All religions are anti-woman: Taslima

February 07, 2016 12:00 am | Updated 05:47 am IST - KOZHIKODE

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen at the Kerala Literature Festival in Kozhikode on Saturday. —Photo: K. Ragesh

Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen at the Kerala Literature Festival in Kozhikode on Saturday. —Photo: K. Ragesh

: Taslima Nasreen does not think India is an intolerant country. “I think most people are quite tolerant of each other’s faith. The laws in India do not support intolerance. But there are so many intolerant people in this country,” she said. The noted Bangladeshi writer in exile was in Kozhikode to attend the first-ever Kerala Literature Festival on Saturday. Incidentally, this was her first outing anywhere other than New Delhi in India since 2005.

Responding to a query put forth by writer K. Sachidanandan, Ms. Nasreen questioned why the secularists in India were questioning only Hindu fundamentalists while they let alone the Muslim fundamentalists. She alleged that a democracy based on pseudo secularism was not a true democracy at all. She said the true conflict in India was between secularism and fundamentalism, between innovation and tradition, between humanity and barbarianism and between people who value freedom and who do not. She condemned the Dadri incident and appreciated the intellectuals in the country for their unique mode of protest.

Explaining her struggles as a writer and her fight against Islamic fundamentalism in Bangladesh, Ms. Nasreen said all religions were anti-woman though distortion caused by fundamentalists added to it. “You have to keep religion separated from government. Laws should not be based on religion. There is no need to practise 7{+t}{+h}Century laws in the 21{+s}{+t}century,” she said and explained how the influence of religion in law-making had caused the oppression of both Muslim and Hindu women in Bangladesh. “But in India, the laws are based on equality and hence the condition of women is much better,” she said.

Ms. Nasreen lamented the absence of good women writers in Bangladesh, where the literary scene is dominated by men. “Female writers should not try to imitate their male counterparts. Their experiences are different, their feelings are different. If women speak their mind, they can be great writers,” she called upon the budding women writers.

Declaring that she was against all kinds of fundamentalism and that she stood for the oppressed whatever be their religion and nationality, Ms. Nasreen ended the session with her poems like ‘You go girl’ (which was well accepted by the women in the audience for its bold content), ‘Noorjahan’, ‘Lie Taslima’ and ‘Aggression.’

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