Writer Sujit Datta defends Taslima Nasreen

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New Delhi, Nov 28: Writer Sujit Datta today slammed the fundamentalist forces hounding Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, and said her advocacy of women's liberation automatically leads her to question not only Islam but all religions.

''The noise from the Muslims is more because that brand of religion has a greater propensity for volatile and juvenile response,'' he said while talking to the sources.  Taslima, who was living in exile in Kolkata, had to flee the city after Muslim organisations protested against her and demanded  to deport the writer to Bangladesh.

According to Datta, there are three myths surrounding Taslima: Number one is that she has been deliberately insulting the Prophet and inviting the wrath of the Muslims, and secondly she is against Islam, and thirdly majority of society, comprising the secular, progressive and radical elements was with her, and would like to defend her freedom of expression.

However, the clear fact is that, as Taslima has repeatedly asserted, she has nothing to do specifically with Islam and her subject was women's liberation.  Islam, like all other religions, is biased against women, and if someone has to talk of women's freedom from male domination, there is no way one can do that without attacking the Prophet who symbolises the wisdom of Islam, he said.

''It makes a queer logic that a religion can hurt the sentiments and self-esteem of half the population, viz., the women, by collectively making them subservient to the other half, but none in the brutalised half can retaliate in the fear that it might hurt the sentiments of the brutalizing half,'' he added.

''The Shariat can lay down that women must hide their faces from the world unless they want to get raped, but the women must not question the sanity of the man who laid down this rule. This is blatantly absurd,'' he said sarcastically. Taslima, Datta says, was not about religion per se, but her real identity lied in asserting the right of space of an independent female sexuality.

In Freudian terms, the battle between Taslima and her detractors was over the mother's right of choice.Incidentally, a patriarchal society's resistance to the mother's right of choice is symbolised and codified in the religion that the society follows. Taslima, therefore, has attacked almost all faiths in her writings --- The Hinduism, Islam and the Christianity.

He says all males brought up amid patriarchal ethics have morbid fear of female sexuality, a remnant of the Oedipal fear of the bad mother. ''There is no Indian man who does not develop a cramp when faced with female sexuality sans patriarchal control. It is  inconceivable that a Bengali intellectual's heart would go out for Taslima when she talks of a married woman's right to decide whose child she wishes to bear,'' he said.

The intelligentsia was for female freedom of a desexualised, desensitised variety which basically aims at enlarging the capitalist production economy by bringing women in its fold, he said. ''Taslima is all right as long as she wants women to be engineers, pilots or prime ministers and protests against beatings or exploitation. But she talks of sexuality and female body, putting the carefully groomed faÇade of the Indian intellectual to a real test. The apologetic response of the civil society substantiates this,'' he added.


UNI

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