My life, like a sandbar,
has been taken over by a monster of a man
who wants my body under his control
so that, if he wishes,
The fellow who sits in the air-conditioned office
is the one who in his youth raped
a dozen or so young girls,
and, at cocktail parties, is secretly stricken with lust,
Women spend the afternoon squatting on the porch,
picking lice from each other's hair.
They spend the evening feeding the little ones,
lulling them to sleep in the glow of the bottle lamp.
Let all of you together find a fault with me,
at least a fault you all jointly work out,
or else, a harm shall befall you.
I'm going to move ahead.
Behind me my whole family is calling,
My child is pulling my sari-end,
My husband stands blocking the door,
When I die, leave my corpse there.
There where they vivisect dead bodies,
In the mortuary of the Medical College.
Am I so dangerous a criminal, so vicious an enemy of humanity,
Such a traitor to my country that I can't have a homeland to call my own?
So that my land will snatch away from the rest of my life my homeland?
Blindly from the northern to the southern hemisphere,
Why wouldn't Eve have eaten of the fruit?
Didn't she have a hand to reach out with,
Fingers with which to make a fist?
How are you
Many days, many thousand of days I don't see you ma,
Many thousand of days I don't hear your voice,
Many thousand of days I don't feel your touch.
I'm compelled to live in such a house
Where I'm forbidden to say 'I like it not'
Though I feel aghast to live in here.
(to Sumit Chakrabarty)
India is not just India, even from before I was born,
India has been my history.
My history, carved into two by daggers of animosity and hatred, running breathlessly towards uncertain possibilities,
The garment girls, walking together,
look like hundreds of birds flying in Bangladesh's sky.
Garments girls, returning to their slums at midnight,
are met by street-vagabonds who grab a few takas from the girls,
If you tell the truth, people get angry,
don't tell the truth anymore, Taslima
This time is not the time of Gallelio.
This is twenty first century,
You're a girl
and you'd better not forget
that when you cross the threshold of your house
men will look askance at you.
Just let them be free to do as they please…
Human nature is such
That if you sit, they'll say, 'No, don't sit.'
If you stand, 'What's the matter? Walk!
And if you walk, 'Shame on you, sit down.!
At the dinner party everyone
Held a glass of champagne or
White wine in their hand.
You are my love's granary,
I pour out my water-steeped fertility
unstintingly, to stop does nor occur to me.
For some years now, I have been standing quite close to death, almost face to face,
Standing dumb before my mother, my father, some dear people,
For some years now.
Away from home,
Away from my dear cat, my books and papers, my friends,
Away from my life,
Taslima Nasrin (Bengali: তসলিমা নাসরিন, Arabic: تسليمة نسرین, Hindi: तसलीमा नसरीन, Toslima Nasrin) is a Bangladeshi author and former physician who has been living in exile since 1994. From a modest literary profile in the late 1980s, she rose to global fame by the end of the 20th century owing to her feminist views and her criticism of Islam in particular and of religion in general. Since fleeing Bangladesh in 1994 she has lived in many countries, and currently (June 2011) lives in New Delhi. She works to build support for secular humanism, freedom of thought, equality for women, and human rights by publishing, lecturing, and campaigning. Her name, Taslima Nasrin, is also spelled Taslima Nasreen. Early Career She was born to Rajab Ali and Idul Ara in the town of Mymensingh in 1962. Her father was a physician, and she followed in his footsteps. Her mother was a devout Muslim. After high school in 1976 (SSC) and higher secondary studies in college (HSC) in 1978, she studied medicine at the Mymensingh Medical College an affiliated medical college of the University of Dhaka and graduated in 1984 with an MBBS degree; in college, she showed a propensity for poetry by writing as well as editing a poetry journal. After graduation, she practiced gynaecology at a family planning clinic in Mymensingh, "where she routinely examined young girls who had been raped," and heard women in the delivery room cry out in despair if their baby was a girl. She was reassigned in 1990 to work in Dhaka. Born into a Muslim family she became an atheist over time. In course of writing she took a feminist approach. In 1982 she fell in love with poet Rudra Mohammad Shahidullah and fled home to marry him; they divorced in 1986. Later she married journalist and editor Nayeemul Islam Khan; they divorced in 1991. In 1991 she married Minar Mahmood, editor of the now defunct weekly Bichinta, they divorced in 1992. Literary Career Until 'Lajja' Early in her literary career, she wrote mainly poetry, and published half a dozen collections of poetry between 1982 and 1993, often with female oppression as a theme, and often containing very graphic language. She started publishing prose in the early 1990s, and produced three collections of essays and four novels before the publication of her 1993 novel Lajja (Bengali: লজ্জা Lôjja), or Shame, in which a Hindu family is persecuted by Muslims. This publication changed her life and career dramatically. Following the publication of Lajja, Nasrin suffered a number of physical and other attacks. She had written against Islamic philosophy, angering many Muslims of Bangladesh, who called for a ban on her novel. In October 1993, an Islamic fundamentalist group called the Council of Islamic Soldiers offered a bounty for her death. In May 1994 she was interviewed by the Kolkata edition of The Statesman, which quoted her as calling for a revision of the Quran; she claims she only called for revision of the Sharia, the Islamic religious law. In August 1994 she was brought up on "charges of making inflammatory statements," and faced death threats from Islamic fundamentalists and religious Muslims. A major religious organization claims her to be a "paid agent" of anti-islamists. A hundred thousand demonstrators called her "an apostate appointed by imperial forces to vilify Islam"; a "militant faction threatened to set loose thousands of poisonous snakes in the capital unless she was executed." After spending two months in hiding, at the end of 1994 she escaped to Sweden, consequently ceasing her medicine practice and becoming a full-time writer and activist. Life in Exile After fleeing Bangladesh in 1994, Nasrin spent the next ten years in exile in the West. She returned to the east and relocated to Kolkata, India, in 2004, where she lived until 2007. After renewed unrest broke out, and after spending several months in hiding, Nasrin left for the West again in 2008. Exile in the West (1994-2004) Leaving Bangladesh towards the end of 1994, Nasrin lived in exile in Western Europe and North America for ten years. Her Bangladeshi passport had been revoked; she was granted citizenship by the Swedish government and took refuge in Germany. She even had to wait for six years (1994–1999) to get a visa to visit India, and never got a Bangladeshi passport to return to the country when her mother, and later her father, were on their death beds. In March 2000, she visited Mumbai to promote a translation of her novel Shodh (translated by Marathi author Ashok Shahane, the book was called Phitam Phat). Secular groups seized upon the occasion to celebrate freedom of expression, while "Muslim fundamentalist groups...threatened to burn her alive." Life in Kolkata (2004-2007) In 2004, she was granted a renewable temporary residential permit by India and moved to Kolkata in the state of West Bengal, which shares a common heritage and language with Bangladesh; in an interview in 2007, after she had been forced to flee, she called Kolkata her home. The government of India extended her visa to stay in the country on a periodic basis, though it refused to grant her Indian citizenship. While living in Kolkata, Nasrin regularly contributed to Indian newspapers and magazines, including Anandabazar Patrika and Desh, and, for some time, wrote a weekly column in the Bengali version of The Statesman. Again her anti-Islam comments met with opposition from religious fundamentalists: in 2006, Syed Noorur Rehaman Barkati, the imam of Kolkata's Tipu Sultan Mosque, admitted offering money to anyone who "blackened [that is, publicly humiliated] Ms Nasreen's face." Even abroad she caused controversy: in 2005, she tried to read an anti-war poem titled "America" to a large Bengali crowd at the North American Bengali Conference at Madison Square Garden in New York City, and was booed off the stage. Back in India, the "All India Muslim Personal Board (Jadeed)" offered 500,000 rupees for her beheading in March 2007. The group's president, Tauqir Raza Khan, said the only way the bounty would be lifted was if Nasrin "apologises, burns her books and leaves." Expulsion from Kolkata On August 9, 2007, Nasrin was in Hyderabad to present the Telugu translation of one of her novels, Shodh, when she was attacked by a mob of violent intruders, led by legislators from the All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen, a Muslim political party. A week later, on August 17, Muslim leaders in Kolkata revived an old fatwa against her, urging her to leave the country and offering an unlimited amount of money to anybody who would kill her. On November 21, Kolkata witnessed a violent protest against Nasrin by Muslims. A protest organized by the militant islamist "All India Minority Forum" caused chaos in the city and forced the army's deployment to restore order. After the riots, Nasrin was forced to move from Kolkata, her "adopted city," to Jaipur, and to New Delhi the following day. House Arrest in New Delhi The government of India kept Nasrin in an undisclosed location in New Delhi, effectively under house arrest, for more than seven months. In January 2008, she was selected for the Simone de Beauvoir award in recognition of her writing on women's rights, but declined to go to Paris to receive the award, fearing that she would not be allowed to re-enter India. She explained that "I don't want to leave India at this stage and would rather fight for my freedom here," but she had to be hospitalized for three days with several complaints. The house arrest quickly acquired an international dimension: in a letter to London-based human rights organisation Amnesty International, India’s former foreign secretary Muchkund Dubey urged the organization to pressure the Indian government so Nasrin could safely return to Kolkata. From New Delhi, Nasrin commented: "I'm writing a lot, but not about Islam, It's not my subject now. This is about politics. In the last three months I have been put under severe pressure to leave [West] Bengal by the police." In an email interview from the undisclosed safehouse, Nasrin talked about the stress caused by "this unendurable loneliness, this uncertainty and this deathly silence." She canceled the publication of the sixth part of her autobiography Nei Kichu Nei ("No Entity"), and—under pressure—deleted some passages from Dwikhondito, the controversial book that was the boost for the riots in Kolkata. She was forced to leave India on March 19, 2008. Current Situation (2011) Nasrin moved to Sweden in 2008 and later worked as a research scholar at New York University. Since, as she claims, "her soul lived in India," she also pledged her body to that country, by awarding it for posthumous medical use to Gana Darpan, a Kolkata-based NGO, in 2005. She eventually returned to India, but was forced to stay in New Delhi as the West Bengal government refused to permit her entry. Recently she got into another controversy throwing comments to Salman Rushdie on a social networking site. Literary Works Nasrin started writing poetry when she was thirteen. While still at college in Mymensingh, she published and edited a literary magazine, SeNjuti ("Light in the dark"), from 1978 to 1983. She published her first collection of poems in 1986. Her second collection, Nirbashito Bahire Ontore ("Banished within and without", 1989) was a big success. She succeeded in attracting a wider readership when she started writing columns in late 1980s, and, in the early 1990s, she began writing novels, for which she has won significant acclaim. In all, she has written more than thirty books of poetry, essays, novels, short stories, and memoirs, and her books have been translated into 20 different languages. Her own experience of sexual abuse during adolescence and her work as a gynaecologist influenced her a great deal in writing about the treatment of women in Islam and against religion in general.. Her writing is characterized by two connected elements: her struggle with the Islam of her native culture, and her feminist philosophy. She cites Virginia Woolf and Simone de Beauvoir as influences, and, when pushed to think of one closer to home, Begum Rokeya, who lived during the time of undivided Bengal. Her later poetry also evidences a connection to place, to Bangladesh and India. Columns and Essays In 1989 Nasrin began to contribute to the weekly political magazine Khaborer Kagoj, edited by her second husband, Nayeemul Islam Khan, and published from Dhaka. Her feminist views and anti-religion remarks articles succeeded in drawing broad attention, and she shocked the religious and conservative society of Bangladesh by her radical comments and suggestions. Later she collected these columns in a volume titled Nirbachita Column, which in 1992 won her first Ananda Purashkar award, a prestigious award for Bengali writers. During her life in Kolkata, she contributed a weekly essay to the Bengali version of The Statesman, called Dainik Statesman. Novels In 1992 Nasrin produced two novellas which failed to draw attention. Her breakthrough novel Lajja (Shame) was published in 1993, and attracted wide attention because of its controversial subject matter. It contained the graphic description of a rape of a Hindu woman by a Muslim man. Initially written as a thin documentary, Lajja grew into a full-length novel as the author later revised it substantially. In six months' time, it sold 50,000 copies in Bangladesh before being banned by the government that same year. Her other famous novel is ''French Lover'', published in 2002. Autobiography Her memoirs are renowned for their candidness, which has led to a number of them being banned in Bangladesh and India. Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood, 2002), the first volume of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladeshi government in 1999 for "reckless comments" against Islam and the prophet Mohammad. Utal Hawa (Wild Wind), the second part of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladesh government in 2002. Ka (Speak up), the third part of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladeshi High Court in 2003. Under pressure from Indian Muslim activists, the book, which was published in West Bengal as Dwikhandita, was banned there also; some 3,000 copies were seized immediately. The decision to ban the book was criticized by "a host of authors" in West Bengal, but the ban wasn't lifted until 2005. Sei Sob Ondhokar Din guli (Those Dark Days), the fourth part of her memoir, was banned by the Bangladesh government in 2004. She received her second Ananda Purashkar award in 2000, for her memoir Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood, published in English in 2002). Charitable Activities Nasrin created the Edulwara scholarship in her mother's name to give scholarship (50,000-100,000 taka) to twenty female students of 7th to 10th grade from economically poor families in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. She started an organisation called Dharmamukta Manab-bai mancha ("Humanist organisation free from religion") in Kolkata. The organisation's aim was to enlighten and spread secular education, and to fight for women's rights and a uniform and equal civil code. Awards Taslima has received a number of international awards in recognition of her uncompromising demand for freedom of expression. Awards and Honours given to her include the following: Ananda literary Award, India, 1992 Natyasava Award, Bangladesh, 1992 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thoughts from the European Parliament, 1994 Human Rights Award from the Government of France, 1994 Edict of Nantes Prize from France, 1994 Kurt Tucholsky Prize, Swedish PEN, Sweden, 1994 Hellman-Hammett Grant from Human Rights Watch, USA, 1994 Humanist Award from Human-Etisk Forbund, Norway, 1994 Feminist of the Year from Feminist Majority Foundation, USA, 1994 Honorary Doctorate from Ghent University, Belgium, 1995 Scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, Germany, 1995 Monismanien Prize from Uppsala University, Sweden, 1995 Distinguished Humanist Award from International Humanist and Ethical Union, Great Britain, 1996 Humanist Laureate from International Academy for Humanism, USA, 1996 Ananda literary Award, India, 2000 Global Leader for Tomorrow, World Economic Forum, 2000 Erwin Fischer Award, International League of non-religious and atheists (IBKA), Germany, 2002 Freethought Heroine Award, Freedom From Religion Foundation, USA, 2002 Fellowship at Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy,John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA, 2003 UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence,2004 Honorary Doctorate from American University of Paris, 2005 Grand Prix International Condorcet-Aron, 2005 Sharatchandra literary award, West Bengal, India, 2006 Honorary citizenship of Paris, France, 2008 Simone de Beauvoir Prize, 2008 Fellowship at New York University, USA, 2009 Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, USA, 2009 Feminist Press award, USA, 2009)
My life, like a sandbar,
has been taken over by a monster of a man
who wants my body under his control
so that, if he wishes,
he can spit in my face,
slap me on the cheek,
pinch my rear;
so that, if he wishes,
he can rob me of the clothes,
take my naked beauty in his grip;
so that, if he wishes.
he can chain my feet,
with no qualms whatsoever whip me,
chop off my hands, my fingers,
sprinkle salt in the open wound,
throw ground-up black pepper in my eyes,
with a dagger can slash my thigh,
can string me up and hang me.
His goal: to control my heart
so that I would love him;
in my lonely house at night
sleepless, full of anxiety,
clutching at the window grille,
I would wait for him and sob;
tears rolling down, I would bake homemade bread,
would drink, as if they were ambrosia,
the filthy liquids of his polygynous body
so that, loving him, I would melt like wax,
not turning my eyes toward any other man.
I would give proof of my chastity all my life.
So that, loving him,
on some moonlit night
I would commit suicide
in a fit of ecstasy.
She may be a hardcore feminist associated with some of the most contentious social issues but to credit her as an intellectual with literary skill is just a load of rubbish! She is just a below medio core writer. She is simply an opportunistic person enjoying a luxurious life in Europe - using the sentiment of some over enthusiastic feminists as well as some pseudo liberals who have been dreaming of having romance with women from Indian sub-continent! So annoyed to see her name here!
her works will be there for eternity
I want to meet Taslima, let me know the way
Life facet one-Truth is truth. Life facet two-False is false. Life facet three-Truth is false. Life facet four-False is truth.
How do I follow you on poemhunter? I am new to it. I love your work. Lots of love and blessings to you.
ONE of MY FAVORITE POETESS;
LOVE HER and HER WRITINGS VERY MUCH. Hopefully Govt. of Bangladesh will bring HER back very soon. LONG LIVE Taslima Nasrin for HER RIGHTEOUS writings
Taslima Nasrin One of my favorite poetess. specially I like her STRAIGHTFORWARD writings Her crystal clean poetry is WORLD APPEALING really. I think for her BRAVE-HEART POINTING OUT writings on WOMANHOOD RIGHTS have showed the true path of Bengali women and only SHE is to be PRAISED for the present PRAISEWORTHY PLACE of BANGLADESHI Women.
a GREAT WOMAN and an excellent poetess