Theatre of the Absurd: The Attack on Taslima Nasreen
Our cops seem to be eager to perfectly fit the mould that Bollywood/Indian cinema has set for them.
The Hyderabad police have registered a case against controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, who was recently attacked by Majlis Ittehadul Muslimeen workers in Hyderabad, for allegedly creating ill-feeling among communities.
The writer has been booked under Indian Penal Code Section 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language etc) on a complaint registered by MIM legislator Akbaruddin Owaisi, police said.
The best we can say in their favour is that they're largely helpless.
Some hooligans/legislators attacked Taslima Nasreen a few days ago. All news channels do their bit by assaulting us repeatedly with the footage, which shows a man who first yells at the folks on the rostrum and then hurls a chair at an elderly gentleman who's visibly shaken. Somebody flings a badly-mangled bouquet that lands on Nasreen. Somebody else charges at the gentleman and smacks his forehead badly. He bleeds. TIMES Now shoves this whole visual drama down our throats. I was having a hearty lunch. Life is good.
Life gets better thereafter because — to my knowledge — no frothing-at-the-mouth editorials appear after this disgraceful incident. It is relevant to recall media and blogosphere reactions during the Baroda art incident. Where are those chapter-long essays on freedom and liberty by eminent bloggers now? I guess it is because while fascism reigned in Baroda a few months ago, the goons who attacked Taslima exhibited exemplary behaviour of democratic protest. I now understand why the defenders of free speech didn't find this incident blogworthy.
But there's something deeper. Barbar Indians digs up various news sources on this and concludes that:
Only headlines from western news sources such as Reuters, Voice of America, Washington Post etc. (and surprisingly some from Malaysia and Gulf too) had the word "Muslims" in them. Most Indian headlines read: Tasleema heckled, Tasleema roughed up etc.
It's amazing how the shrillery on freedom, liberty etc. works in India. And Taslima is just about the perfect example of this.
Taslima is the poster girl of the Left/liberal intelligentsia. She's the rebel woman writer/thinker. And she's a Muslim woman who dared to expose some dreadful things about Islam in Lajja. Surprisingly, she's still alive and still breathes fire against all kinds of injustices, and says all the right things about humanism, etc. She also smokes! The perfect role model for our Leftist/liberal darlings in the academia and media. But what she stands for is violently unpardonable in Islam's eyes.
The book ban in Bangladesh and in a few states of India, continual threats to her life, the present attack are examples of this. As much as they admire her, our Left/liberal darlings are careful not to admire/support her too much. Now, these eminences danced jubilantly when Kamala Das aka Suraiya converted to Islam citing "repression of women in Hinduism" as the reason for her conversion.
Then we have intellectual giants like Shabana Azmi who are free from the shackles of religion but do not criticize Islam. They adore non-Islamic practices like Vipassana, and roar against the fascism of Hindu fundamentalists. Atanu hints at a possible reason for Shabana's non-criticism of Islam in this superb post:
...at its core, Islam proclaims that it is the perfect religion and therefore unalterable and is the final word of god. Any change or dilution of the core beliefs is by definition not Islam. Islam’s claim to be the only true and perfect faith automatically relegates all other faiths to be false and evil.
Ultimately, the Indian press is just a little more than a stooge of the government. All talk of free speech/press freedom is to self-reinforce our illusion that everything is okay.
From the same post by Barbar Indians:
Let us remind our readers that Tasleema's repeated appeals for an Indian citizenship are ignored by our government (the same government which was demanding an Australian visa for alleged terrorist Haneef merely a week ago).
Our media plays along with this, doesn't utter a word criticizing the government's refusal to grant her the said citizenship.
In this case, what doesn't get widely reported is Taslima's own statement that:
Controversial Bangladeshi novelist Taslima Nasreen says her attackers at a book release function in Hyderabad earlier Thursday were intent on killing her, but she would not be cowed down and would continue to write.
"The Muslim leaders were bent on killing me. They broke open the door of the Hyderabad Press Club and hurled brickbats at me. Had they been armed, they would have killed me," she said after returning to her Rawdon Street home in central Kolkata.
What had me ROTFLing is the charge the cops have framed against her:
IPC Section 153 (A) (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, language etc).
Life is wonderful.
Update: I read this bit after I'd finished composing this post. The link to this Pioneer news item may not work and I've excerpted just the relevant parts.
Akbaruddin Owaisi, the floor leader of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) in the Andhra Assembly on Friday said, "It is legitimate to kill Taslima Nasreen under Islamic law, but unfortunately we could not do it". [...] MIM president and former Member of Parliament Salahuddin Owaisi lauded his party legislators and workers for targeting Taslima stating that she had insulted Islam and Muslims all over the world and she was still continuing her mission enjoying the hospitality of the Left Government in West Bengal. [...] Majlis Bachao Tehreek (MBT), the rival of MIM, went to the extent of saying that originally it was their plan to implement the fatwa of death issued against Taslima... The fatwas issued to kill Salman Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen should be implemented, he added.
All this said on the floor of the Andhra Pradesh Assembly.
Theatre of the Absurd: The Attack on Taslima Nasreen
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