Saturday, November 24, 2007

Taslima Nasreen - OMG

Like most modern platforms - the blog too is unsafe and insecure. This is what I just discovered after inadvertently leaving a comment on another blog - greatbong. The main comment was appreciating a post on the situation in West Bengal - a small after thought was about Taslima Nasreen's presense in Kolkata. So right now even as the hounds are baying for my blood - I shall make an attempt to state my views on Taslima from an immigration point of view - since I write on immigration matters and have some understanding about it. Firstly, the majority of Taslima's supporters - at least on greatbong's blog - are not liberal Leftists but rather the Hindutva brigade. What I gather is that the latter is a very aggressive group who given a chance would bulldoze anyone that comes in their way and reduce them to pulp. Their political opinion has no place for tolerance.
Moving on to Taslima, she enjoys UN refugee status and hence a country like India is in no position to force her to leave. But given the various law and order issues that West Bengal and other states have, I feel a person like her who is a self proclaimed humanist and human rights activist should leave for another country in the West which is better equipped to give her the high level security that she obviously needs. I don't think the government of West Bengal can afford to notch up a huge bill in providing her security and dealing with riots that may occur because of her presence in Kolkata. I'm sure in certain European countries, there is no likelihood of riots because of Taslima but in India it is very likely. Obviously rioting cannot be condoned and should be dealt with aheavy hand. But as experience has shown us, it is always better to avoid riots than deal with them when they happen. The huge loss of lives and suffering that accompanies rioting is absolutely avoidable at all costs, even if it means politely asking Taslima to leave. Also if there's money to spare - instead of using it for Taslima's security - why not use it for the uplift of the girl child in India's villages? Or even for relief to women who are victims of the cyclone in Bangladesh. My very personal opinion is that Taslima is a publicity hungry intellectual - who is putting her own safety at stake by remaining in India. If she moved to say Norway for instance, she would be safer but obviously less visible. That seems to be her main problem. When we come to the issue of granting permanent resident status to her, like all other countries India has the liberty to choose its immigrants. The US even cancelled the short-term visit visa of Narendra Modi because they perceived him to be a threat to peace - so why cant India ask Taslima to leave because she's a threat to peace?
Finally, I cant bring myself to equate Taslima with Salman Rushdie on the grounds that Rushdie is great writer while Nasreen is at best mediocre. Rushdie is a Booker winner and the creator of a new genre in English literature. Surely we cant put him and Nasreen on the same platform. And in any case, India is not offering permanent residence to Rushdie - so why Taslima? If we were to take on the responsibility of granting political amnesty to everyone who's prosecuted by Muslim fundamentalists, we would increase our population by many millions. Do we really have the resources to do that?


Anonymous said...

lol.. princess:
you are ridiculous. Granting support and protection to a woman speaking out against the crimes of Islam is a burden on India???

and Millions of Bangladeshi jihadis being given ration cards by pseudo secular parties, not??

Either you are very naive living in your own coterie of a pseudo-intellectuals or just painfully mailicious.

ishani said...

I dont support illegal immigrant to any country. The mechanism to deport illegal immigrants should be strong globally. Also, there should be social campaigns among economically weaker sections of people to educate them about the risks of illegal immigration. Examples are the campaigns being carried out the the British High Commission and the Italian Embassy in Punjab.

Priyank said...

Comeon Ishani, thats hypocrisy. If MF Hussain can paint nude goddess, yet live freely in this country, why should Talisma, having done something thats even less expressive, be treated separately? As long as we treat Hindus and Muslims by different yardsticks, these problems will never end. There will be another Talisma in no time.

ishani said...

I'm glad you raised the issue of MF Husain - was planning to do myself. He's one of India's best known painters and today when he is 90+ he has to live in exile away from the country in Dubai.The goverenment has done nothing to ensure his safety and ask him to return - so why Taslima, who's not even an Indian? If you compare talent - Hussain is way above Taslima, who's at best a mediocre writer.

New Jersey Raj said...

From Rajesh: The Princeton Perspective

I read my childhood friend Ishani’s comments about Taslima Nasreen’s asylum situation in India and I must admit that I whole-heartedly agree with her viewpoint – notwithstanding some bleeding heart (and misguided) comments on the contrary from some of your knee-jerk liberal readers. Get a grip guys – this woman is a drain on taxpayers’ money in India. This has nothing to do with the Hindu-Muslim dynamics. I don’t know if you guys remember that even the Brits complained bitterly about the high cost of providing security to Salman Rushdie. (Now, of course, we have him in Manhattan where he is gallivanting around – possibly trolling for his eighth wife after Padma Laxmi dumped him - LOL – thank god that Fatwa has been lifted and we - as American Taxpayers - don’t have to pay for his security detail.)

I feel sorry for Taslima for the persecution that she faced from her folks in Bangladesh and all that – however, we must draw the line – India gave her asylum and spent a lot of taxpayers’ money on her security – hate to say this - it’s time to let go. In some ways, IMHO she overstayed her welcome in India (she even dissed the Hindus in some of her recent writings – talk about being ungrateful) – must tell you though – this woman lacks commonsense (or she is too artsy to acknowledge it – LOL) – I ran into her in 2005 during Bango Sammelan in Manhattan and she royally annoyed the North American Bengali Community by acting all hoity-toity and by trying to recite some stupid poem.

Once again – I agree with Ishani – let Taslima go to Norway or some other ultra liberal European country – she can make some serious cash by hitting the lecture circuit and move on with her life. In the mean time, in India – the folks in India can spend the money (that we would have spent on her security detail) by helping the cyclone victims in Bangladesh – my 2 cents guys

ishani said...

Thanks Raj, you're the first person to support me. Besides my blog, I'm getting tons of hate reactions from my very good friends too. I would again like to say that I only recommend that Taslima be politely asked to move to a safer and more logical location - not forced, which anyway the Indian govt or any other govt that's a member of UN can do. If she doesn't choose to move on, the Indian taxpayer will be forced to pay for her security. In fact, there's a high security alert in Delhi these days - which actually means that I am less secure than Taslima Nasreen is in India, despite paying a large percentage of my hard earned money as taxes. Also want to re-clarify on MF Hussain, who's not in India and the Indian government is not providing him any security at all or getting him back. He's a 90+ painter, very well-known globally, living in exile - and he is most definitely of INDIAN citizenship.

ishani said...

I'm sorry - no member of UN can force Taslima to leave - her status allows her to live in any UN country of her choosing.

drift wood said...

Hi ishani,
First, pls accept my apologies for directing u towards RTDM where abusing commentators with dissenting views seems the norm these days. In fact, it’s merely a microcosmic reflection of the malady that has crippled us at a larger level as well – absolute intolerance & no patience with plurality.
Having said that, here’s what I think abt ur blog. U make sense when we view the decision to ask taslima to leave from a purely economic POV but my (& most others’ I gather) problem is that such economic good sense was not the prime factor that necessitated the decision to put her on a midnight flight to rajasthan. That was a clear instance of a political party kowtowing to the basest kind of minority appeasement, esp. in the light of what it sees as its worst erosion of minority votes in several decades. I’d find this reprehensible in any party, but more so in a party whose Marxist credentials clearly reject any religious bias. If only the party had acted out of a sense of responsibility towards the citizens, I’d have embraced the decision.
Also, it’s irrelevant to compare the professional aesthetics of a hussain or rushdie or taslima or the dutch cartoonist. There r no imperatives in art & the artist exhibits a world of his own & is free to give full expression to it. It is the Indian government’s shame that it failed to bring hussain back & has definitely set a bad precedent. After bearing the brunt of islamic fundamentalism globally, I think all of us shudder to think of a similar militant hindutva model which decides which artist should be banned & who should be published. If we wish to avoid that, we need to clearly spell out to ALL fundamentalists that it is they who should apply for visas to those countries where men are castrated if they own up to homosexuality & woman are forbidden to drive!

ishani said...

I do agree with you that a sudden knee-jerk reaction in forcing Taslima to move from destination to destination is not in keeping with the Indian and West Bengal govt's democratic image. I also endorse artistic freedom - however, is artistic freedom a reality in the world today? So if I write or paint something which forces me to leave my homeland and become a fugitive for the rest of my life - am I really free - besides, am I making any impact? In the process, others too become insecure and unsafe. Don't artists and writers have a certain responsibility in not creating law and order problems through their writings & painitings etc - MF Hussain included? Taslima's writings have an impact in Bengal - in the sense that people appreciate her - however, is she making any impact at all back home in Bangladesh? I wonder? In the end, in her case, why is she writing? I get the sense that she wants to make social impact - but is she managing to do that at all? Of course, I'm glad you raised the issue of the Dutch cartoonist - don't you think that the kind of adverse impact that was created, should have been avoided? Wasn't the political price too high to pay for artistic freedom?

ishani said...

Also while there's artistic freedom - people who are not artists but common law abiding folks, don't they also have a certain amount of freedom? And can't they ask for a system without hassles such as daily bandhs, street-fights and traffic disruptions?

Water Engineer said...

Bring Hussain back

Pity no extradition proceedings have been initiated to bring MF Hussain to stand trial in Indian courts.

Anyway, he has not been denied entry into India,

WHY, oh WHY, does he not come?