Taslima Nasrin, The Outcast
Taslima Nasrin is now a "sensation" of another kind in India. She has attracted the attention of those segments of the Indian media that love selling anything that brings Islam and Muslims related controversies into the public domain. The BJP is also espousing her cause. Probably she is a rebel (some would say heretic) Muslim. Anyway, her uninformed rant on Islam should not be taken seriously while her right to express herself remains inalienable and non-negotiable.
I had seen her controversial book Lajja or Shame and found it to be a mediocre book, full of invective, half-baked stuff and prosaic writing. Even my friends who read it in Bangla were not impressed by its literary value.
She had to leave Bangladesh and moved to Europe and then we found out that she had landed in India, later in Calcutta to be close to her Bengali roots. But of course, this was not to be.
I am not sure what will happen to her. However, she has become an overnight star - once again. A woman expelled from the Muslim bounds of culture and religious acceptance.
Perhaps she is wronged. Perhaps not. But one thing is clear that BJP support will do her no good. This will undermine her cause for freedom of expression that is essentially a secular issue and aligning her persona and writings to the Islam bashing brigades will compound her cause - a humainst issue at the end of the day - beyond and above the religious divides.
The reason why I was thinking about her was to do with the poem and article sent me by a blog-friend SA. The poem is not bad at all. It is a little self-conscious and over the top in parts but has a few soulful lines and a striking central concept:
EVE, OH EVE
Why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Didn’t she have a hand to reach out with,
Fingers with which to make a fist?
Didn’t Eve have a stomach for feeling hunger,
A tongue for feeling thirst,
A heart with which to love?Well, then, why wouldn’t Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Why would she merely have suppressed her wishes,
Regulated her steps,
Subdued her thirst?
Why would she have been so compelled
To keep Adam moving around in the Garden of Eden all their lives?Because Eve did eat of the fruit,
There is sky and earth.
Because she has eaten,There are moon, sun, rivers, seas,
Because she has eaten, trees, plans and vines.
Indeed, my muse has made me even more reflective with these lines when he rather [melo]dramatically stresses how the sky is falling at Nasrin's treatment:
"...the sky is falling because no thinking mind from the Muslim world has come out in support of Nasrin. .. Sky is falling because tradition of thinking has died in Muslim world which produced people like Averroes, Ibne Sina, .. the sky is falling because the books of muslim theology are filled with great debates between Imams and atheist philosophers. These atheist philosophers of course lived and flourished in Muslim world and were called in courts to debate with muslim Imams....
... in the 9th century Ibn al Rawandi could live in Islamic caliphate ... publish and defend his works and live freely. .., but in 2007 Taslima Nasrin can't do so, not in Bangladesh, not in secular India. This is post philosophy, post enlightenment world...
The sky is falling because the Communist Party of India who call themselves “Marxist”, who owe their name and being to a “infidel” atheist philosopher Karl Marx failed to protect Taslima Nasrin and forced her out of Calcutta , the sky is falling because Biman Bose supported censorship!! The sky is falling that Communist Party bowed to fascists , sky is falling because it showed that Communist Party government is no different that Nirandra Modi’s government."
Quite fortunately, the secular Muslims in India have also condemned the outright idiocy of the Muslim extremists. A thoughtful Indian blogger (who happens to be a dyed in wool secular Muslim) Indscribe writes:
"I don't know how many protestors have read her works. They are not readable anyhow. And even if she has written something that doesn't go well with us, we have the option not to read it or ignore it. With every such protest Taslima's stature as a writer will go up even if she doesn't deserve that.
Violent street protests don't serve anybody. ...As I saw the stone pelting on streets and the iamges of burning car and mob clashing with police, imposition of curfew, I could imagine what must be going through the minds of many non-Muslims, 'These Muslims, the troublemakers...they are at it again'..."
I have been made to think, and, I treasure such rare moments in the eternal rut of mediocrity that life can be most of the times!
Taslima Nasrin, The Outcast
- » Published on November 27, 2007
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Author: Raza Rumi
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