Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin on Monday said she iwas a victim of vote bank politics in India. “Fundamentalists are after me but West Bengal government did not support me either. They did all this to woo Muslim voters. This vote bank politics is not good for a society or country. There should be healthy democracy,” she said.
The doctor-turned-author had taken refuge in Kolkata in 2004, after a long stay in Europe. But after Muslim protests in the city in November 2007, the government forced her to leave West Bengal. She was then forced to leave India after staying in a safe house for a few months. It is only in 2011 that she got permission to live in Delhi.
“Since there is no political party or social outfit supporting me, they are not afraid of harassing me. I have only my readers who are not united and powerful. However, I am thankful to the Indian government for letting me stay here. I am a European citizen but I prefer India because of cultural similarities,” said the writer, who was exiled from Bangladesh in 1994 for hurting religious sentiments with her writings.
Apprehensive that her latest book Nishiddho will be pulled out of the ongoing Kolkata Book Fair, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin on Monday said such restrictions are the “real death” of a writer.
A year after the launch of her book Nirbasan was cancelled at the Fair, Talima feels nothing much has changed in West Bengal and she has no hope of returning to the City of Joy.
“Situation in West Bengal is exactly like Bangladesh. Bengal government has also made me a persona non grata as they are not allowing me to enter, banning my books besides the TV drama series scripted by me. They are not allowing me to participate in the ongoing Kolkata Book Fair. It happened during the CPI(M) regime and I thought the situation would change when Mamata Banerjee comes to power but that did not happen,” she told PTI.
Her book Nishiddho(Forbidden) is featured in the Kolkata Book Fair but she is not sure whether it will remain till the Fair ends on February 9.
“I am so apprehensive about it that I tweeted that those who want to buy it, buy early. They are banning my books or release of my books which is the real death of a writer. They have done it in 2012 and can again do it. If it continues like this, then Bengal will be like another Bangladesh or Pakistan where there is almost no freedom of expression for those who have different opinions,” she said.
‘Three women have made my life difficult’
The exiled Bangladeshi writer said despite her feminist writings, women leaders have not been sympathetic towards her.
“It is strange that I have been writing on women issues for the last three decades but three women (Sheikh) Hasina, Khalida (Zia) and Mamata (Banerjee) have made my life difficult. There is no hope for Bangladesh. And I miss Kolkata because culturally I connect with the city. But I have now given up all hopes of returning to the city,” said the writer.
How about an Aam Aurat Party?
The author also said that there should be an ‘Aam Aurat Party’ to fight for women-related issues.
“It will be good if Aam Aadmi Party can bring changes but I think there should be an Aam Aurat Party also to fight against issues like rape, domestic violence, hatred against women and men can also be a part of it,” the author said.
She has also decided against donating her body to Kolkata Medical College after her death.
“I will rather donate my body to AIIMS although I had taken a pledge to donate my body to Kolkata Medical College,” she said
Busy writing essays and poems, Taslima is also planning to bring out a sequel of her controversial book Lajja in Bengali. The sequel has already been published in Malayalam.
“I want to publish it in Bengali and will do it in the near future. I also want to establish a trust in India and will give all my money to that trust which will work for oppressed women. I also want to donate around 50,000 books in my library to various universities,” she said.