Naseeruddin Shah again sparked CAA controversy in his Interview

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Highlights

  • Naseeruddin Shah has again sparked a controversy by calling Anupam Kher a sycophant.
  • He backed Deepika Padukone for her visit to Jawaharlal Nehru University.
  • The actor has gotten himself mired into umpteen number of controversies before.

In an interview with a leading news portal, actor Naseeruddin Shah expressed his views on various subjects like the CAA protests, the rise of communalism and reason behind the silence of the famous personalities of the Indian cinema.

Shah’s family has served the nation by holding various posts in the armed forces. He never in his life felt insecure due to his religion. Now, points out, he reminds him of that identity.

Let’s have a look at the complete transcript of the Naseeruddin Shah interview.

Sidharth Bhatia: We’re joined today by Naseeruddin Shah, theatre actor, director, producer who has been in these industries for over 45 years. Shah is just not a creative person but also a very engaged citizen, who on occasion has expressed his opinions. Naseer, thank you for coming and giving us this interview.

There is a lot of ferment in the country at the moment, you’re seeing protests from citizens who are against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act and the National Register of Citizens, you’re seeing women coming out on the streets and sitting for days on end in Shaheen Bagh, and now you have students who’ve come out to say that they will not let their educational institution be subverted by the government’s policies and actions.

Read the details on CAA>> Here

In spite of widespread violence in the country,  people have continued the protests.

Naseeruddin Shah: Not only that they are also being accused of violence.

Sidharth Bhatia: …What do you have to say about the ongoing protests in the country?

Naseeruddin Shah: The youth has suddenly risen and suddenly realised that they’re being trampled upon. Just today I read in the newspapers, there’s a Rs 30,000 crore reduction in the education budget and we’re spending on other things like re-doing the NRC, which failed miserably, as per the ruling party, because it included several hundred thousand Hindus as well.

Sidharth Bhatia: Absolutely!

Naseeruddin Shah: This can’t be correct.’ So you go over this whole futile exercise all over again. And then of course they’ve created the escape clause of the CAA, which is that if you are non-Muslim, you can apply for citizenship and it will be granted to you.

The first flaw that one notices in the CAA is that it excludes Muslims, which is not surprising, but I just didn’t expect the Centre to be that blatant about it.

Read the details on CAA>> Here

What people haven’t noticed is the more insidious side of it: persecution only happens in Islam dominated countries Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, no mention of Myanmar no mention of Sri Lanka. ‘Muslims have 15 other countries to go to, Hindus have only India.’ You expect a refugee who is running for his life, who’s with his meagre belongings, trying to outlive the trauma of leaving everything he owned and everything he loved and trying to cross the border, you expect him to book a ticket for Jeddah? You expect him to go to the UAE or something? And it is deliberately singling out. I’m not saying this as a Muslim because I have never thought of myself as a Muslim.

What is CAA?

Read the details on CAA>> Here

Sidharth Bhatia: You were saying that you have never been told about you religion.

Naseeruddin Shah: It has never been an obstacle in any way. My brother has served in the Armed forces all his life, another one has served in a corporate, my father was in the government services, I’ve had uncles serving in the army, cousins, uncles serving in the police, others who’ve been government servants, deputy district magistrates and so on.

None of us has ever felt our being Muslim to be any obstruction, and it has not been on my mind the fact that I’m a Muslim. So I’m not saying this as a Muslim and the fact that its not only the Muslims who are protesting – of course, in Assam the protests are for a different reason, in the Hindi heartland for a different reason – but I’m not saying this as a Muslim but as a concerned citizen, and the invidious part of it that I’m talking about is to imply that persecution only takes place in Islamic countries.

What he said?

The prime minister suggesting that he knows who are behind the riots, ‘you can tell by their dress’, with a person like a union minister saying ‘Deepika Padukone stands with those who celebrate when Indian soldiers are killed’ – celebrate when Indian soldiers are killed, what is she living in a Hindi movie? And I don’t think she has a right to talk about respect for the armed forces. She herself is a person who insulted a war-veteran, an award-winning war veteran, a person who was fighting the Battle of Longewala when she was in her diapers.

Sidharth Bhatia: And the person you’re referring to would be?

Naseeruddin Shah: I’m referring to a retired lieutenant general who went on to be deputy chief of the army staff. She would not think twice before insulting a person like that. She’s talking about respect for the armed forces? Excuse me, ma’am, you have no right to talk about respect for the armed forces. And the entire vilification, which is underhand, of the Muslims and the constant connection with Pakistan, this government just seems to be obsessed with Pakistan.

Siddharth Bhatia: You’ve done such a lot of theatre, and I was reading a quote by Bertolt Brecht, “Art is not a mirror to show reality, but art is a hammer to change a soicety.” So that fervour which you’re saying should now be reflected in let’s saying  Art, in theatre and cinema.

Naseeruddin Shah: I think it definitely will. I have great faith in the next generation. I really feel that this is probably the first national trauma we’re going through.

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