[Reader-list] Taslima Nasrin responds to her Book ban + comment in Outlook

Harsh Kapoor aiindex at mnet.fr
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 
for women.

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 
personal history.

     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 
includes showing
                 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
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.

URL: www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20031128&fname=taslima&sid=1

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