Only Anna can save the Superman
Shafique Shaikh Quereshi, 23 yr old, fought against Gutka/Pan Masala as a Superman in his movie “Malegaon Ka Superman”. This low-budget anti-tobacco movie was screened at IFFI in Goa in December 2010. It has won awards at film festivals in Los Angeles, Prague, Italy and Pakistan. Unfortunately, Shafique developed advanced mouth cancer because of his habit of chewing Gutka. Despite best treatment, the disease came back and now he is terminally ill. He may not be alive to see the premier of his movie 1 week later. When called on phone to enquire about his health, Shafique could not speak and call was answered by family friend Naseer Shaikh. Shafique Shaikh. Naseer told that Shafique is glued to the TV in between the bouts of semi-consciousness. He has constantly watching Anna Hazare’s coverage for last 10 days and fully supports it. He had been constantly telling people around him to urge Anna to end this tobacco menace. He believes that only Anna can end sale of deadly tobacco in India. “Shafique is always worried that his 3 year old and 2 year old kids should not fall prey to this killer habit because it is still sold in his village. His wife Jameela, who is just 17, has promised that she will keep their kids away from picking tobacco habits” told Naseer on phone. Clips of the movie can be seen on – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uN3tLLdZHo & http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=goQp6qVjdn8
Roshan Wankhede, 17 years boy from Amravati underwent 10 hours long surgery to remove his jaw and perform a complicated plastic surgery. Roshan got his cancer after 4 years of Gutka chewing habit that he assumed was a mouth freshener. Incarcerated on his hospital bed, he is watching Anna take on the corruption. He too has hopes that only Anna can end this menace which is yet another form of corruption.
Amit Balyan, 28 years youth is undergoing Radiotherapy at AIIMS following surgery that involved removal of half of his jaw. Amit got his cancer after 4 years of Gutka chewing habit that he assumed was a mouth freshener. Devendra Singh, Vice Principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, Noida got throat cancer due to Gutka that required removal of his voice box. Devendra Singh spent 2 days in Ramlila Maidan to support the movement. Amit and Devendra are supporting Anna……they have hopes that only Anna can end this menace which is yet another form of corruption.
“While millions are dying due to tobacco related cancers, government is only interested in collecting revenue from this sale of death and disaster. Tobacco is the single most preventable cause of death amongst youth yet being sold freely near schools and colleges. Despite a law that clearly bans sale to minors and close to educational institutions, government machinary has turned a blind eye to it and only interested in “hafta”
“Tobacco industry is surviving because of the political patronage. Parties receive crores of rupees as donations from them. Several government institutions invest thousands of crores in tobacco companies. The gutka, pan masala industry is well known for tax evasion worth several thousand crore but remain scot free. Rather than discouraging tobacco industry, GOI conferred highest civilian award to the Chairman of a leading cigarette company in year 2011. Several senior MPs are on the payroll of Tobacco companies as lawyers.
The GOM that are supposed to find solution to the tobacco menace are actually supporters of the industry. One of the MPs of GOM actually own a 800 crore Bidi Industry! Powerful tobacco lobby always manipulates the law to suit them and it is not surprising that we have weak pictorial warning.
We urge you, to fight this battle against corruption on our behalf. We urge you, to fight this battle against merchants of death. We urge you, to fight this battle for a healthier India. We urge you, to take up the issue to the corridors of power. You’re our lone savior….. You alone can save ‘Superman’
Naseer Shaikh – Friend of Shafique Quereshi