Dhoka… The Moderate Muslim Voice


By Mahesh Bhatt, Source: IndiaFM

On the 12th of July 2007, after two days of intense fighting, which left 73 extremists and 9 soldiers killed, silence finally descended over Laal Masjid in Islamabad, Pakistan. From this deadly silence emanated one clear voice –the voice of moderate Islam which urged the people of Pakistan to stand apart from radical elements which have distorted and hijacked the spirit of Islam to soothe their perverse interests. When hours later, a somber looking General Pervez Musharraf appeared on PTV (Pakistan Television) and begged the nation to speak out loud and clear and oppose through action the growing radicalization of youngsters in the name of Islam, it became clear that the leader of the so called terrorist state was obviously disassociating himself from those who advocate and perpetrate violence under the name of their faith.

Ever since the Indian link to the recent U.K. terror plot has been uncovered, Muslims here in India more than ever before are beginning to realize the need to prop up the moderate profile of its community. It is this very fact which leads me to realize that our film Dhoka does just that.

Dhoka is a tale of a moderate Indian Muslim cop, who wakes up and to his horror, discovers that his wife, who had recently been killed in a bomb blast, was now being accused of being a perpetrator as opposed to a victim of that very crime. This film gives a voice to the grievances of the Indian Muslim, who has been feeling repressed and marginalized for the last 60 years. Our film emphasizes the importance of the victim getting a platform to discuss and debate the burning issues within him, instead of retreating into a ghetto of the mind and the heart and allowing his bitterness to fester continuously. Only when the wound is left open to the elements can it heal. A society which does not allow the pent up angers and frustrations of its people to be expressed through its performing arts takes the great risk of being devoured by this unexpressed rage.

In the 60th year of Indian independence, Dhoka dares to take the first step towards achieving this end. The war of terrorism cannot be won by governments that have no support from their people. It is crucial that its people support it in this war against the faceless enemy which sadly enough could be one their own. The real Jihad, as a devout Muslim friend of mine said, is the Jihad that is fought with ones self.