Narendra Dabholkar's footprints would only deepen; proud to have lived in same era as him: Naseeruddin Shah
Speaking after inaugurating 'We Are On Trial', an art exhibition on the slain rationalist, he said one needs the same conviction to fight superstition, which those who hold on to superstitions possess
Dr Narendra Dabholkar's work can not be wiped out and his "footprints would only deepen", veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah said in Mumbai on Friday.
Speaking after inaugurating 'We Are On Trial', an art exhibition on the slain rationalist, he also said one needs the same conviction to fight superstition, which those who hold on to superstitions possess.
The exhibition, which features some 30 installations made by students of the J J School of Art, has been put together by 'Friends of Dabholkar', a group of activists.
"Dr Dabholkar was among those great men whose footprints would deepen further instead of getting wiped out," Shah said.
"I am proud that I lived in the same era when people like Dr Dabholkar were a source of inspiration...not just him but Pansare, Kalburgi, Gauri Lankesh and those countless activists, teachers, and intellectuals who are languishing in jail and we don't know how long they will be in jail and whose crime was to speak the truth," he said.
The murders of Kannada writer M M Kalburgi, communist leader Govind Pansare and journalist Gauri Lankesh followed Dabholkar's murder in Pune on August 20, 2013. As per the probe agencies, the four murders were committed by the same group.
Shah also said that such murders have taken place in Pakistan too, mentioning the violent deaths of politician Salman Taseer and rights activist Sabeen Mehmood.
"In Iran, thousands of girls have put their lives at stake while carrying on an agitation against the Hijab law. We consider ourselves lucky that we lived in this time," Shah said.
The actor conceded that he was not much aware of Dabholkar's work when he was alive. After learning about him after his murder, "I was astonished that here was a man who put his convictions before his life", he said.
The actor also mentioned the "Maulavi" of his childhood who used to teach them "nonsense" like earth does not revolve around the sun. To fight superstition, we need the same conviction as these people who preach irrational ideas, Shah said.
The actor also narrated a parable by renowned Hindi writer Harishankar Parsai, a sarcastic take on the nature of politics in electoral democracy.
Earlier, reminiscing about her late husband, Dr Shaila Dabholkar said his motto was "to fight is to win" and "action" was important. This attitude helped her when she got involved in work related to de-addiction and mental health, she said.
Asked about the several threats that Dabholkar received during his lifetime, she said he never thought about fear of death.
Lawyer Abhav Nevagi, who is representing the Dabholkar family in the cases related to his murder, said the legal battle has witnessed many a turn and twist.
At one point, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the court that the bullets which formed evidence would be sent to Scotland Yard for expert opinion, but later the central agency told the court that there is no agreement between the Indian government and the UK authorities to enable such sharing of evidence. In the process, 10 months were wasted, he said.
The CBI has arrested five persons in the Dabholkar murder case, two of whom are out on bail. The trial in the case is going on before a court in Pune.