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Taslima Nasreen: A Controversial Writer

17 August, 2007

By Tanveer Jafri

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Taslima Nasreen, a 45 years writer of Bangladesh origin, has been getting fame as a controversial writer for the last one and half decade. I desired to write about Taslima for many years but I was in a fix to what to write about her personality or about her scribble. Because just like her near and dear ones, I have also the same opinion on this issue i.e. Taslima is either a brave woman or a very silly person. Taslima was born in a respectable family & her father was a physician professor in a medical college in Bangladesh & her mother a religious simple housewife. Taslima's father wasn't so much orthodox about the Islami thoughts but at the same time he didn't believe in the religious criticism just as Taslima did. Now the question is why Taslima adopted so much revolutionary thoughts on the Islam religion, the Islamic teachings & the condition of women in Islam religion. To know all this, it is necessary to look into the early life of Taslima.

As Taslima has herself given a detail of it that many a time, in her childhood, her own relatives had harassed her sexually. It may be that she might not have taken it seriously in her childhood, but later on when she realized that whatever had happened to her was unsocial, unmoral & irreligious. She began to hate the religion & religious teaching of those sinners instead of hating the sinners. Taslima felt that women are being exploited sexually everywhere in the world. Being a Muslim woman, she began to feel that the Muslim women are the most exploited women among the women of the world. Although her sexual exploitation didn't end in Bangladesh in her childhood. A few years back Taslima accused a respectable writer of Kolkata for it that he has established relation with her bodily. Happening of such incidents in the personal life of Taslima & to reveal them herself & get it published through her articles or books, on one excuse or the other & to link them directly with a religion to disgrace it proves something else. By showing herself an expert in the religious criticism compels one to think that in reality Taslima is a brave writer or a fool.

In Asian countries the women have occupied a different place in comparison to those of the Europe or America. In Asia specially in Middle Asian or South Asian countries, the women are seen at the very high esteem. Shame, modesty & veil like thinking have been directly associated with the women. This is the reason that sex & having sexual relations are not commonly discussed. At such time the open confession of Taslima to give detail of such happening occurred in her life reveals her personal manners but it also hurts our tardyons & assumptions. The happenings occurred in the personal life of Taslima are not her individuals. Thousands of the women in the world like as Taslima Nasreen become a prey of body exploitation even in the worse ways. Even as some bad characters kill the women after the evil deeds. Now days, it is heard that some innocent girls in their childhood are falling in the wrong hands. No religion or its teachings be held responsible for such mental disabilities. These mentally handicap or mad persons can be found in any religion, country, class or community. Then is it proper to associate these personal matters with a religion or religious teachings & to criticize that.

Taslima has been awarded many a time for her free writing in India, Bangladesh, Sweden, Norway, America, Belgium, France, Germany, and Britain & European Parliament. She has got many awards from the government & non-government institutions in many countries. Many universities in the world have awarded the Doctrate degrees of their university to Taslima. Usually, in Europe & America those Asian writers are seen with respect who dare to criticize & spit poison against their religion & society. Such writers are given many degrees, medals & awards. They are presented as the heroes of freedom of expression. Salman Rushdie & Taslima Nasreen are among so called brave writers.

On the last August 9, Taslima Nasreen was attacked at the time when she was in Hyderabad, capital of Andhra Pradesh in India. She was there to take part in a function in the Press Club in Hyderabad. She had come there to take part in the function held on the occasion of inauguration of the translated publication in Telugu language of her book 'Shodh.' The sorrowful aspect of this attack was that besides the other persons involved in attack three Members of Legislative Assembly were also physically involved. These members belonged to a regional political organization All India Majlise Ittehadul Muslemin. These persons attacked Taslima Nasreen by throwing flower pots, vases, heavy books, chairs etc. on her, when the media persons came to rescue Taslima & closed the door of her room. The angry assaulters broke the door of the room. According to Taslima she was face to face with the death at that time. The thoughts that came to her were that these assaulters would shoot her or would behead her. But in this atmosphere of fear, the role played by the media persons was praiseworthy & beyond description as the police was not present at the spot so the media persons had to do this job. Both the assaulters and media persons were injured.

As the criticisms of Islam by Taslima Nasreen cannot be called just similarly the actions by the self styled custodians of Islam are not justified. An attack by hundreds of men on a woman & a try to kill her is inhuman. After that their feeling of sorry, that they could not succeed in their mission & to warn Taslima to be careful about her life in future & threaten to kill her, are anti-Islamic & irreligious thoughts. Such cruel incidents are responsible for establishing Taslima as a revolutionary writer. Such incidents work to make her a hardcore revolutionary of her such thoughts.

So where as Taslima Nasreen shouldn't criticize any religion or a great man of a religion, there as any fundamentalist or any organization have no right to issue a religious order to kill a woman or try to kill. Happening of such incidents in a secular & democratic country like India is a subject to worry. Writing or criticism should be reciprocated in the same way & never in violence. There should be strict action against such assaulters. At the same time Taslima Nasreen should keep in mind that freedom of expression doesn't allow to hurt the feelings of any community. Just as MF Husain is a famous painter of the world but he has no right to hurt the feelings of any community by drawing unclad pictures of Gods & Goddesses of any religion.

Reader Comments:

MBBS for Islam or Against Islam via Writers Like T N T(trade)

Taslima Nasreen MBBS and Dr Israr Ahmed MBBS have both in Common their MBBS
Medical Certificates.They are University Certified Medical Doctors ( by education).Dr Israr Ahmed have hidden talent in developing or diagnosing Islamic Surahs which came out of heaven.I know I sampled it from Him and his student working doctors MBBS MRCP and yet Another one MBBS FRCS and I being working Engineers in EU America
Mideast which suddenly stopped due to Taslima Nasreen and Rusdie Coming.Taslima Nasreen and Rushdie give sweeping statement working with fossil death Oil looting arrogant squandering asset managers.I know I have been kept in court entire life wasting time with Their worthless court worthless judges worthless business men in oil water meaningless democracy.As a 75-90 cigarette smoker suddenly I felt as if I have cancer and help came from Heaven.I quit all above 30 yrs ago and regained health instantly and
Learned what these pro Surah doctors had to say in their quick tafsir teaching in small
Batches in Masjid or in somebody’s home by special invitation.Taslima Nasreen and Rusdie rhetoric is null and void. Think Islam as a Party leader Prophet and his 4 cabinet
Ministers who later became party leader themselves amid criteria of election dispute.
As one party leader next came Has Aback R/U for 2-3 yrs Has Omer R/U who defeated Romans including Hercules for 12 yrs has Othman R/U for 12 yrs and Has Ali R/U 5 yrs
When Islam already spread and started going NSEWest leading to 2,3 4 5 -1500 million today.While Islam is a methodology to develop Election Criteria for selection of leaders
Amid solution for food water population growth environment protection world enjoy reading junk from the likes of Taslima Nasreen Rusdie and other alcoholic common sinners and asset eaters while some finance them and some try to hunt them down.

Z Billo, United Arab Emirates - 18 August, 2007


With due respect, I am not commenting on the thoughts you put in in the article. I agree to some, disagree to some. But I would beg you you to start writing in English (what you have written above is more of a jumble of words). Don't take it as an offence. I am only being sincere.

Anto Chakko, Hungary - 18 August, 2007

freedom of expression and social responsibility

The article by Tanveer Jafri criticizing attack on talima nasreen by the fundamentals is very apt. However, he is trying to unnecessarily appease the orthodox fundamentals by advicing nasreen not to offend the religious sentiments. Tasleema has simply highlighted the social and living conditions of women and the minorities in Bangla Desh, which does not amount to blasphemy and is not at all offensive to religious sentiments as such. She cannot be compared to M. Hussain or the Danish cartoonist who served no social purpose but merely offended the religious sentiments. It will be offence to paint nude portraits of hindu goddess but there is nothing wrong in attacking the harmful hindu practices of dowry, sati etc. We must draw a distinction between social issues affecting mankind and mere lampooning and ridiculing of scriptures without justification.

g.k. ajmani, Hungary - 18 August, 2007

Tanveer Jafri has very rightly commented that the fundamentals have no right to issue fatwa to kill tasleema nasreen but has also advised her and others like M.Hussain not to offend the religious sentiments. I feel that the author has failed to draw distiction between literary work dwelling on social and economic issues and those merely offending religious sentiments without justification. I feel that tasleem nasreen has highlighted the miserable conditions of women and minorities, though religious fundamentals may feel offended. Unlike her, M. Hussain's paintings of unclad hindu goddesses serve no social purpose and have no positive contibution. Similarly the danish cartoonist offended the religious sentients of muslims without any justification and purpose and has to be condemned by all right thinking persons.

g.k.ajmani, Hungary - 18 August, 2007

Taslima Award -Prize in Anti Islam Eviction from Hyderabad

Why would any one issue fatwa? Why People of Hyderabad including 3 MPs rush to harm TN or so many admirer of Cartoon Controversy award prize to Taslima .i.e. India, Sweden, Norway, America, Belgium, France, Germany, and Britain & European Parliament. Then there are Rushdie Microfinance loan guy to purchase car shop in lieu of zakat qard hasana personal finance of EU and world banks when the Holy prophet had gone through micro finance giriviih with high street Jew.Conpiracy to defraud comes with award I suppose .Can any one point out any cause for award or if there is innovation for Nobel or PhD?

Ben_z _m, Bahrain - 19 August, 2007

Majlise Ittehadul Muslemin

I have lived in Hyderabad. The Majlise Ittehadul Muslemin(MIM) is a party which finds support only in the backward Charminar area of the city. The city, including the most of the Muslims and others, are a model of harmony and inter-faith exchanges. Exchanges are on a daily basis. Every tea shop is a meeting point of people of both religions. Every street has shops belonging to both communities named after Sai Baba, a Sufi saint followed by so many millions of Hindus and Muslims. Lots of bakeries belong to Muslims and are decorated for Christmas. Next to Charminar is a Sufi place frequented by so many people of all faiths, esp. tourists who get blessings from Sufis and donate some money to them. Who does not visit the Charminar, one of the prides of India? Who does not like Salar Jung Museum, one of the best in India, with ancient to more recent artifacts from many countries? Most people enjoy the Hyderabadi Biryani. Hyderabadi Urdu is not refined like ours (I am from north India), but the people are good at heart. A few MIM types are not representative of the great city.

Dayal, Hungary - 20 August, 2007

Taslima Nasreen

women like Taslima should be admired and appreciated since intellectually impotent muslim societies have produced few such women(or even men!)who dare to think,speak and interpret religion differently.
Merits and demerits of Taslima's litrary work are debatable and will surely be debated for long time but nobody can deny her courage in holding mirror to the unholly lobby of preachers(who disguise themselves as believers)with their ugly faces and long beareds which keep swaying with the direction of wind.. right,left,forward and then backwards.
I am sure Taslim will be amply rewarded by the grace of Almighty not only in this world but also on the Day of Judgement for her solo and maiden efforts.
Keep it up Taslima!

kilo tiger, Pakistan - 21 August, 2007


With due regards to author of the given article and the commentator, I feel that not only this but several other articles that are on some very good topics worthy of a review & credible discussion in an educated environment on this forum become lost due to lack of competency in Egnlish language.
I strongly recommend that in order to pass along the concentrate of the messages that are written by various authors on this site be edited thoroughly by the authors and if needed with the aid of those who can be relied upon for their competency in English prior to being published.
Please do not take this comment as an offense to your sincere attempts to cover a subject of interest to you and how you see it in your opinion.
May God bless us all, ameen.

Chakka Khan, Pakistan - 21 August, 2007

Islam and multiple interpretations:

Islam a religion of peace is so often misinterpreted by various writers.
Islam is about Humanity and rights of all humans and animals. The faith does not promote demeaning or abuse of women, children or men in any shape or form.
It is one faith which has stipulations regarding the rights and duties.
The word "orthodox" should not be used to describe various versions of the faith of Islam that have been asumed by human mind some 1500 years later.
There is only one message and it is how it is entirely and thoroughly covered by the scripture of Holy Quran.
There are good, bad and ugly in every faith as well as among ethiests. If someone claiming to be Muslim transgresses against another in the name of faith that should not become the reason to mutilate the original message, the message which is once and forever. It is the failure of ummah that some fail to interpret the commandments in an appropriate context and either rule or act based on their misinterpretations and then some, who are affected appear on the horizon of media promoting "versions" of the faith of Islam forgetting that Islam and the revelation which descended close to 1500 years ago carried a message NOT ONLY for the people of Muslim/Islamic faith BUT for the entire mankind. As one should remember specially if they are followers of the faith of Islam that, Allah SWT (God the Almighty) is "Rub-ul-alameen" not specifically "Rub-ul-muslimeen".
The modernization of Islam was never limited however the parameters, the boundaries and the limits are explained for those who are blessed with a mind with vision.
Back in the day people used to travel on the backs of animals but Islam never prohibited humans to research and develop the modern machines they ride on today.
The exploration of the universe, the sun the moon and the stars is itself mentioned in the scripture, now it is upto those who wish to conduct such exploration and research on the subject while those who were blessed with the message failed to become involved in any more than pointing fingers over each other, employ dirty politics and being selfish, this is not what the deen of Islam advised them to do but they did so out of their own ambitions and at their own initiative, yet they forget the message of scripture again that, they shall remain accountable to the Almighty Creator in the day of judgement and all that is concealed and apparent shall be judged by HIM.
(anything that is an error in the foregoing is my fault, may Allah SWT forgive me for my shortcomings, ameen)

Matloob Zaman, Pakistan - 21 August, 2007

South Indian Muslims TN and Saibaba

I was in person and In vicinity of Hyderabad Bangalore Mysore to Kerala in less than 8 weeks ago as I was In East India North India and West India.Muslim Society is complex.
I went to EU to Canada to attend court of August 3,2007.Only the look of Muslim is inexpensive.I visited the most expensive area of relatives to Charminar type Bustees or Bengali Bustee.Muslim is so complex that Urdu developed in Bengali Kolkatta and
Pakistan Muslim League in Dhaka where 3 million attend 3 day seminar of Islam in Lungi dhoti pyjama and Putloon.Muslim have had been competitive with above look
And life style.Muslim Society in general are healthy free from sickly disease with least
Glamour life style.None Muslim society who overnight acquired car petrol airplane expensive look can be traced with the coming of Israel and oil sheiks.With them came
Burqa Bearded look British Raj grim out look of Mirza Ghalib amid decline of Mughal.
Rushdie Had fatwa by Imam Khomeini who without the look or expense of Shah Iran
Produced competitive Mullah of Iran while Shah sheik sultan gave the expensive extravagance lifestyle to American European Japanese Korean via oil .Dr Taslima Nasreen has failed to practice MBBS like Dr Israr Ahmed who has expertise in religion with MBBS.Impotent Muslim society ? The fatwa of “Impotent” declaration seem sweeping statement without basis.Taslima Nasreen Rusdie know nothing about Islam or
Islamic society .Their Rhetoric with army of infidel seem due to some kind of grudge or heavy finance and favour bestowed upon them in criticizing Islam.MIM or whoever issued fatwa or dunda against Rushdie and Taslima Nasreen in all my imagination can
Be justified and inexpensive bearded loose pyjama look of umma is changing rapidly
Hopefully for glorious future.
Saibaba Pir fakir durgah in Islam is pollution like cancer which need to be operated out.Islam Quran Hadith know nothing.

Z.Billo, United Arab Emirates - 22 August, 2007


Can you please rewrite what you are attempting to say, I believe you have a good message there however it is becoming lost in the ups & downs of language.
I would like to understand your point before making a comment.
Thank you.

Matloob Zaman, Pakistan - 22 August, 2007

freedom of expression and social responsibility

Very well said Mr or Ms Ajmani, this is what I always think about and get lost when people involved in severe anti-social & anti-civil acts claim Civil Rights.
I always believe that Civil Rights should be claimed by or accorded to people who abide by civilized ethics and manners, not when they commit anti civil or anti civic acts.
Similarly the rights and privileges of Freedom of Speech & Freedom of Press also should be claimed by those who act within the limits of civility and express themselves accordingly not merely to gain exposure in the media.
Thanks again for your point.

Matloob Zaman, Pakistan - 22 August, 2007

Condemning the Assault on Literacy

Let me first condemn the assault on anti- Islam writer Taslima Nasreen. The label attributed on her being a Muslim reformist writer is a misnomer. Such pretensions should be unmasked dealing with characters like Miss Nasreen. She is not the first writer that comes under the bracket of anti- Islam writer. Such writers have started surfacing in Europe since 15th and 16th century. Ad Islam spread across the globe the tribe of such writers grew in number. So there is nothing new about Ms Nasreen’s action. She should be approached with this position and none should get trapped in her Islamic name thats just an illusion.

Having said that, I must condemn those who tried to bodily assault Ms Nasreen. This is not the way a true Muslim would conduct against those who denigrate their faith. The stories of Prophet of Islam dealing with such people are perfect example to emulate. The messenger of Islam never hit any one who abused his religion. So the over zealous followers of Islam who tried assault this anti- Islam writer has not done any service to the religion. They rather discredited it of being an intolerant faith. In this universe there is enough space for those who follow Islam and also those who abuse it.

Now let me make some quick moral points. To me the duty of respecting the religious beliefs of others overrides the privileges of freedom of expression. This is simply because human dignity and respect should be the corner stone of all of human actions.

The liberal and inconsiderate body of literature that inflict deep wounds in the hearts and minds of millions of people can not be justified as a right to freedom of expression.

The above position does not stand true for the Islamic faith alone but also for the believers of other religious faiths.

It would be highly offensive for a Brahmin to applaud a cartoon that shows a group of Brahmins having roast beef for dinner.

Likewise it would be terribly repugnant for a liberal to appreciate the cartoon that shows the Taliban being honored for blowing up the statue of Buddha.

An expression that denigrate, dehumanize and deny the historical reality of some ones religious belief can not pass as a right to freedom of expression.

The human society as it moves on its infinite journey continues to grapple with the finality of such issues. The clash between the follower of a faith and those who abuse it is nothing new. The final judgment on such issues could never be pronounced. Let us hope and pray that a civilized society emerges where our conscience will allow us to recognize the fine line between expressing ourselves freely without hurting others.

An after thought to this episode I wish to add that I have worked as a reporter for three years in Hyderabad. I can locate the places in the twin city and i realize that the press club in Hyderabad is very close to a police station. Its about two kilometers from "lakri ko pool" the police control headquarter of the city.

Why the organizers did not made adequate security arrangement before conducting a function like this. I am sure they know fully well that their city has a sizable Muslim population and they have their sensitivity towards this author. Why did not the organizers made enough security arrangement to check unwanted people coming to their function.

Why such people were allowed to enter their premise in the first place. It makes me to speculate that this could be part of a set piece devised by the author and the organizers to gain publicity and mileage through this function. They must have anticipated this may snowball in this way and once that happen and actually that happened Taslima would be in the limelight once again.

The 24/7 electronic media is going bonkers. They have got action packed juicy visuals and they are playing it over and over again. The author has scored maligning Islam and its followers once again. Well in doubt i trust.

Shokat Saleem, Georgia - 27 August, 2007

taslima nasreen

on further knowlege, I understand Taslima Nasreen has also written objectionable material against Islamic beliefs and she also is to be conemned. The books like Lajja, Satanic Verses, Danish cartoonis work all need be banned and the authors must be punished under Law. kindly modify my comments omments

g. k. ajmani, Hungary - 14 September, 2007

Any Muslim who is prepared to condemn Islam is sure to come into limelight on support from Islamophobists, Taslima or Rushdie has no talent to controbute to real literary achievements and as such they want to score through attacks on islam only. The writer of the article in question is least conversant with Bengali as a result he is mot aware of the fact that none of the write-up of the condemed writer has drawn appreciation from the Bengali literary circle. More so if someone has the right to freedom of expressionm others also have freedom to practice the faith of their choice which cannot be made subject to condemnation. Taslima is never getting fame but gaining notoriety even by those who favoured her most.

Al-Haque, Hungary - 07 December, 2007

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