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Why Fondness for Taslima?
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Taslima Nasrin
also spelled Taslima Nasreen and popularly referred to as 'Taslima', her first name rather than 'Nasreen' (born 25 August 1962 in Mymensingh, Bangladesh) is a Bengali Bangladeshi author, feminist human rights activist and secular humanist. Nasrin has achieved global fame, but has also faced death threats from Islamic fundamentalists, forcing her exile to India.
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Taslima Nasreen, a 45-year-old Muslim lady writer, who is originally from Bangladesh, has become a common talk in India, these days. Political parties, literates, writers & journalists, all are facing Taslima Nasreen in their own different ways & defining the present circumstances differently. Some people are calling her a leader of freedom of expression & some are saying that she is anti-Islam. When the fundamentalists threatened her that they would kill her, the government of Bangladesh directed her to leave the country. This way, Taslima who had to leave Bangladesh couldn't go back to her country. Being well versed in Bengali language, Taslima has expressed her desire to reside in Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal, a state in India. The government of India & the leftist government of West Bengal jointly decided to give asylum to Taslima Nasreen in Kolkata. In this way, the government of India granted her the resident Visa, to be verified after every six months. The present Visa of Taslima will expire on Feb. 17, 2008.

Last days the issue of land acquisition of the farmers in Nandigram in West Bengal became a leading issue. By chance, the land taken over of the poor farmers in Nandigram & the sufferers in violence, cruelty & barbarousness in protesting demonstrations were mostly from the Muslim community. Although the Nandigram issue has become a national issue & without any caste differentiation, the farmers of Nandigram have won the favour of the common people, the media, the literary class & the political parties but last days, a new organization named All India Minority Forum held a demonstration in Kolkata in which they showed sympathy for the farmers of Nandigram & at the same time they issued a warning to the Bangla writer Taslima Nasreen to leave Kolkata. This demonstration became violent. There were incidents of violence & setting the property on fire. However the base of this newly organized, mysterious organization couldn't be known, what the reality is & what their motive is. But the government of Bengal was puzzled at this violent demonstration & made Taslima Nasreen to leave Kolkata & reach Jaipur, the Capital of Rajasthan.

Narendra Dāmodardās Modī (born Sept. 17, 1950) is the incumbent Chief Minister of the state of Gujarat since October 7, 2001. He participated in the rise to political dominance of the Bharatiya Janata Party in Gujarat as its elections organiser in the early 1990s, a period which led to its election in 1995. He became Gujarat's Chief Minister in October 2001.
Courtesy of Wikipedia

As Taslima reached Jaipur, Bhartiya Janata Party easily got an issue. A different politics started about Taslima. Bhartiya Janata Party stood along with Taslima to shower sympathy. Not only this, regarding the issue about Taslima, Bhartiya Janata Party tried to levy accuses against Congress & the ruling party of West Bengal, Marxist Communist party. Now, the BJP government of Rajasthan tried to keep itself aloof & sent Taslima to Rajasthan House in New Delhi, so that the Congress government of Delhi may also become responsible for the safety of the so said guest of BJP government. But Congress understood the trick played by BJP & at once sent Taslima from Rajasthan House to another secret & safe place. At present Taslima has been kept at a secret place but under the care of government of India. Taslima has talked to media about her safety & secure place.

In this issue, the role played by Rashtriya Swayam Sewak Sangh (RSS) & its political organization Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), is very astonishing. The BJP & RSS which are being reportedly responsible of killing of the thousands of minorities are expressing their sympathy for Taslima Nasreen. Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has talked of considering Taslima as his sister. While making declaration for giving her asylum in Gujarat he said that 60 million Hindus living in Gujarat are with her for her cause. The so called sympathisers of Taslima are also advocating in favour of expression of speech. These are the persons who criticized Maqbool Fida Husain. I had already criticized Maqbool Fida Husain for his portrait of the Mother Saraswati & said that it was totally a wrong way to show freedom of expression. Even today I favour the opinions. May be Salman Rushdie or Maqbool Fida Husain or Taslima Nasreen, nobody has the right to hurt the feelings of others in the pretext of freedom of expression. Specially one shouldn't hurt the religious feelings of others.

But the attempt to give a message by showing favour for Taslima by the RSS, Narendra Modi & BJP is totally wrong & immoral. At the same time in my opinion, the opposition of Taslima by fundamentalists, her expulsion from Bangladesh, an attack to kill her in Hyderabad are not right steps. I like the frank expression of Taslima Nasreen. The picturisation of the agonies of the Hindus of Bangladesh in her novels is praiseworthy. Her expression of pains of the Muslim women is also right to some extent. In her novels Taslima Nasreen has written about the hold of the extremists over the Islam, that is really a matter of concern. The liberal Muslim group of the world is very mush worried over it. But it is a matter to think if the Islamic teachings are responsible for it? Can a religion be held responsible for the misdeeds of a particular person or of a few persons? In my opinion, it is not & never. In the 1400 years period of the Islam religion, there had been many Muslim emperors, Kings & Nawabs whereas many emperors & kings won fame & popularity as the great Akbar. At the same time there had been many rulers like Yazeed who gave a shameful example of cruelty & barbarousness. Now the question is who among these may be thought to be encouraged by the teachings of the Islam?

As far as the sympathy shown for Taslima by RSS & BJP, there is nothing like favouring the principle of freedom of expression. The violence that took place in Gujarat has been the cause of insult to the BJP's Modi government & RSS. This is being said not only by the opponents of BJP & the people of the Muslim community, but some liberal Hindus are also opponents of the planned violence. This Hindutva by some persons is as is the Islam of the Muslim kings who were invaders, assaulters, looters & plunderers. Here I would like to revise the words of Mahant Gyan Dass, who is the Chief Priest of an ancient temple at Hanumangarhi, situated in Ayodhya, the birth place of Lord Rama These words were said by him regarding the horrible event of Gujarat riots. He said that throwing of pregnant women in fire can't represent Hindutva. But to some this may be definition of the Hindutva.

Surprisingly, RSS & Narendra Modi are seeing the characteristics of a revolutionary writer in Taslima Nasreen. But the Gujarati revolutionary women, Teesta Seetalwad is not in their good books because she wants to clear the spots on Hindutva that were made by the RSS just as Taslima Nasreen want to bring to limelight the said Islamic unjust rituals and wants to show the increasing hold of the fundamentalists over the Islam. Now the world must understand if the RSS & BJP who have become the showpiece of the Islamic opposition, their fondness for Taslima Nasreen is for their benefit or not.

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Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes on a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.






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