Here I am sitting watching ‘Akantvadi Goent Naka’ for the second-time at Ravindra Bhavan, Margao in show of support to Tousif Sheikh amidst brewing controversy over an article written by ‘The Watchman’ titled ‘Tiatr Tousif directed by Vijai’ on GoaChronicle.com – a news portal that is a part of the Kaydence Media Ventures portfolio. Though KMV manages GoaChronicle.com, we under no circumstances control nor enforce our views on editorial.
If at all I have to voice an opinion, I write it. But having said that I know that the GC Team has neither agreed or disagreed with a columnist. Every columnist has a right to voice his opinion on GC. If someone has an objection, I am sure they write to the Editor or to the management and we will raise the issue with the columnist.
So here is my opinion on the Tiatr ‘Akantvadi Goent Naka’ and my personal opinion on the events that led to the showcasing of the Tiatr on August 9, 2014 – incidentally it was ‘Kranti Day’ – a fact I raised on that day itself on stage.
The spirit and soul of the Tiatr is in the right place. Tousif set out to highlight an issue, he has been greatly disturb by and like him, many Goans too were disturb and still continue to have apprehension about Ram Sene in Goa; this fear exists even though Goa’s Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has time and again stated that Ram Sene will not be given entry into Goa.
I too as a Goan share the same fear and have even openly stated that ‘I would go to Muthalik’s house and slap him if any harm comes to Tousif or any Goan’.
There is only one element in article of the columnist that I am completely in agreement on. That is Tousif got his strength to showcase the Tiatr after withdrawing suddenly, from the people of Goa, led by Kennedy Afonso of the Goa for Goans forum. Tousif made Goa proud because the people of Goa supported him. If not Tousif would have failed and the people of Goa would have been damned.
Of all the bits in the article, the one I completely disagree with; was about the threats being mere claims with no evidence. Since I took some of the calls; let me tell you the threats were real and it did happen because of the Sanathan Prabhat article. That’s why we filed a complaint against Sanathan Prabhat.
Coming back to the Tiatr and its contents itself. I am still trying to find the objectionable aspects in the Tiatr that would hurt Hindu sentiments. The Tiatr showcases a united bunch of friends from different communities living harmoniously in Goa. Then enters a villian, someone called ‘Guruji’ who tries to enforce the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ doctrine and incidents of discord follow after that, leading to a climax where two young lovers are at crossroads over this communal discord – a Christian boy and a Hindu girl.
You might argue that Tousif is a Muslim and should not try to highlight wrong of the Hindu community, when there are numerous allegations against Muslim fundamentalists and their links to terrorism. But seriously to think Tousif has done this because he is a Muslim, is the most foolish assumption or premise I have ever heard. Tousif is a Muslim, married to a Christian girl and shares a great camaraderie with most Hindu friends, some of whom I have met.
Tousif through my numerous interactions since he conceptualised the Tiatr, has always been firm on his resolve to spread the message of unity. And let’s face it, the only fundamentalist making noise in Goa and issuing threats were Ram Sene; so obviously he has taken up a topic of concern that mattered the most at the moment. Most ‘Tiatr’ have always been about the issues of the moment. Why should this have been any different?. I am sure that if a Muslim fundamental organisation like Popular Front of India (PFI) starts issuing threats in Goa; he would or someone else would have done a Tiatr on it.
We can sit and do a lot of arm chair speculations on ‘what’ and ‘why’. And even then everyone is entitled to their opinions. But in all this let’s not forget this – Tousif’s victory is Goa’s victory and that’s what we should celebrate.
Tousif keep moving forward. People of Goa are with you.