SS: The way in which it was spread in places in Gujarat, the same way it has been spreading in Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, West-Bengal and all over India, increasing to a global level all around the world. People have appreciated this. In Pakistan, flags were being burned, things they did. Do you feel our message was lesser in any sense? We didn't had to use any force, no one died, nothing happened. It went on peacefully, didn't it? However, what had happened in Malegaon is a different case. Are you understanding? That was, people have told, like they were ready to start fresh violence. But the change that has come in the way of thinking all over our nation should be appreciated.
SS: And this change should not be mixed with communal feeling or ill feeling. People should join this change open-heartedly, for humanity. Our Hindu brethren should come forward and express that "this is also our concern," more people should come forward and express their concern. And I would like to mention that in this, (asking someone) that, a person from 'Shiv,' 'Shiv Sagar' (in this case hotel), what's his name? Shankar Pujari?
?: Shankar Pujari ji
SS: The other people from Mini-Punjab or Sher-e-Punjab (both of which are restaurants), Punjabi, Sikh. When these people join our movement, there is a sense of achievement. Are you getting it? The fourteen-fifteen organisations who are working for the Swadeshi Movement, Indo-Pak relations, or for humanity - the organisations that are ran by non-Muslims, they might be Christians or Hindus - when they appreciate our movement, we do feel the sense of achievement. This is the achievement. People themselves have to change their ways of thinking. They need to adapt to it. There's no chance for violence. It's against violence. When we are protesting against American terror, and we ourselves include terror for the protest, what's the use of the protest then? We are keeping in mind all aspects of humanity. And even khuda
(God) wants you should behave like human beings. That's all.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) speaks of organisations of other religious affiliations joining in their protest to boycott American and British goods.
Shahbuddin Shaikh (SS) explains why he condemns the 11th September attack.
(?): Now that...
SA: Yes, sir.
SS: Look, the way, there
MS: Has the earlier talk recorded completely?
(?): Now that he has covered the points...
SS: On the World Trade Centre - one second - on the World Trade Centre, when bombs, when the aeroplanes crashed, losses had happened, civilians were killed. It was a concern for humanity. What's been happening in Afghanistan also concerns humanity. And if we have associated ourselves with this movement, we get this thing from the Quran
. It states that if an innocent person is killed who has made no mistakes, it's the murder of the whole mankind, humanity. Hence, whoever did this, we condemned it. But if who saves one life, it's as if he has saved the whole mankind, the whole of humanity. This is also what Quran
teaches. So for the first part, we did condemned the 11th September attacks. Now, the second part says that if we try to save people, then this is what Quran
says. And our press people, the media particularly, is interested in that somebody shouts slogans praising Osama Bin Laden, people burning flags of America, violence happening to an extent. Or else they will bring in people who have no knowledge of religion, nothing at all. Getting it? The common Muslim lies somewhere in between - neither he is very violent, nor is he away from the religion as if he doesn't know it. The more nearer a person is to the teachings of Islam, the better Muslim he is. He who walks on the path of Islam is a good Muslim. He who is far away from the teachings of Islam is a bad Muslim.
Osama Bin Laden
World Trade Centre
SS: And then there is the definition of fundamentalists, extremists and liberals. This definition, you tell me - the definition of Islam will be defined by Islam, or you will define it? Who will define the definition of Islam?
?: Yeah, right, Shabana.
SS: The definition of Islam will be stated by Islam itself. Now, see here, before the Independence...
(?): Tell the name, we are on television.
SS: No, let me say - here, before the Independence, I'll quote their names - there was Mohammed Ali Jinnah, an absolute liberal, who used to wear suits and trousers, clean shaven, holding cigarette, a lawyer of Supreme Court, would always speak in English, divided our nation, and made Pakistan. Divided the nation, and made it Pakistan. And those 'ulema-e-kiraam'
, who along with Gandhiji, preached patriotism to the people, became fundamentalists.
(?): Is quite Taliban.
SS: Which means, whom will you consider to be good? Who is good? I feel that those fundamentalists were good, who at least were in the favour of our nation. Hence, there is nothing like fundamentalism or liberalism. What exists straight is that, who follows their religion and to what extent. And I will even say that Hindus - the Hindus who really follow their Hindu religion - do not favour violence. People who indulge in violence do not belong to any religion. There is no Hindu or Muslim. They just need an excuse. And they are not punished, the other innocent people get killed. The action then, is taken against the innocent. If such people are attacked, it will lessen the riots. It also will lessen the tense situation between us. And it will create an opportunity to serve humanity, increase in the brotherhood, and increase the love among us
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) explains his perspective on liberals and fundamentalists.
Mohammed Ali Jinnah
NA: This physical violence is one part which involves killing, beating and robbing. Violence even exists in various forms like social violence. Social violence means - what in Hindu caste system, Dalits cannot do this and cannot do that; they have no right to study, no access to the well for drinking water - these are a part of social violences in a form. That too, is very dangerous. It's not the matter of killing, but does concern humanity. But when, even before the war happened, I was reading about Taliban. I do not know of where the information comes from, I still have to investigate. But the information I have received from there is that, specifically about ladies, about their education - that was my first reaction. They cannot learn beyond thirteen or fourteen years of age. Even that, in my opinion, opinion of humanity, is a part of social violence. What is your reaction on this?
MS: See, as far as Islam is concerned, Islam gives the right to education to everybody, be it children, women; everybody has the right to education equally. It's not like there is a caste system, wherein only people belonging to a upper caste have a right to education and not the lower caste. In Islam, the right to education is common for all.
Nikhil Anand (NA) questions the speakers on issues of social violence in terms of the Taliban's actions of denying education to women. Maulana Saab (MS) replies.
Hindu caste system
MS: Now, as far as Taliban is concerned, we don't know much on this front, on what and how is their attitude on this issue. That you will have to find it yourself. About Islam, I can tell that Islam provides for education for everyone, belonging to any... Whether if they belong to upper caste, lower caste, children, women or men. Education belongs to everyone.
SS: One minute, that article in that magazine...
RK: The one that's on internet.
MS: Yes, the same one.
SS: In a magazine, what was published... See, it's not about favouring Taliban. In a magazine, a statement by Taliban or something was published that, probably by an ambassador of Taliban, that when they were governed by the Northern Alliance, many atrocities were committed like robbery, maraud, and even rape cases and so forth. Hence when they captured Kabul, they said to everybody that - absolutely education, no more going to school and no more going to colleges. But after some days, they started education again. They say that the education ladies get there is of no comparison to anywhere. So, the right thing is that we are not in a position to comment on anybody, but the person with whom it is concern should get a chance to justify himself. If whatever has been written in the magazine is true, it was the need of the hour then it should have been done with. If even now they have prohibited education for ladies, it's wrong, it's non-Islamic. But have they really prohibited the education?
, what they need to do is to find out whether women are being given right to education, or are they being denied. It may have had happened that there was an on-going war due to which they had to stop it. If even now they have stopped, it's wrong. What is wrong will be wrong, whosoever does it.
Maulana Saab (MS) and Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) provide their perspective on the Taliban's ban on education, the teachings of Islam with regard to education, and the situation during the reign of the Northern Alliance.
RK: And the issue of whether there is a purdah
(veil), or it is any function of our religion, is concerned if you look at them in isolation. Okay, you will never be able to justify, or you will never be able to understand. Islam works towards a social reform. The Islam works towards a society and a civilisation. So you have to see in totality. Okay? Individual issues like purdah
, or individual issues of education, or our social set up, you will never be able to understand. Islam is a way of life that has to be understood in totality. We work towards a social fabric, basically.
MS: It's right.
SS: See, the thing I was talking about. In this it is written that as far as freedom to work, or education is concerned - I will first tell you who gave this statement; the statement is given by Safir Syed Rahmatullah Hashimi (Shahabuddin mistakenly says, 'Rehmani' instead of 'Hashimi'), from Afghanistan on 10th March, (?) who said this speech at an university in California, which is also available on internet. The excerpt from the speech says, "as far as the education or freedom to work is concerned, whatever has been reported in the media, opposite to which, women have been given freedom." In 1996, when in the capital, Kabul, we gained control, there was no law and order in existence, and hence, women were given orders not to venture out of their homes. Our (?) was not that they should live forever in their houses. But at that time, nobody listened to us; the media created a propaganda against us. The situations were such that women were being raped everyday. When people were disarmed and law and order was instated, then the women started working in the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Social Affairs, women are working everywhere. But this is true that like America, here our women do not work in the Ministry of Defence, because we do not want our women to pilot an aircraft in a war or or to be used as objects of decoration for advertisements. Even as far as women's education is concerned, there are no issues in Taliban. Our religion orders us to get education, it is a fraction of our belief. Then why Taliban will be against education? We are only against co-education. According to the news paper in United Nation's report, that in Afghanistan the population of girls studying medical science is more than boys.
MS: The girls are more than boys in terms of population in medical science.
SS: In most of the metros, faculties offering medical science as subject of education have re-opened, where in separate management has been done for the education of girls. Even a committee belonging to Sweden has opened a school for educating girls, but there the number of girls studying is less.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) makes reference to an article by Safir Syed Rahmatullah Hashimi
in order to justify his stance, stating that the Taliban has not denied education to women, while Raees Khan (RK) speaks on Islam itself.
Syed Rahmatullah Hashimi
MS: There are these things. Now tell me, if I am being accused of... I am absolutely wrong, there are hundreds of proof against me. But should I not get a chance to justify myself?
NA: Of course.
SS: After hearing both the sides, should the decision be made?
SS: If at all this is true, whatever the American media is doing is wrong.
RK: American media is behaving like judge, and is giving its own verdict. There is suppression and manipulation of facts about Afghanistan in media.
SS: You tell me that - if in reality these things like rape, maraud, other things had been happening there, then at that point, controlling such activities was important? Or everybody was told not to venture out. When they disarmed everybody, and when they felt that things are now in control, then they resumed education facilities. Education is in such a state, that they say the population of girls getting education is more than boys. And they are everywhere, in every section, except that they have not kept women in defence field.
RK: And even the United Nation's report...
SS: And they don't have co-education.
RK: And even the United Nation's report, even their report is there.
SS: They are even giving United Nation's advert. This is available on net. And...
NA: No, if this is the case, then it's right. Again they started in those conditions.
SS: No, but you have... (The footage gets cut) Know the story completely. From the beginning, you should know why they brought that women, what crime did she commit? Are you understanding?
NA: It's right.
SS: You should know the complete story in order to pass the judgement. You must ask them as to why did they do this?
NA: Right, no.
SS: You tell me, aren't people guillotined in Saudi Arab? Aren't throats slitted in Saudi Arab? Why nothing is said against them. That's Islamic law. There also it could have happened; that punishment was given to that person according to Islamic law. And in Saudi Arab and other Arab countries, wherever there is Islamic law, whether in the least degree, the extent of control which exists over there is no where. A person getting slapped, or you slapping another person, that cannot happen in U.A.E. Not at all, in the whole of U.A.E., a person being slapped in U.A.E is of great deal. What has happened there is they have created a strict law.
Maulana Saab (MS), Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and Raees Khan (RK) discuss the American media, the reinstation of the education system by the Taliban, and Islamic law.
SS: And one thing that needs to be known about Islamic law - whenever we see that so and so women is being dragged and this is being done to her, you start sympathising with her. Islam deals with it the other way. Islam doesn't sympathise with the person who has committed the crime, but with the person who has been oppressed. Like, someone has robbed your house; then every other law sympathises with the robber, but Islam sympathises with the person whose house had been robbed, that "cut off his hand so that nobody ever dares to rob the house again." You tell me how safe will that house be, and how many people will get a lesson not to do it again. And if you are lenient with the robber, then robbery is going to increase. What will happen, tell me? They should use some logic. Islam's idea is very different. So make the law strict so that nobody dares to break the law, so people can be safe. You tell me, you are being oppressed, someone from your family got killed, you will be worried (tempted) to kill that person. And if you come to know that no action is being taken against him, where will your (?) go? And how much will he be motivated, the one who killed? But if he comes to know that he has to barter his own blood for his killings, how much strength will you get? That "no, if my (?) has gone, even he gets the appropriate punishment." How much of confidence will get built up. And the killer, will get... (The footage gets cut) Together, there is a vast difference in both. Are you getting the conversation? Till the point you don't know the complete story...
NA : No, that is why I...
SS : One cannot comment on it.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) continues to discuss Islamic law.
RK: You know it's... There is a mindset with America. Specially which comes from up from the President. They think that they are superior to the world. And they've been hit, so they should ruin the whole world now. You know. So, that is basically provoking America and the media to project Taliban in the worst possible way. And internationally, it has been accepted that all facts relating to Taliban are manipulated.
SS: They talk to the whole world in such a language, as if each and every one is their slave. "Either do this, otherwise you will face this."
MS: No, I wanted...
SS: "Either you are with us or with the terrorists." What language is this?
RK: Once you are with them, do whatever you want. Israel, example. Nobody is condemning that. You know, on the streets of Palestine city, you have, you know, tanks standing over there. Nobody condemns it.
MS: In this, the American media should (?), that whatever happened on 11th September, the reaction to which was being telecast immediately, shown that some women and children are enjoying (themselves). Even you must have seen those clips shown on television repeatedly.
NA: Those were ten years old.
MS: Then in a newspaper, we read that those clips are ten years old. In the same way the oppression on children and women being shown - how does one know are of the present or the past?
SS: 11th September, whatever had happened on 11th September, the same time the reaction was shown, that reaction of on what should be the response of the people and how to react (was shown). Even I, on Pakistan, on BBC, there was an interview of a journalist from Pakistan. He said that when he asked Osama Bin Laden on why was he favouring the attack that happened on 11th September, Osama replied that, "everybody is celebrating, hence I thought I should react in this way." You tell me, you have given, CNN has given him this line, this wrong line. And in the same way, when you can show clips that were shot ten years ago and confuse the people there. So as Maulana said, that couldn't this happen, that clips shown are from the past.
MS: Don't know which period the clips belong to, whether in the period of Northern Alliance or during their period. Don't know when it belongs.
SS: I saw some photos in the newspapers. Listen. In that, some people wearing caps, beard trimmed, and the pyjamas are inserted till here, and shown that they are aiming to kill someone with the gun, and shown how Taliban is oppressing people. This dress does not belong to Taliban. They have a full-grown beard, complete, and they wear a saafaa
(scarf) around their head; they don't wear the cap like me, nor do they wear the Afghan cap. And their pyjamas are short in length, till here. That was a person from Northern Alliance. And they are being accused of the crimes that others have committed.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS), Maulana Saheb (MS), Raees Khan (RK) and Nikhil Anand (NA) discuss the manipulation of facts by the media, especially those related to the perception of the Taliban.
Osama Bin Laden
SS: This Northern Alliance have killed so many people. The number of people being killed during their governance is more than the total people killed in Russia during past ten years. Understand, more people have been killed. Such (?) was started all over the nation. All the evil was in them - drugs were within them, you understand, gambling, liquor, dance, and after that, absolute nakedness. And even - what is that? - opium farming and all this used to happen there.
MS: Opium farming even today happens only there. The areas which are under Taliban, there it is completely banned. Opium farming cannot happen, all this is banned. Wherever in the world Afghan opium is exported, all of it comes from the region where the Northern Alliance is ruling.
SS: There is no question of supporting the Taliban. But now, as of today, Russia and America - for ten years Russia fought with them. America thought they should not be supported. They backed out. And today, when the need arises, they have become friends with them (Russia). The same you did with Osama Bin Laden - when you felt that against Russia, you could use him as your weapon, you presented him as a hero. That he is Islam's hero, he is a Mujaheed, that he's got it. And after presenting everything, when they realised, that "oh ho ho, he could be a problem for us." And because it was America, he was a terrorist. Had it been Russia, then he'd be a hero. What does it define?
RK: You need to define terrorism, no?
NA: Unless it is a part of the definition.
SS: What difference does it make? His attitude is same as it was then. If he was a hero then, he still is a hero now. And if he is a terrorist now, he was even a terrorist then. Was or wasn't? As per its own discretion. I say, Taliban may be lakh (one hundred thousand) times bad, but Northern Alliance are worst. Understand? You are supporting them just cause he is an enemy. An enemy of our enemy is our friend. That's it.
NA: Absolutely right.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS), Maulana Saab (MS) and Nikhil Anand (NA) discuss the situation during the Northern Alliance's rule of Afghanistan, and America's double standards.
Osama Bin Laden
NA: The second thing that we were talking about, about the foreign media. Like even the Indian media is reacting differently on this, on national politics. Like, the star people, Australian, people from the Australian company. Like our press here, newspapers be it English, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, whoever, have reacted differently. Everybody has different reactions. Every paper has a policy depending on which they react. Every paper, specially the big ones, in order to promote the foreign companies, they make the way. Yes, they should venture here. They need to be promoted. It's an era of competition, and this and that. And when the topic is regarding bringing in foreign newspapers...
SS: It's weird.
RK: This is one area where there should be no foreign investment.
SS: Talk of sincerity. If it happens with you, then it's wrong. Today, while walking, Sarfaraz was saying that they are deciding to price newspaper on per page basis - a paper of four pages will cost this much, and the paper of eight pages will cost double of this, and in the same manner, number of pages in the paper will determine the increase in its price. They said "no, the big papers are not ready to agree." I am just giving an example - the big papers are not ready to agree. But when a foreign press wants to enter the market, they have this same argument, that they (the foreign press) will come and print eighty pages and price it at three rupees, and we will be doomed. And if you do the same thing, then it's of no issue. What is this?
NA: Even advertisements also - I mean, the big companies, about who are ready to speak good in their advertisements, like... (Big companies who wish to represent themselves well.)
RK: See, basically...
SS: See our, our own movement we are running with non-violence, with absolute Gandhian ideology, and avoiding any clash. We want to give out our message. In every movement, you will see company run into losses; with our movement Indian companies are gaining profits. Even then, some people tweak the news. In the end, they just twist the news. Just because they have a policy to adhere to.
RK: There is a huge debate that. News should be presented as news, and not as an analysis. News is not at the mercy of the journalist. Every journalist tries to show the news according to his perspective. However, newspapers are purely a medium of reporting. What's happening.? Wherein, every article reflects...
SS: Their view.
RK (continuing): Their view.
SS: Their view.
RK: Which is not right. Who is asking them what they feel about it? I mean, that's wrong.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS), Raees Khan (RK) and Nikhil Anand (NA) discuss media ethics.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and (?) discuss the media's manipulation of information, and criticise America's liberal beliefs, particularly with regard to the freedom of speech and its effects on political policy.
(?): And another thing about America's liberal belief in freedom of speech and expression - when Al-Jazeera came out, it put forth some views about Taliban, or Osama, or what's happening in Afghanistan - they wanted it banned. They want (?) government to stop Al-Jazeera doing it. What happened to your belief of freedom of expression?
SS: And when something about Israel, they started writing about Israel, the Arabs got unhappy.
(?): However, Al-Jazeera has always had an anti-Arab image.
SS: It' been anti-Arab.
(?): It has been liberal. And today America says that, "why is Al-Jazeera filming them?" Where is your policy?
SS: Till date, it's always been perceived as Israel. The Arabs have boycotted it. Suddenly, when they started showing Al-Qaeda, they showed Osama Bin Laden's clip, immediately they... (I) don't know why they did not say that even they (Al-Jazeera) are Al-Qaeda.
NA: Till date, they haven't said it.
SS: No, but...
(?): No, but why are you stopping an expression? You (America) always say there should be freedom of expression.
SS: There has been no action against who showed a clip dated ten years ago, because that is his beloved - it's dear to him, understand. And they won't even do it. He has spread hatred everywhere. He has spread hatred all around the world. We never believed it. We never watched BBC or CNN. Don't know when those ill people will mix the age-old photos with other stuff to create a different story. No, it's very clear.
(?): You trust them, you know, reporting or media is based on trust, belief. You stop believing them.
SS: You were talking about India. Even here, news, how will it be presented on Zee TV, CNN... That if the news is on Star TV, how will it be presented? How will it be presented on Aaj-Tak
1: And on Doordarshan.
SS: People have an idea. Even on how it will be presented on Doordrshan. People have an idea that they will present the news in this manner, the other will present the news in other manner, and they will present it in such way.
(?): It's very serious.
SS: Which is the one channel that shows so-and-so politician again and again. And in that, only such-and-such issues are highlighted. And when done, they are tweaked with. Everybody is being managed.
(?): The bias is very deep-rooted. That shows.
SS: Everybody is being managed, everybody is getting managed. Nobody is trustworthy, no news is trustworthy, nothing is trustworthy. But still there are a few good people.
(?): It all trickles down. Now you'll tell me, the highest authority of United States promotes officially. Certain policies that's going to trickle down and (are) going to have an impact.
(?): Muddar bhai,
(?): What happens Shaha bhai
, is that the highest authority officially makes certain policies which trickles down, and what United States is doing is spreading it all around the world.
Osama Bin Laden
manipulation of news
RK: You had asked about India. Here, people belonging to every religion have to adopt the same way of thinking. Everybody has to think like an Indian. If we assume that this is Hindu, and this is Muslim, that someone is from the south and someone is from the north, someone speaking Hindi, and someone speaking Kannada, this is Marathi and this is from Uttar Pradesh, then the only thing that could happen is ruckus and nothing else. As soon as peace begins to restore, all these fights begin to happen.
NA: In these days when you can't trust the press, where do normal people like...
RK: Waste filter things, you know. (The 'dirt' of the situation is being revealed.) Things are coming out, you know. You know that what to believe and what not to believe, how things are presented. Okay, if I am watching CNN, I know what bias it is.
NA: No, but some things are just not said, no? Like the e-mail by Taliban which was read out. That never reaches me. I am looking for information; I am reading five newspapers a day.
RK: That's a valid point.
SS: Even I have not gone through such things. But in this I saw that even I don't believe this. But there is a need to know what they are saying and what the others are saying, and then judge between the two that, 'yes, this is how it is,' and 'this is how that is' and 'probably this is not that.' We saw that they were beating up a woman with sticks, we decided that he is a tyrant. That woman must have had...
RK: Nikhil, the reason you are not getting the information is because there is a very organised effort in suppressing facts. This could have reached you in the normal course. There is an organised way, an organised effort to suppress this, suppress the point of view.
NA: India, not only in U.S. Even in India, this may be happening. Because some of our media, till now, there has been no liberalisation.
1: Maybe that woman had committed a crime and she was being punished behind the veil. Why is this not being assumed? They showed that woman was in purdah
and is being beaten. Maybe the woman had sinned or oppressed others and that why she was being punished in veil. Why not think of that?
RK: No, they just want to show that this is being done, there is a tyranny there. You have journalists coming out of Taliban's custody saying that "they (the Taliban) are normal, they are very good, they have treated us (with the) best treatment."
Raees Khan (RK), Nikhil Anand (NA), and Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) discuss thesupression and manipulation of facts by the media.
MB: Tell them, that the purdah
(veil) does not mean oppressing women. Purdah
(veil) is for her (?) protection, by Islam. Tell me, you'll think that because of the purdah
(veil), she can't get education? Islam has given women permission to get as much education as possible; there are no barriers in it. Islam doesn't stop her from being a doctor, Islam hasn't even stopped her from being an engineer. But the purdah
(veil) is provided to her in order to safeguard her (?). First it starts with the eye, then afterwards the all wrong doings happen. Just to safeguard her, Islam has provided for the purdah
(veil), so that mistakes that may happen could be prevented. Islam hasn't stop education.
SS: It ends a negative thought from very far off, cuts it off midway. Even this is there, that if there is no man in the house, ladies are alone inside, then they don't speak very softly, they speak rudely, like, "no one's here," so that men don't think of further communication. It means evil has been cut off from the very start by Islam.
RK: As I said you know, you can't look at it in isolation.
SS: As I told you before, you tell me, doesn't this sound right? Around the world, the law always thinks how to sympathise with the one who commits crime. But Islam thinks of how to address sympathy with the person who is the victim. The law, all around the world, stands by the tyrant; but Islam stands by the victim. Isn't there a difference? What's the reason that in all these - America, Britain and countries around the world, even in India - where there are so many strict laws, even after fighting court-cases for years, there is no peace, as compared (to places where Islam is practised.)
MD: Secondly, take America, Europe - there look - they have so many rape cases. And look at how many rape cases are there in Saudi; there are strict punishments. Just that, after one incident of rape, nobody dares to do it again. In Islam...
SS: If one person is convicted and made an example out of, people witnessing this (conviction), will never think of being associated with such acts for the next ten years. And how safe the ladies will feel. Rightly, "so much was done with us, next time no one would even dare to make an eye contact."
Muddar Bhai (MB), Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and Raees Khan (RK) discuss the importance of the purdah
(veil) in terms of Islam.
(?), Shaina Anand (SA), Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and Muddar Bhai (MB) discuss religion, and the partition of India and Pakistan.
(?): The very basics of the whole discussion is that my religion is not open for comments. My religion is a religion, it's a belief, a set of principles and we are followers of that. My religion does not preach non-violence or anything, but it's not open for comments. See, I'll never go and question a Christian - "why you are Christian? What is your belief?" Today my religion is being questioned because it is the fastest growing religion in the world.
SS: Arre yaar
SA: No, but when a religion is not open for comments... No, see, I am a Hindu, and it is impossible for me to say that.
MB: Can you please speak in Hindi?
(The footage gets cut)
SS: They separated and took away Pakistan from us. Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
MB: They didn't take it away. The people who gave India, who put Pakistan in the hands of Muslim League. It' not like this. In the year 1946, Jawaharlal Nehru, Maulana Azad, when was a (?) of congress. In 1945, he made a pact with the Muslim League wherein it stated that 'Parliament which will be built, will comprise of half Hindus, forty-forty and remaining twenty percent will be formed by other communities of India like Sikhs and Christians and Dalits and so on, will be twenty and they will be forty-forty (Hindus and Muslims).' If it is an issue of the Muslim religion, the Muslims will decide on it and if it is an issue of the Hindu religion, the Hindus will decide on it. When Jawaharlal Nehru came the (?) of congress, he said, that "(?) had happened, we will finish it whenever we feel like it." That time, the Muslim League said, (?) Jinnah said, that "we can't live with you." Pakistan, was given away by Jawaharlal.
SS : No, Jawaharlal gave it away is a different story. But I wanted to show that fundamentalists, who you consider as...
MB : It's not a story. In 'India wins freedom,' Maulana Abul, has written this incident.
SS : Even after this incident happened - the issue of liberals and fundamentalists - the liberals took away Pakistan, and the fundamentalists remained with this nation. But then still you attach the same definition with them. The first call for freedom was made by Muslim Ulema, they declared jihad
(struggle) against the British. Before that, no movement from no other religion took place. The first to give a call were the Muslim Ulema.
India wins freedom
Mohammed Ali Jinnah
1: In the year 1857...
MB: I tell you, the second thing...
NA: The question is that religion, religious people are fundamentalists. But if it is...
MB: No, we do not believe in this.
SS: No, I have already said that.
MB: No, I will tell you - he who will, to what extent be religious, will also be to the same extent loyal (?), whether he is a Hindu or whether he is a Muslim.
SS: It's been said.
MB: What religion is never teaches of such things like - fight among each other. Whether it is a rabid Hindu or rabid Muslim, they will be (?) to each other, propagate brotherhood, but won't be enemies of each other. Man, today if he starts acting according to his religion, every disease (evil) within the nation will be cured.
RK: So what I said, I don't like your (?) and my religion is not open for comments, is out of a hurt feeling as to what is been propagated about it, A. B, if you want to understand Islam, you need an unbiased mind. Tell me, how many have (that)? I am coming to your basics. I am coming to the basics of it.
SS: Yeah, what this is - a person should come with an open mind to understand a religion. If I want to know about the Hindu religion, then it is very good. And if I want to find out the negatives in in it, I will only get negatives. Understand?
RK: I need an unbiased mind to explain and the present environment...
SS: Will realise that the negatives are not there. But in my thinking... First, I need to open up my mind and then...
MB: (?), the congress party was asking for home rule. In 1936, at very beginning, Jamaitul Ulema... (The footage cuts)
Muddar Bhai (MB), Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and Raees Khan (RK) discuss religion and religious fundamentalists.
SS: Whatever has happened in (?), how peacefully and with every caution, with taking care of Indian companies; with how, in a non-violent way, and how for humanity, we excluded education and medical things out of this movement and started it. And in this, if it profits, will go to the Indian companies. But the losses will be faced only by the American companies. And this will only profit our country, (this) is what we see. Even after this, and that to on whom, those civilians being killed in Afghanistan, children being killed, women being killed, elderly people being killed - the count is reaching in thousands and thousands, of people losing their lives, of civilians. Tens of thousands, fifteen-fifteen thousand, twenty-twenty thousand people. Somebody lost their hand, some body lost their leg, some handicapped for life. Over ten lakhss of people willing to leave their country, have left. If somebody feels their pain, they say (it is) just because we are sharing the religion. Their and our religion is one and the same, hence, it is communal. You must have heard a lot. I am saying this with a lot of hurt. Maybe my brothers here won't like it. In America, a Sikh man was killed due to mistaken identity; we do feel the pain for it. But a Sikh got killed, the whole government stood up against it; it was a topic of conversation throughout the country. When a person can get killed due to mistaken identity, imagine how many would have had got killed due to their identity. Not even one was heard of. There is no question of condemning it.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) discusses his protest (which is further referred to in this video
), its lack of communalism, and the various cases of mistaken-identity killings in America, post 9/11.
post 11th September
SS: The Indian government said that "it would not be okay if civilians got killed in Afghanistan." But we haven't heard of a statement from them in which they directly say that, "no, what is happening is wrong." Even other political parties were saying that. They should have said that, "Dear Mr. Bush, we are with you to check the terrorism. But this, what you are doing, killing civilians is hurting us. And we want to voice our opinions against it to you." No? This is like who takes away the stakes - how Pakistan would go ahead, how India would go ahead, how would I go ahead, how you would go ahead - understand? He gave that base. I should give a base bigger than that base. No one is concerned what will this result in, and in future how will this impact everyone. People are just busy in building their tactics.
(?): And let's see what's being overlooked, okay? I as Muslim... Islam as a religion is not the only grieved here. America is ruining the world order, okay? International bodies are being overlooked. There is no significance to the United Nations. I say tomorrow even Sri Lanka would like to, or India would like to resort to violence or military solutions for its issues with other countries, okay? America, what is it doing? The supremacy of a super power, the establishment of the supremacy, of the super power is so important, that the world order is being, you know, brought to zero.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and Raees Khan (RK) discuss the stand of Indian government on the war, the power play of the American government.
RK: It's a shame.
NA: No, because war is also terrorism, na? Even in war, in fighting their war, they are inflicting terrorism on another (?).
RK: That's what I am saying.
NA: Outside the UN.
RK: And how many targets - they have to come out with this - that how many military targets they have hit.
MS: They need to show. Till now, they haven't shown anything.
SS: During the World war, America was very happy that, "our equipment is being sold. If the world is dying, let it die." But when upon them the bomb dropped, then they realised "oh ho ho, what is this (that has) happened?" And they just went and dropped the bombs.
SA: Yesterday, Vajpayee asked, "we will buy arms from you" to America.
RK: Each one is trying to drag, you know, benefits out of America. Each one. Why did you lift sanctions on India? Nuclear is no issue today. Why, I am asking, nuclear is such a evil? You said we will never allow America in India to be a nuclear power. Why, on the issue of Afghanistan, you have lifted the sanctions just suddenly? No issues, no issue. I (?), it is just that you have to be with us. Once you are with us, you be a terrorist, you are ours. So, why? Why suddenly you have removed sanctions? It is the most insane administration that is there in America, and I feel they are behaving like terrorists. The seven people in the security council of United States are dictators in themselves.
Raees Khan (RK), Nikhil Anand (NA), Maulana Saab (MS), Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) and Shaina Anand (SA) criticise the American government and its administration.
MS: That is dictatorship. That when we feel (?), and when we feel it's over...
SS: Either you are with us, or you are (a) terrorist.
(?): Where are the policies?
SS: Whoever supports them - even if Afghanistan would have supported them - they wouldn't have been terrorist. And if England didn't support them, they would have become the terrorists. That's the truth.
MB: No, it is there. Pakistan sends people here in Kashmir to create troubles. But America doesn't believe that they are terrorists.
SS: They are their friends.
(?): They are friends.
MB: What bigger proof you need? Our government got tired of saying that Lashkar-e-Toiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed and so on should banned. Nothing is happening. Nothing is happening at all.
SS: Israel have crossed the limits of tyranny over there. Nothing is happening against them.
(?): We will try to make those terrorists understand. And these don't even know whether they are terrorists or not.
SS: And it's another thing - that nobody should have nuclear power, correct. So, such big-big nations, I say - this example may not be of much good. But I am talking about myself, the movement which we have started over here. We closed it at our shops - American products, British products. We said it's a good thing, we did understand and felt the pain of humanity. Even asking you, you also stop it. If he stopped, he spoke about it to other two people. And if they stopped, they spoke about it to other two people. This movement has spread in such way. And people do get convinced. And America says, we won't stop it, you stop it.
(?): Because we are super power.
SS: There are limits to being notorious. If you have already destroyed, and India doesn't, you say...
(?): There is a small issue.
SS: Why? You may have the bomb, but we can't have bomb. Tell?
(?): There is a small issue.
SS: You are endangered, eh?
NA: Thousands of bombs.
SS: You are endangered. Aren't we endangered? You are such a big power, you're safety is necessary. Isn't our safety also necessary? Do humans live over on your side? And here on our side, do animals live? They think in this way only. Two soldiers were killed in Afghanistan. If you see it on TV, it's like George Bush will just start crying. After killing so many children, didn't they have the same feeling?
Maulana Saab (MS), Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS), Muddar Bhai (MB) and (?) further criticise the American government and its administration.
(?) and Maulana Saab (MS) discuss the refugee situation.
(?): Shahab bhai
, for non-Americans what they feel, I 'll tell you. I will be quoting an international newspaper which is from America. There have been certain people who have died in WTC who do not have proper legal documents. The term used for them in official document is 'illegal aliens.' They are not treated as humans. One American dies; so the whole America is shaken, you know, like something is happened. Whether, I don't know if whatever happens in Afghanistan is irrelevant. And today also, I am screaming. Yes Shahab bhai
, everybody is talking of people dying in Afghanistan. Now, refugees who are dying at the borders, even for them, we need to talk. You know half of the population of Afghanistan has shifted towards the borders?
MS: Over there, people are dying of hunger, small children.
(?): You open televisions and those stories - you see the headlines, see the other features, see other documentaries, see good reporters reporting in BBC - that people are dying because of medical aid, because of disputes with Pakistan. Pakistan is not accepting what it is. Pakistan is not accepting aid in kind. Why would Pakistan want aid in cash?
RK: Pakistan is not doing sufficient for those.
SS: Two days back, they were filming a child at the border. His condition was so bad that after filming, he went, and within two hours he died. Nobody offered him support. Humanity has not even touched them.
(?): International refugee standards are for Europe.
SS: And this whole thing of dropping food, that they are dropping food.
SA: Food packets.
SS: This, there is nothing as bigger than this gimmick.
NA: It's only for the TV.
SS: It's just a mockery.
RK: American war is not...
SS: It is that. I tell you, the amount they spend as cost on one truck - in the same cost they can get hundred tucks; more than hundred trucks can come in the cost of one truck. But they want to get publicity. The motive is to get publicity.
RK: War in Afghanistan...
SS: And one more accusation on Taliban is that (?). God only knows how much truth is in it. You tell me, how much cost will increase. Add up the cost incurred and see how much is it increasing.
RK: War in Afghanistan is not on America's (?).
SS: No. Can't they open up the borders and let the civilians in? Till now nobody knows what relief have they provided to the refugees over there. Does any body know? The only publicity that is made is of dropping of the food. One of them was mocking it on American TV, saying that they (refugees) are looking up and waiting for it to fall, waiting for the food to fall, and suddenly realised that bomb has fallen down. Even friends will (?) enemies.
1: They have the same colour.
SS: Because the food they give, they will give it to civilians. And they are even bombings civilians and no one else. They have not been able to go even near the target till now, if you ask me. You tell me, they are bombing the Northern Alliance region.
RK: What's the logic in that?
SS: Who was there? Was Al-Qaeda there? Was Osama Bin Laden over there? Was Mullah Omar there? Or was Taliban over there? Who was there? And we are being very cautious and we are hitting on the target, and nothing can happen to other people. Caution is being taken. By bombing the region of Northern Alliance, you have given a proof that you are notorious people having nothing to do with humanity. And all this killings are happening because of the aggression, frustration and with the feeling of revenge.
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS), Nikhil Anand (NA), and Raees Khan (RK) further discuss the refugee situation, and the bombings in Afghanistan.
Osama Bin Laden
Shahabudin Shaikh (SS) and Raees Khan (RK) discuss why America needs to make an effort to decrease the discontent against them, and America's discrimination against India with reference to Pakistan.
(?): And it's not going to lead anywhere. The basic of that is this war will not lead us anywhere.
SS: I had said it very clearly on the TV, that due to this, people are against America. Since past few days - and with its policies which for them are different and for India, Pakistan and for other countries are different - understand? We will continue to be nuclear power, but you can't be? To impose such sanctions on others, doing this and doing that. And their policies have worked in other countries, even from Japan to Vietnam, Palestine and Sudan and that Iraq, and everywhere. Due to this, people's anger, irritation have blown to the point of hatred. They seriously have to think that if this hatred increases, what will happen. And this same hatred, when it increases, gives birth to terrorism. And if they (?) make an effort to decrease the hatred against them, to finish the irritation against them, to decrease our discontent with them, then just see. What's the issue? Do we dislike Americans? Do we dislike Americans? Even we don't dislike Pakistanis. Just let them call us as brothers.
RK: And Nikhil, as an Indian, I have always felt discriminated, you know. As far as Pakistan is concerned, America has always discriminated (against) India. Today also, you know certain organisation will be banned and certain will not because they are operating from Pakistan. What is it? You're doing a business. And what Afghanistan is doing in (?), America is doing in Afghanistan, is something like you know - as if America is in business even with... They are in the business of putting governments. You know, they are not in the business of making governments - imposing governments - everywhere they try to impose governments. They have done in Caribbean, they have done it everywhere. In Gulf they tried to impose governments and here also they are doing what? They are in the business of making governments.
SS: A request, you had told me that anti-terrorism day is going to be celebrated; anti-terrorist day had been celebrated in India. I had seen an ad on that day which was issued by the Indian government. And, they carried some pictures for it - one was of the aeroplane that was hijacked in Kandahar, second was of Kargil, third was of Mumbai bomb blasts - understand? - and there were a few more pictures which I don't remember. But, there was no picture of what had happened in Ayodhya on it, there was no picture of the atrocities that were committed on Sikhs, there were no pictures of the riots that happened here. Which means even terrorism is being defined by whether this will go to Hindus, whether this will go to Muslims, whether this will go towards Pakistan or whether this will go towards India. This way it is being filtered and shown. You tell me, the bomb blasts that had happened here was the reaction for the riots; the riots that happened here were also the reaction for what had happened on Babri Masjid. They have not shown the Babri Masjid incident as terrorism anywhere. Even the riots that had happened here were not shown as terrorism. They showed bomb blast as terrorism. Why? Because the names, that are coming up in the investigations are of Muslims. Are you getting it? Kargil, because we want to comment against Pakistan, and Pakistan wants to comment against us - that's why Kargil was included. There is no sincerity in this. If our own government is not sincere, why does it keep expectations?
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS) discusses how the Indian government is discriminating against religions, using the excuse of terrorism.
SS: And now the issue which they raised, that for them the most important issue as of now, serious issue is religious.
MB: Religious (?). What they said in Russia today...
SS: Religious (?) which means...
MS: Religious terrorism.
SS: And, you tell me, it's because of this religious terrorism that they have been able to hold onto their chairs. It means (that) what they mean by religious (?) or religious terrorism is Muslims, minorities.
RK: Are there no (?) fundamentalists? Or are there no Jewish fundamentalist? There are fundamentalists in all religion.
SS: Listen, that Mohammed Ali Kile went there, at World Trade Centre, to see the site. Somebody asked him - how you feel, sharing your religion with these terrorists?
Shahabuddin Shaikh (SS), Muddar Bhai (MB), Maulana Saab (MS) and Raess Khan (RK) discuss religious terrorism.
This conversation is carried on in http://pad.ma/JV
, which depicts a candid conversation between the speakers and some members of the Mumbai Shantata Samiti, a Mohalla level Peace Committee operating in the Muslim-dominated area around Mohamammed Ali Road, Dongri, in the office of ICHRL (India Centre for Human Rights and Law.)
World Trade Centre