Monday, May 8, 2006

Taslima Nasreen --- Worthy or Worthless ?

When I am writing these lines, then I hope the reader does not consider my identity. I hope he/she will not compartmentalize me as a feminist or anti feminist, religious or anti-religious. I assume that the reader will read this post with a critical angle, nothing less, nothing more. A humanitarian view point …

Some of the social issues raised by people like Arundhati Roy, Sandeep Panday, Taslima Nasreen and Noam Chomsky have been of great interest to me. Like always, these issues lead towards political situations, which evolve creating new facets of problems. Taslima is some what very distinct in this list, as she can be blamed for being very vocal and regular in media. Each of these people is revolutionary in their own sphere. Noam is of course is par ahead in terms of his contribution towards human kind; he actually stood first in top hundred thinkers of 2005. All of these people have some technical background (medical, architect or engineer); Sandeep Panday is a PhD (Berkeley) and was professor at IIT Kanpur. I always think that why Sandeep Panday (who is in social work for many years) never materialized his IIT status, kept working silently while these new folks, Paritrana, could not stop temptation to come under lime light of media. Taslima raised year old problem stacked against women of world, particularly of Indian Subcontinent. In presenting the whole matter, she became herself the object of attention, an element representing women fraternity.
Every novel of Taslima has raised some issues, kept whole media very attentive and often led creation of spicy stories. If you have some pre-thoughts about her then try analyzing issues that came out of statements of Khushboo, Sania Mirza or Mallika Sarabhai. If woman is giving some statement, if its content is out of track, media quickly catches it, moulds it and presents with varied colors. The central problem gets lost, even if the statement was given with utmost thought. Interestingly, in most of the cases woman on stage does not get support from women in general. In a way, this means that ultimately they loose social support and are often looked upon as social tensions. Typically when these “general” women talk in closets, they start blaming men completely about their tons of woes. Taslima never proclaimed her literary prowess. Her writing does not present great artifacts or a well woven web. Nevertheless they still present problems associated with “being a woman” condition in a simple way.
The advent of women does not lie in the condition that some of them become social leaders; rather it lies in the way they are treated most generally. How a girl will think when her dad keeps information about his son’s birthday in his diary, while he does not notice any thing about his daughter. How the society looks upon the case when a woman decides keeping unmarried. What occurs if she declares her complete independence? Now the solution is not looked upon in the case when you decide that, okay I will keep my doors closed and I will have ultimate freedom. The solution is looked for the case when your freedom is revealed upon whole society. Let the woman do what she decides for and let the society has no qualms with her. Certainly, problems start popping at this point.
I use to do lot of googling over the four people I mentioned you earlier. I went to local mall, The Forum in Bangalore, entered in book store Landmark, and read pages of the book “Wild Wind”, translated from Utal Hawa of Taslima Nasreen. Earlier I read many of the columns by Taslima (basically interviews) and had a chance to go through Lazza. I never liked the later one, but “Wild Wind” had some balance. Great books need not become jargon and often plot of story gets the prominence. Maxim Gorky’s Mother very strongly raised the problems of laborers, the dependent section of society, without using any strong word or flow. The writer, slowly, slowly leads the reader into the world of Mazdoors and provides steps for thoughts involved in the solution to the problem. We cannot compare “Wild Wind” with “Mother”, but then she presented the thoughts going in her teenage days in a very lucid way. Now what is the problem when she presents the facts without any metaphor, in a simple understandable language? Here, I am not addressing any religious angle to her stated problems; rather I assume that the problems are generic to women fraternity. I am just thinking about any untrue statement she had enlisted while describing problems of being a woman. I know that woman who are reading my post, may not be able to trace any problems occurring to them, but then can you try experimenting?
Every thing associated with women gets sudden attention. Taslima has also suffered this thing. Or may be she wanted popularity then at least her issues got sufferings. As usual, media started imaging her as yet another glamour object. Anyways, if you have to keep your points straight, a don’t care attitude is inevitable. Perhaps, a woman can only address problems of other woman. Does noble prize for Elfriede Jelinek and Shirin Ebadi, hints change in mood or they are just politics of art or east/west respectively? Can you dare associating your self with any branch of the tree called “Taslima Nasreen”?


  1. I cant agree with your title on the first place.Who on earth are we to rate somebody's worth??Taslima Nasreen's a lady of great courage and valour,do you know that??If you've read LAJJA like you say then prob'ly you've missed out the entire communal scenario wherein the story was housed.There wasnt a pint of womanisitic bent like you've said.
    As for a 'muslim lady' that too somebody from Bangladesh during those critical times of communal riots and political unrest being brave enough to speak her mind,I think that was bravo !!
    Its not that I'm a huge fan of hers or smth but I believe that in literature just like in arts there isnt a WORTHY or a WORTHLESS.There are simple likes or dislikes,tastes and preferences.
    Have you ever seen any critic,any newspaper,any director,any writer,any poet regard any other fellowman to be worthy or worhtless??Never.
    They always talk about whats according to literary acceptabilities,paradgims,versatility,niches so on and so forth.
    I'm sorry if I disappointed you but I just couldnt see myself at par with your views here.

  2. Haha, I am not disappointed. Actually, I did some error in title, it should have been -- Taslima Nasreen's statements or stand is worthy or not. Even then, the statment is vague. By the way, I mean "in between" (worthy/not worthy) and towards which side is her bias.

    Taslima made some statements. Put her thought. Here thoughts were very generic in nature. Earlier you can say that its more related to Bangladesh, but thereafter her problems addressed whole women issues. Alas, she never got support from women society !!! (A deep googling and going through her artciles will tell you so)

    I had talk with many woman on this issue. Interstingly, they kept two of the extreme position, either supporting her or completely rediculing her. This is tragic.

    I urge readers to debate about her statements. Not what she is, what her attitude is ! The simple thing is that how much relvant her points are!

  3. cool guys ... I completely agree with the thorough analysis mukul has done here and there is nothing wrong with the title .. these are some freelance things which are upto you to decide. I think Taslima is not even worth this much seriuosness from the readers side, so many people read it only after they came to know that there was soething fishy about this lady's writings. Its only in this part of the world, instead of learning and growing our country we think about some nonsense which has been hyped out of proportion. I dumped her books into "Use me".