Khuda Khay Liye (In the name of God): Not a plea, not a defense but a statement.By Dilshan Boange
Film festivals hosted by diplomatic missions in Sri Lanka generally evoke a buzz every yearamongst filmgoers who have a taste for cultural diversity. The first ever Pakistan film festivalhosted by the Pakistan High Commission in Colombo opened in grand ceremonial style onFriday the 4
of November at the auditorium of the National Film Corporation marking anotherstride in creating cultural dialogue between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. One of the notables of thisevent which was graced by a cross-section of high profile figures was also that it was a platformfor the government of Pakistan to send out a salutary message to the people of Sri Lanka.The notion of fanaticism and fundamentalism being more or less inherent to Muslims or thefollowers of Islam has been growing amongst people throughout the world in the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the USA on September 11
2001. And made part and parcel of this
viewpoint is the word ‘Jihad’ or ‘holy war’ which seems to be a word utilized by fundamentalists
and proponents of extremism in the Islamic world and also doubly serves the cause of those whopresent a moral right to confront the Islamic world under the banner of protecting their national
interests and justifying ‘preemptive attacks’.
In this regard I wish to draw attention to the wordsof Her Excellency Seema Ilahi Baloch the High Commissioner of Pakistan in Sri Lanka, who inthe opening address pointed out how the word
is meant to speak of the ‘war within us’
thehuman soul, and speaks of the need for the triumph of good over evil. It is very much a facet of interiority that comes into focus if one therefore approaches the concept of Jihad.The film itself was something very much off the beaten track and brought out aspects of life inthe aftermath of the 9/11 attacks which actually were fitted into the larger contexts of two verypotent themes relating to contemporary South Asian people. Firstly the all too well known
crisis was brought out through the character of the Pakistani father Hassanwho is domiciled in UK having migrated as a young man and at a crossroads with a nubiledaughter who is every bit a Brit in her outlooks and wants to marry her sweetheart Dave, aBriton. Secondly the dilemma brought onto Muslims around the world in being brandedextremists and fundamentalists
and therefore termed ‘terrorists’.
The communal impact (caused by fellow Pakistanis in UK) opposing marriages between aMuslim woman and a non-Muslim man becomes the trigger that makes Hassan impose his
paternal will on his daughter which interestingly takes on a very ‘by way of
modusoperandi. He takes her to his home country on the pretense of taking her to visit her cousins and