Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The First Ever Holocaust Films Retrospective in South Asia המצגת הראשונה של סרטי שואה בדרום הודו

Open Space organised THE FIRST EVER HOLOCAUST FILMS RETROSPECTIVE IN SOUTH ASIA, during which forty-six film screenings took place in fourteen days in three phases at five venues, two universities, offices of two non-profit organisations and the world's largest school, over a period of two months, September and October 2009. The films screened during the retrospective absolutely free of charge were seen by four thousand people. It was an event driven completely by philanthropy. All the films at the retrospective had either been lent free of charge or donated. Almost all the films screened at the retrospective had never been seen in South Asia before and large number of them had won awards. The films retrospective was accompanied by an exhibition of twenty posters, donated by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem. During the event a trilingual brochure containing the synopses of the films in English, Hindi, India's national language, and Urdu, the lingua franca of almost all South Asian Muslims, and a poem written exclusively for the event by the great Urdu poet, Anwar Nadeem, was distributed among the audiences, which consisted of noted intellectuals besides academics and students. All film screenings were followed by discussions, which were attended by celebrities like the acclaimed filmmaker, M. S. Sathyu, theatre personalities, Dr. Surya Mohan Kulshreshtha, Jugal Kishor, Salim Arif and Professor Thontadarya, Urdu litterateurs, Professor Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad, Dr. Ayesha Siddiqui and Anwar Nadeem, educationists and social activists, Professor Roop Rekha Verma, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Lucknow and Dr. Jagdish Gandhi, founder and manager of the world's largest school, the City Montessori School, religious leaders of almost all communities and a number of academics and university students. It was also perhaps the first event dedicated to the Holocaust to have been attended by Muslims in such large numbers.

While the event was in progress, the two largest circulated Urdu newspapers of Lucknow, Rashtriya Sahara and Aag, carried a story each denying the Holocaust and calling it "The Biggest Hoax of the Twentieth Century", which only goes on to testify the event's importance.

The Holocaust Films Retrospective was inaugurated by the Mayor of Lucknow, Dr. Dinesh Sharma, and during the first phase films wre screened at the Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University from 14th till 18th September, 2009. The second phase took place at the University of Lucknow from 12th till 15th October, 2009. During the third phase films were screened at the Open Space - Lucknow Office from 22nd till 26th October, while the concluding day's screenings took place at the office of the non-profit organisation, Saajhi Duniya, on 27th October, 2009.

Dr. Manoj Dixit,
Head, Department of Public Administration, University of Lucknow
Director, Dr. Shankar Dayal Sharma Institute of Democracy
Secretary, Lucknow University Alumni Foundation

Prof. A. K. Sengupta, Dean, Faculty of Arts, University of Lucknow

Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi, the Open Space Fellow in Lucknow

On Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary, 2nd October, observed across the world as the International Day of Non Violence according to a UN resolution, Open Space, in collaboration with the City Montessori School, screened Night and Fog before an audience of 3,500 people at the CMS's World Convention Centre. Mahatma Gandhi, who staunchly believed in non-violence, said that if a war could be justified, it would be war against Germany to prevent the wanton persecution of a whole race, the Jews.

13-year-old Yugratna Srivastava who addressed the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York on 22nd September 2009, talking to a journalist while seeing the Holocaust posters displayed at the venue.

A story titled, "Holocaust: The Biggest Hoax of the Twentieth Century", that the largest circulated Urdu daily newspaper in Lucknow, the Rashtriya Sahara, carried on 16th September, 2009, with particular reference to our ongoing Holocaust Films Retrospective. This article itself is a good proof of the widespread Holocaust denial among the Muslims in South Asia, who form the largest Muslim population of the world. One of the primary aims of this Holocaust Films Retrospective was to counter this Holocaust Denial. Besides a large number of Muslim students, the event was attended by well known Muslim personalities like the eminent Urdu poet Professor Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad, acclaimed Urdu writer Dr. Ayesha Siddiqui and noted theatre/TV/Film personality Salim Arif, all of whom spoke against Holocaust Denial.

Mr. B. B. Nagpal, Film Critic and Media Consultant

Mr. Jagdish Gandhi, Educationist

Mr. Jagdish Gandhi seeing an exhibition of the Holocaust posters donated by Yad Vashem, Jerusalem

Mr. Jugal Kishor, Bharatendu Natya Akademi (Bharatendu Academy of Dramatics)

Dr. Surya Mohan Kulshreshtha, Director, Bharatendu Natya Akademi (Bharatendu Academy of Dramatics)

Prof. Roop Rekha Verma, Social Activist and Former Vice Chancellor, University of Lucknow

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqui, Urdu Fiction Writer

Prof. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad, Urdu Poet

Prof. Thontadrya, Theatre Personality

Mr. Salim Arif, Theatre/Film/TV Personality

Mr. M. S. Sathyu, Filmmaker

From the left: Dr. Gopal Singh, Head, Department of Mass Communication & Journalism, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Prof. B. B. Hanumaiah, Vice Chancellor, B. B. Ambedkar University, Prof. Thontadrya, Theatre Personality and Mr. M. S. Sathyu, Filmmaker

Dr. Govind Ji Pandey, Reader, Department of Mass Communication & Journalism, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow and Coordinator of the film screenings at the university

Dr. Dinesh Sharma, the Mayor of Lucknow

Prof. B. B. Hanumaiah, Vice Chancellor, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, Lucknow

Dr. Govind Ji Pandey

OPEN SPACE - LUCKNOW is greatly indebted to a number of people and organisations (in alphabetical order):

Mr. Alessandro Matta, Italy

Mr. Anwar Nadeem, India (

Mr. Asher Tarmon, Israel (picture not available)

Prof. Deepika Marya, USA

Ms. Ellen Friedland, USA (

Mr. Eyal Boers, Theora Design, Israel

Mr. Fazl-ur-Rehman, India

Fondazione Centro di Documentazione Ebraica Conteporanea (CDEC), Onlus, Milan, Italy

Mr. Georg Gruber and Mr. Jochen Freydank, Magnet Film, Germany (

Dr. Govind Ji Pandey, Department of Mass Communication & Journalism, Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University, India

Ms. Harriet Bograd, USA (

Ms. Kamayani Sharma, India

Ms. Karen Cantor, Singing Wolf Documentaries, Inc., USA

Prof. Leah Wing, USA

Ms. Limor Pinhasov Ben Yosef, Israel
Mr. Yaron Kaftori Ben Yosef (picture not available)
Cicero Film Productions, Tel Aviv

Ms. Lina Caneva, Caneva Media Productions, Australia

Dr. Manju Sikarwar, India

Ms. Ornit Barkai, USA (

Ms. Pearl Goldberg, Ms. Andria Spindel and Dr. Stuart Kamenetsky, Congregation Darchei Noam, Toronto, Canada (picture not available)

Rabbi Marvin Tokayer, USA

Prof. Sarva-Daman Singh, Australia

Ms. Shana Weinberg, USA

1 comment:

asher said...

Much respect and esteem go towards Navras Jaat Afreedi, for his pioneering effort in creating this retrospective, bringing the truth to South Asia about the world's most infamous crime ever committed in its history. Navras' dedication and efforts in this matter, will leave their imprint on every thinking individual and will contribute to peace and deeper understanding.
Asher Tarmon (Israel)