Monday, September 18, 2006

To Be Or Not To Be, Taslima`s Plea For Indian Citizenship

To Be Or Not To Be, Taslima`s Plea For Indian Citizenship
Palash Biswas

(contact: c/o Mrs Arati Roy, Gostokanan, Sodepur, Kolkata-700110,
India. Phone:033-25659551r)

Taslima is silent on minority prosecution in Bangladesh since she
wrote Lajjaa. Lajja was the documentation of the circumstances in
which minorities live in Bangladesh and leave it. The exodus leads to
India always. The infinite refugee influx from the eastern border of
India never stopped and minority prosecution happens the main cause
of exodus from Bangladesh.

Self-exiled Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin has once again sought
Indian citizenship, facing death threats from hard-line Islamic
groups in her homeland. News agencies quote Ms. Nasrin as saying that
she says her birth country, Bangladesh, has slammed the door on her.

The Indian news agency also quotes her as saying she would love to
live in India's West Bengal state because that would help her in her
writings. She now lives in Kolkata with a residential visa extended
for one more year recently.

Government of India faced a quandary after Taslima Nasreen, the
controversial Bangladeshi author, asked repeatedely for Indian
citizenship. The plea was rejected in 2005. Thoughit is well known
that India stands for democratic freedom, freedom for minorities,
freedom from cast systems and above all freedom for women. And the
Indian intellegentia stands united with Taslima.

The feminist author fled Bangladesh in 1994 when Islamic extremists
threatened to kill her after she was quoted as saying the holy Koran
should be changed to give women more rights. After fleeing Bangladesh
in 1994, she primarily lived in Europe, collecting some awards for
artistic courage but little peace of mind.

Taslima is a Bangladeshi writer, born in 1962. She has published
poetry, essays, a syndicated newspaper column, and novels. She has
received awards in India and Bangladesh for her work. She sprang into
international consciousness when her novel, Shame, which depicts
Muslim persecution of Bangladesh's Hindu minority, brought forth a
death threat from Islamic militants. She had to flee Bangladesh lived
in Sweden for some time, and now lives in France.

August 1999: The Bangladesh Government has banned the latest novel by
feminist writer, Taslima Nasreen on the grounds that its contents
might hurt the existing social system and religious sentiments of the

All copies of the book in Bengali titled "Amar Meyebela" (My
Childhood Days) published last month in Calcutta have been seized.
Amar Meyebela is available online in Adobe Acrobat PDF format, for
those who read Bengali.

Taslima's true struggle for the freedom and
adventures for the equal rights of women in Bangladesh did earn some
basic dignity and respect, for herself and for the women in Bengal,
in general. Ms. Nasrin has spoken out loud and clear in favor of
equal rights for women and has expressed opposition to the oppression
of non-Islamic minorities in Bangladesh society. She also mentioned
about the oppressive socio-cultural enviornment during her earlier

This, of course, includes the Bengali women's bitter
experience of sexual exploitation by the brute Pakistan Muslim
soldiers during 1971 Pakistani Islamic Civil War in East Bengal.

Besides Lajja, her other autobiographical works, "Amar Meyebela" (My
Childhood) and "Utala Hawa" (Torrid Wind) were also banned. Nasreen,
whose book "Ka" described her alleged affairs with a number of
prominent Bangladeshi figures, earlier said she would like to settle
down in the Indian state of West Bengal which adjoins Bangladesh and
shares the same Bengali language.

The Bangladesh government has claimed that herbooks contain anti-
Islam sentiments and statements that could destroy the religious
harmony of Bangladesh, if any such harmony really existed, except in
the form of brute Islamic repression of Hindu community.

Taslima Nasrin, thus, has been living in exile for more than 11 years.
Recently, the West Bengal Government in India also banned the sale,
distribution and collection of her book "Dwikhandito" in November
2003; (though the Communist West Bengal Government should not do
exactly the same that Islamic Bangladesh Government has done!).

However, the ban was soon lifted by the High Court in September 2004.
Her attempt to read an anti-war poem entitled "America" to a large
Bengali crowd at Madison Square Garden in NY, nevertheless, resulted
in her being booed off in 2005 by an Islamic Bengladeshi crowd.

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