[Reader-list] Taslima Nasrin responds to her Book ban + comment in Outlook
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Sun Nov 30 22:33:44 IST 2003
Taslima Nasrin Responds to her book ban in West Bengal
[29 November 2003]
What do I feel when I hear that the most cultured and enlightend and
intellectual place in Bengal, the West Bengal, has banned
I could not believe that it had happened. My hopes and dreams, my
strong feelings for, and my pride about West Bengal broke like
glass-bangles. Could it possibly be that the state government of West
Bengal so feared that my book would hurt the religious feelings of
the people, that it would disturb the communal harmony in the state,
that it would be necessary to ban it?
Many know that the banning of my books has to do with Muslim votes,
votes to guarantee the survival of patriarchalism. Yes, I have been
outspoken against religions. And yes, the books with my comments on
religion are available in West Bengal. Nobody asked to ban those
books. Why now? The communal harmony would be disturbed? This is an
admission that the ban is only to fool the people. The main reason
for trying to shut me up is something else entirely. The reality is
that those who espouse patriarchy are the very ones who are adamant
about not allowing women to talk about sex or about sexual freedom
Male writers, who live in a patriarchal society that gives them
advantages not available to women, became furious as soon as my books
came out. The media - male-controlled - spread unwarranted hatred
against me, leading to libel suits now totaling $4,000,000. They
demanded that my books be banned and that I be punished. They called
me a pornographer and a prostitute. What galls is that other writers
and intellectuals have seemingly not rushed to my immediate defense.
How could writers, whose fight is to protect their own right to the
freedom of expression, logically take such a stand! What will
disinterested critics surely say about their intellectual fragility!
What is the bottom line, and why the objections to my books?
The line is that I am not supposed, as a writer of my own
to include my political, social, economical, and
Patriarchical minds object.
I am not supposed to write about equality and justice for women.
Patriarchical minds object.
I must not talk about the enjoyment of sex, if what I write
the enjoyment of sex by women.
Patriarchal minds object.
I must not dare to challenge patriarchy.
For if it were to tumble down women would no longer
be able to be treated
as slaves, as sexual commodities, and men would have
to make a shift in
their viewpoints and actions.
If individuals in both East and West Bengal are not ready to hear
such views, if their minds are stubbornly set against any new ideas,
and if they are afraid of other of my ideas, then in the eyes of
others it is they who are the authoritarians, the conformists, the
perverted people with closed minds.
I am a proud nonconformist. I accept the good from the past and
reject the bad. But I do not accept the view that it is bad to
express oneself freely. Women are being oppressed everywhere, are
they not? Well, this oppression simply has to stop!
o o o o
Outlook | Web [Feature] | Nov 28, 2003
OUTRAGE IN CALCUTTA
Can We Ban All Bans?
Obviously not, as that would be a ban too, but the latest ban on
Taslima Nasreen's book - no matter how offensive it is or is made out
to be - is yet another precedent for spreading more communal
disharmony, exactly what it avowedly seeks to prevent. Updates.
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