I'll never be silenced: Taslima Nasreen

Written by: Nishitha Mohandas
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“ I, come what may, will not be silenced.
Come what may, I will continue my fight for equality and justice without any compromise until my death.
Come what may, I will never be silenced."

The writer of these words is still fighting for her rights and justice not only for herself but for all of women who are oppressed and denied their rights. Taslima Nasreen is still in the run to find her right place.

Controversies are never new to this Bengali Bangladeshi writer. From the time she began writing about women issues, controversies followed her. Taslima wrote numerous poems, stories, novels and series of columns in news papers which has raised eye brows of religious fundamentalists.

All through her writings she has tried to portray the suffering women.

Taslima stood for the freedom of expression especially of women which resulted in numerous threats to her life . In 1993 she wrote a series of columns in which she criticized the treatment of women in Islam which in turn resulted in declaring Bounty of Rs 500000 for beheading her.

The statement that 'Kuran has to be revived' lit the first controversy. Though she denies this statement, the issue was raised by Bangladeshi Islamist Fundamentalist, which forced her to flee from her home in 1994. She first sought asylum in Sweden, where she stayed for many years before coming to Kolkata.

From then on, she faced numerous death threats from Islamists Fundamentalists in India and Bangladesh.

The Bangla govt claimed first four volumes of her autobiography as 'anti-Islamic' and banned it. Later her book Lajja(Shame) which focus on the Hindu -Muslim rivalry and the danger faced by Hindus in Bangladesh was also banned.

In 2007, the All India Ittehad Millat Council of Bareilly UP offered 500000 rupees for her beheading. The only way of escape for Taslima Nasreen is to apologise and burns her books.

In August 2007, she was attacked at the Hyderabad Press Club in Andhra Pradesh. She was there for the launch of her book 'Shodh' in Telugu. Three MLAs of the All India Majilis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) party were among those who attacked her with bouquets, flower pots and chairs.

On November 22, 2007 she again became a prey of religious rage. Taslima was forced to leave Kolkata due to a violent agitation by several Muslim groups, demanding a stay on further extension of her Indian visa. She was moved to Rajasthan, but fearing another agitation govt asked her to leave.

The winner of Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1994 and the Humanist Award (by the International Humanist and Ethical Union) 1996 , Taslima continues to face the rage of Islamists fundamentalists.

She is now in an undisclosed location in New Delhi and 'Y' category security is provided to her by the Government of India. But Taslima is still longing to go home. She said to media. “Kolkata is my second home, I want to go back to my home."

Even the Indian Government and West Bengal govt are taking cautious steps regarding her stay in India and Visa revival. Her visa is valid till Feb 18, 2007. She had applied for Indian citizenship which is still pending.

More voices like her has to come up to give women the place she deserves........

The author of Meyebela(the word Nasreen used to describe Girlhood) who stand for women's rights is continuing her fight.

To sum-up let me quote her words here...

" There's nothing ahead but a river
and I know how to swim.
Why shouldn't I go?
I' ll go..........."
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