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Facing bans, Taslima Nasreen says no hope of returning to Kolkata

Monday, 3 February 2014 - 12:44pm IST | Agency: PTI
  • Taslima Nasreen.

Apprehensive that her latest book 'Nishiddho' will be pulled out of the ongoing Kolkata Book Fair and be banned, controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen today said such restrictions are the "real death" of a writer.

A year after the launch of her book 'Nirbasan' was cancelled at the Fair, Nasreen 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 CPM regime and I thought the situation would change when Mamta 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.

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. 

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 The writer feels she is a victim of vote bank politics in India.

"Fundamentalists are after me but WB 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. 

"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. 

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. Busy writing essays and poems, Nasreen is also planning to bring out a sequel of her controversial book 'Lajja' in Bengali. The sequel has already been published in Malyalam. 

"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. 


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