"Here in India, I again feel like an outsider’
Sanghita Singh, DNAINDIA.COM , February 21, 2007
Taslima Nasreen has been in exile for the past 12 years. Though she has found her new recourse in Kolkata, the fiery writer finds the city a far cry from home. "It hurts me that the people who supported me in India when I spoke out against Islam are the ones who want to censor my freedom of speech and expression now," said Taslima Nasreen at the South Asian Women writers' colloquium.
The author of Lajja, said: "I felt like an outsider in my own country after I wrote Lajja and now here in India, I feel like an outsider again. People don't consider that I belong to this place. Ever since I started writing my columns and started condemning the oppression of women, I was told by editors to stop writing."
“The BJP and RSS that circulated copies of my book are the ones who have picked up the cudgels against me,” she said. "I criticised the age-old oppression against women. My pen is not against any religion but against any tradition that belittles women. When I talked about those openly, they lashed out against me," she said. Taslimna, who was particularly vocal about the banning of Deepa Mehta's 'Water', faced the flak of fundamentalists who asked her to go back. "When I spoke about protecting our right to freedom of expression when they wanted to ban 'Water', the BJP and RSS branded me a foreigner," she said.
Talking about women writers writing under siege, Taslima described her personal trauma in the last decade or so. "I have been trying to go back to Bangladesh for so long. My father was dying and I couldn't even see him. The government in Bangladesh may have changed but anyone supporting me seems to be taking an anti-Islamic stand. And I don't think any political party is ready for that yet," said an emotionally moved Taslima.