KERALA

Taslima’s ‘Shame Again’ in Malayalam

NEW CHAPTER: Bangladesh writer Taslima Nasreen delivering a message during the release of her book ‘Veendum Lajjikkunnu’ (Shame Again) at the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Hall in Thrissur on Thursday.

NEW CHAPTER: Bangladesh writer Taslima Nasreen delivering a message during the release of her book ‘Veendum Lajjikkunnu’ (Shame Again) at the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Hall in Thrissur on Thursday.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: K.K. Najeeb

Staff Reporter

Thrissur: Bangladesh writer Taslima Nasreen is pretty optimistic that India will triumph over fundamentalism.

In her message on the occasion of the release of Veendum Lajjikkunnu (Shame Again), the sequel to her controversial novel Lajja (Shame) here on Thursday, she said: “One day, I believe I will be allowed to live in India, my adopted country. If the decision about me is not changed by the Government of India, it will amount to the cold-blooded murder of my most cherished ideals, perhaps a fate far worse than I could meet at the hands of any fundamentalist.”

Shame Again is being published for the first time in Malayalam, by Thrissur-based Green Books. Writer Sara Joseph released the book at a function at Kerala Sahitya Akademi Hall. A CD carrying Ms. Nasreen’s message was shown at the function.

Unlike Shame, Shame Again is a non-political story, Ms. Nasreen said. “It is about relationships, love, hate, confusion, consciousness, frustrations and lack of self-esteem. The first part of the book took place in Bangladesh, and I, as a writer, followed the characters to the West Bengal part of India, where they settled.” The book was translated into Malayalam by M.K.N. Potti. Normally, her books were published first in the original language and then translated into other languages, said Ms. Nasreen, who lives currently in New York.

“But there is no publisher in Bengal who will publish this book. Not only this, but also no other books or articles of mine. I have become an untouchable in Bengal. For a writer, this is a veritable death threat.”

She said she is a victim of politics, ban and censorship.

Ms. Nasreen, who had attracted the wrath of religious fundamentalists in Bangladesh through Shame, which exposed the mindless blood-thirst of fundamentalism and insanity of violence, was facing trouble in getting her novel published in her home country. Written soon after the demolition of Babri Masjid in Ayodya, Shame dealt with the persecution of Hindus, the religious minority in Bangladesh.

Published in February 1993, the book was banned by the Bangladesh Government five months later stating it was disturbing communal harmony. Ms. Nasreen had to flee her motherland as fundamentalist organisations issued ‘fatwa’ against her.

“Though I received initial support when the fundamentalists issued the fatwa against me, I lost almost all support when the government turned against me,” she pointed out.

I felt ashamed that no one who had been fighting for freedom of expression had ever filed a case against the ban in Bangladesh, she noted.

“I came from a majority community, and I defended the minority community in Bangladesh. Shame was a fight for secularism and for true democracy.” Ms. Nasreen said fundamentalists, whether they were from majority or minority community, were equally dangerous.

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