Significance of Talika
Talikas and Farmans are not regular speeches, they are treated with the greatest respect and special ceremonies as Divine words for the Ismaili community.
[Note: Extracts of Federal Court Transcripts of Cross-Examinations held August 2010 for Summary Judgement Motions in the Aga Khan Copyright Lawsuit
Sections starting with N. Tajdin #... Means Nagib Tajdin is the one answering questions in the next section
Sections starting with Jiwa #... Means Alnaz Jiwa is the one answering questions in the next section
Sections starting with Sachedina #... Means Shafik Sachedina is the one answering questions in the next section
Sections starting with Bhaloo #... Means Aziz Bhaloo is the one answering questions in the next section
Bhaloo #142 - #167:
Cross-examination by N. Tajdin
Q. Okay. Mr. Bhaloo, not as a leader, not as a constitutional expert, just as an Ismaili, would you say that a talika and a farman is about the same thing; a talika is a written farman?
A. They're both given by the Imam, yes.
Q. You would accept that the talika is a written farman?
A. Sometimes the talikas are blessings, not farmans.
Q. Oh, blessings are not farmans?
A. I told you that talikas are sometimes blessings given by the Imam to the individuals, but not instructions in farmans.
Q. What about -- let's talk of -- tell me just -- you don't have to reply, just what age are you?
A. Old enough.
Q. Old enough. So in the '60s were you in East Africa?
A. In the 1960s?
A. Yes, I was.
Q. Do you remember that period?
A. Parts of it, yes.
Q. Was it Nairobi or Kisumu or someplace around Kenya?
Q. Do you remember at that time when a talika was to be read, it was announced, and Ismailis kotters [ph.] in the street with drums and a person going around saying there is talika tonight?
A. Yes, I believe so.
Q. And the flag was put --
A. I do not think it was the '60s, though. It was the '50s.
Q. It was the '50s. Sorry. I did not think you would remember up to that time. I think you look so young. But, okay, so 50's. And the flag would go up on the jamat khana, and people seeing the flag up would know that there's a talika?
Q. Now, we both live in Nairobi, so even today when there is a talika, the flag goes up to the jamat khana. Have you noticed that?
A. No, I have not.
Q. You have not noticed?
A. No, I have not.
Q. I would just suggest that it's a good thing to notice.
A. Thank you.
Q. So a talika, when it is read, I just want to go through some of the ceremonies that accompany the talika to show how important it is. Is it true that when a talika is to be read, there is a special ceremony for holy water?
Q. Is it true that when a person is called to read the talika, usually it's a person of standing, someone very respected?
A. Mr. Gray, these are -- these are really questions dealing with religious matters and --
MR. GRAY: You have to speak up for the --
THE DEPONENT: These are really questions of religious matters, and I don't know whether it's pertinent to the case.
MR. GRAY: It is not pertinent to the case. It's totally irrelevant, in my submission, but I was letting Mr. Tajdin have as much leeway as I thought reasonable. It is really way beyond anything relevant to this case, and so in the interest of --
MR. TAJDIN: Okay, we are trying to define --
MR. GRAY: You're paying for your transcript and so you're paying for my copy of the transcript, so --
MR. TAJDIN: Mr. Gray --
MR. GRAY: Let me finish. You're paying for transcript and I'm paying -- and you're paying for my copy of the transcript. So if you want to go on like this, spending money and time on irrelevant matters, I'm going to let you do that as long as the witness feels comfortable. But when you're exploring these questions of holy water in Nairobi and the talika flag, I think we are getting awfully far afield from the issues in this case. So if you could try. And I really would like to give you as much leeway --
MR. TAJDIN: Mr. Brian --
MR. GRAY: Let me finish.
MR. TAJDIN: This is going just -- like, how long are you going to talk? Because we want to put it brief. You have said what you have to say. So can I continue asking my questions?
MR. GRAY: You interrupted me, but fine, go ahead.
BY MR. TAJDIN:
Q. Okay. Mr. Bhaloo, the book on which you have written an affidavit contains talika and farmans; right?
A. Clarify that?
Q. There is this Affidavit -- you are saying in your Affidavit that you are making this Affidavit in support of the Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and for no other purpose? The last line. Do you know the subject matter of this lawsuit?
A. Yes, I do.
Q. Okay. Would you agree that it's on a book which contains talika and farmans?
A. Yes. It contains farmans, yes.
Q. Does it contain talikas also?
A. I have not read the Golden Edition book, so I would no know. This is the first time I'm looking at it.
MR. GRAY: The witness is referring to a book sitting on the table here in the examination room.
BY MR. TAJDIN:
Q. You have written an affidavit in support of the motion. Have you read the motion? Did you read the motion?
A. Yes, I did.
Q. So you know it's about farmans and talika book?
A. It is for summary judgment.
Q. It doesn't matter what summary judgment on what subject?
A. Yes, it does.
Q. Okay. Is it on a book which was printed with farmans and talikas?
A. I remember the farman. I don't know about the talikas.
MR. GRAY: If it helps, we'll admit that the book contains farmans and talikas. If that helps you, we'll admit that.
BY MR. TAJDIN:
Q. Yes. And I will not go through the 15 or 12 ceremonies which accompany the reading of a talika. I will just ask you one general question: When a talika is read, there are a lot of religious ceremonies surrounding the reading of the talika; yes or no?
A. Mr. Tajdin, these are matters for those who have been initiated into the faith, and they are not matters for public discussion, and I will not get into that.
Q. Okay. Mr. Bhaloo, I'm not sure what to ask because it looks like you are very much on the defensive and whatever I would ask would not bring me any kind of reply.