Taslima Nasrin – the “outcast”..

Taslima Nasrin is now a “sensation” of another kind in India. She has attracted the attention of those segments of Indian media that love to sell anything that brings Islam and Muslims related controversies into the public domain. The BJP is espousing her cause. Probably she is a rebel (some would say heretic) Muslim. Anyway, her uninformed rant should not be taken seriously.

I had seen her controversial book Lajja or Shame and found it to be a mediocre book – full of invective, half-baked stuff and provocation galore.

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.

The reason why I was thinking about her was to do with the poem and article that was sent by 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:


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 think 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 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…”

I have been made to think. And, I treasure such rare moments in the eternal rut of mediocrity that life can be sometimes, most of the times!

This entry was posted in Arts & Culture, Bangladesh, History, human rights, India, Islam, Islamophobia, media, Poetry, Religion, South Asian Literature on by .

About admin

Raza Rumi is a freelance writer from Lahore, Pakistan. He regularly writes for the Pakistani weekly The Friday Times, The News and Daily DAWN on myriad topics such as history, arts, literatue and society. Raza blogs at Jahane Rumi - a website devoted to Sufi thought, the arts, literature, and cultures of South Asia. Raza also edits a cyber-magazine Pak Tea House; and compiles the Development Industry blog . Specialties: Raza is also regular writer at All Things Pakistan, Desicritics, and Global Voices. Raza has worked in Pakistan and abroad in various organizations including multilateral institutions such as the United Nations.

  • http://baithak.blogspot.com/ temporal

    polish this and bring it on desicritic

  • Shaheryar Ali

    Thanks Raza , for noticing. You have picked up the point of the article and have highlighted it as well, but thanks to media , i ll like to point out that its “Not” about what Ms Nasrin writes . i am neither endorsing it , nor rejecting it. I wanted to point out a thing very dangerous —-

    Holocaust dominates Europe’s thought , mine too . It has made us paranoid perhaps as it is said these days but alas when ever i see Ms Nasrin dragged away , or i see a Fatwa on a novel or i see play cards “Chop their heads off” in my lovely free city, Martin Niemoller’s poem [ a prophecy and eternal defamation on inactivity of German and European intellectuals to rise of Nazis ] echoes in my ears —-

    First They Came for the Jews

    First they came for the Jews
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Jew.
    Then they came for the Communists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a Communist.
    Then they came for the trade unionists
    and I did not speak out
    because I was not a trade unionist.
    Then they came for me
    and there was no one left
    to speak out for me.

    Pastor Martin Niemöller

    Its not about Taslima Nasrin , the sky fell because “I was not a Jew” and its falling because “I am not a Heretic” and “I am not an apostate——“

  • RR

    Temporal: thanks for the good suggestion – polish it OR polish it off?? :)

    Saheryar: thanks for the elaboration. You are right – is is not about Taslima – but I am confused on how to approach this subject – I am a believer and get hurt at people who tend to be offensive about my religion but then I am also a humanist (no contradiciton here by the way) –

    but I agree this whole culture of intolerance is sad and gruesome!

  • http://h Cubano

    “Sky is falling because tradition of thinking has died in Muslim world which produced people like Averroes, Ibne Sina”

    Is that true or is it so because controversy sells more news papers and therefore the media and consequently the world only focuses on Muslims who issue mindless fatwas and rants about the destruction of the ‘Western’ world. I don’t think that the tradition of thinking has died unless only certain potions of Muslims are considered as the representatives of the whole Muslim world. The thinkers are often ignored, labeled as ‘liberals’ which seems to be the equivalent of ‘heretic’ these days, or forced into silence or hiding. But they are still Muslim regardless of people’s opinions so I would say that the tradition of thinking hasn’t died but the means of expression of ideas has been limited.

  • http://mysteriousastarte.blogspot.com/ Astarte

    It wasn’t the hunger, but the greed which was the sin.
    In case of Talisma, if she wants to tell the truth, fine, but if she wants to deliberately hurt a specific group then I don’t think it remains fine.

  • Pingback: Rickshaw Diaries()

  • http://letzchangedrulz-miracles.blogspot.com shehla.masood

    Beleaguered Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has found an unlikely ally in the form of Gujarat CM Narendra Modi, a man who is accused of masterminding the 2002 communal conflagration in his state.
    As BJP launches their election campaign they are losing no opportunity to embarrass the Left Front government and the UPA on the Taslima Nasreen issue.The party which wants lakhs of Bangladesi migrants to leave India is now taking up the cause of the Bangladeshi author and wants to raise the issue in Parliament.
    On the other hand the same people are refusing MF Hussain to enter the country because he offended Hindus.

  • http://shree-shrees.blogspot.com priya

    look at the son of Adam,
    he choses what is profitable for him always….
    if that means to kiss the snake n frog at a time ……..always .
    thanks RR for your post .

  • Pingback: Let us Discuss Taslima Nasrin (or Duh!) « Reflections()

  • Pingback: Dancing Punjabi, Fools « Ali Eteraz()

  • Pingback: At The Barbershop « Tariq Nelson - International Super Spy()

  • Pingback: wootage.com()

  • Pingback: 2007 August 11 « In the Name of Towelie!()

  • Shyam Roy

    Everyone in this planet has an explicit right to criticize his or her own religion and express views on any subject except the use of violent and profane language. If Islam or any religion for that matter is great, then it should be able to withstand any criticism from its followers. That could not be construed as insult. The problem is Islam is religion that is extremely derogatory to women like covering them with burqa, four wives per man, and no rights for women etc. like no other religion in this planet. What Taslima did is to speak against the evils of Islam and the atrocities of the Moslems in Bangladesh against Hindu minorities like force to marry one daughter to a Moslem for Islamification of the Hindu families in Bangladesh. Taslima, being an elite intellectual of Bangladesh, spoke against the evils of her own religion, own society, and own country. Being a woman of Islam is a crime in itself.

    Being a woman in Bangladesh and India is no easy picnic either. In Bangladesh and India particularly West Bengal, women including female children, have no more rights than family pets. Scores of girls, women, and even female fetus are abused or tortured, or killed every single day under a variety of pretexts in these regions every single day. In Bangladesh, under the Law of Sharia and in West Bengal under the communist rule, the funeral of Democracy has been over a long long time ago. Thus, pushing for democratic rights or talking about that is nothing more than intellectual mumbo jumbo. Under these poisonous conditions of these societies, women are expected to be tortured and suffer in quiet pain and not expected to oppose or speak against let alone write about it.

    Taslima Nasrin dared to write and chronicle them in magnificent eloquence that should be must reading for all high school students in all societies. That is not to put any religion on the spot but to start a Jihad against the abuse of women in this planet start a movement fro true equal rights for men and women.

  • shiplu

    my qustion is, one Man marrige 4 ok. u also (girl) marrige 4 ok. but we (man) go sex our wife, and we get at a time 4 wife pregnent . YOU (girl) cant .

  • zak

    @Shyam Roy…….before criticizing Islam and the rights of women in Islam. I would urge you to be a good hindu and read your holy books, you’ll get to know how much rights your religion gives to women, also count (if you can) how many wives your hindu gods had. This might open your eyes.

  • Naveed

    Shyam Ray is ranting without proper justification here. I have read most of Taslima’s book and have some factual idea on her biography. Her mother was having sex with his uncle and she was molested at young age too. This had an effect in her mental health and she cultivated misandry in her mind. calling her “an elite intellectual” is over the top comment. She is a medical MBBS graduate from a very mediocre medical college of Bangladesh and her writing ability in Bengali language is questionable. Her distortion of highly sensitive and historic issues of Islam and important Muslim personalities without any single credible source and argument is a crime to humanity, let alone hurting the majority of the population in the country. Shyam Ray should watch her interviews and do more research on her before applauding her insult towards religion. She is a self proclaimed hater of all religion, not just Islam. And she does that without having any, let alone credible scholarly background in Islamic history and texts from neutral point of view. If anybody knows about her personal life and the way she treats other people’s privacy, he/she would definitely realize the lack of mental stability in Taslima Nasrin.

  • Anoop


    “She is a self proclaimed hater of all religion, not just Islam.”

    Is there anything called Religion? Isn’t Religion a set of beliefs? Do you really belong to any Religion?

    Even in Islam there are so many Religions. In Hinduism, there are hundreds of Religions. Religion may be a bad or good thing depending on the way you approach it..

  • http://wmoviesonline.com/megamind-2010-watch-online/ Megamind

    Hey thank you for the wonderful article it had been genuinely useful , I hope you will just publish additional about this ! This topic rocks