I had once tried to go through Taslima‘s famous novel ‘Lajja’. I was in my village for few days and I had nothing to read. My cousin Alok had given me the book that was a Hindi translation of her book in Bengali. Somehow I didn’t find that interesting. I couldn’t ascertain if that due to a bad translation or that was because of her style. Over the years, Taslima has become famous rather controversial for wrong reasons. Because of fear of her life, she left her own country and lived for some years abroad. She then came back to Kolkata and started living there.
Few months ago, I saw her on TV getting assaulted in Hyderabad when she was attending a literary function. Was that not cowardice an act against a woman whom Indian culture claims to respect? Could those cowards do the same for someone who is really damaging the social fabrics of the country and still roam around freely? I got shocked to find that happening in an Indian city. I felt pity when I saw Taslima with fear clearly written on her face while getting driven in a taxi to the hotel in Rajasthan, West Bengal exiled her from Kolkata and asked her to move to Rajasthan because of the pressure from the minority community that demanded it. I got amazed and started questioning its rationality. How can any civilized society disown her? Bengalis were never like that. After all, Taslima is a writer. And how rightly she claims, “You may dislike my writings and my contentions, but you can’t deny me the space to write and lead a normal life free of fear and persecution”? Where were the intellectuals of West Bengal, when Taslima had to leave Kolkata? How could Buddha, himself a man of letters, order or agree for such an action? Has CPM become so much dependent on the vote bank of the few in the minority? What a shame for the people and women of the state for whom I had a lot of respect? Can we be proud with this action in this largest democracy of the world? Can Bengali be proud of this action of their government?
And let us look at the irresponsible media that provides all information such as the flight number with seat details, destination, and address of the hotel where she stayed. Don’t the reporter and the publisher understand its consequences that can harm her?
For the first time perhaps BJP, RSS, and Modi took a right stand to invite her and provide all the security. I wish they kept on taking such decisions and permit Fida Hussain to come back to his homeland. If UK could shelter and provide security to Rusdie, why can’t West Bengal do that for Taslima?
It is good that the government of India has finally decided to provide shelter and security to Taslima. Let this nation of one billion be not afraid of taking the right and rational humane decisions. And West Bengal must invite her back, as she finds Kolkata more homely. She can’t be an outcast.