Mangaluru, Aug 20, 2015: Television journalist Irshad Uppinangady’s documentary ’Swargada Haadiyalli Kamarutiruva Kanasugalu’ (Dreams Crushed On The Path To Heaven) was screened at the Information and Publicity office in Mangaluru on Wednesday, August 19. The documentary explores why Muslim girls in South Karnataka are not allowed to dance on stage and school functions, because religious leaders forbid it.
Uppinangady’s documentary talks about the fatwa imposed by Muslim clerics on Muslim schoolgirls, as young as five and six, forbidding them from dancing.
Dozens of little girls interviewed in the film, however, say they want to dance at school events but are afraid of their Quran teachers and mullahs. Many parents too say they are helpless because they are scared they will be excommunicated if they let their little daughters go on stage.
"The attainment of heaven in the afterlife is a resident obsession of the Muslim community. And these clerics behave like they are heaven’s gatekeepers. They are constantly scaring people by saying things like ’if you do this you will go to hell’ or ’if you do that you will go to heaven’. This is what inspired the film’s title."
He thinks his film has made Muslim fundamentalists uncomfortable because it features voices that dare to speak out against the clerics.He has been trolled on social media and threatened by hardline activists.
"They are angry because my film establishes that they are trying to threaten ordinary Muslims into submission," he says.
In January 2014, he was targeted by Hindutva trolls when he did a story critical of a ban on the hijab imposed by a nursing college in Mangalore. He was attacked by Muslims when he published a story critical of a fatwa issued by mullahs in north Kerala and coastal Karnataka banning the practice of bursting crackers and singing during Muslim weddings.
"The same people praised me when I took positions against the violence and moral policing of the Hindu right. But I quickly became unpopular when I did stories that were critical of Islamist groups that were trying to enforce the burkha," said Irshad.
Sara Abubakkar, veteran writer, Khader Sha, District Information officer, Renny D’Souza, Dinesh Ullepady and others were present at the screening.