Shame on you: (fellow) Bongs

….”I am surely surprised that people in Kolkata known for their
righteous stand have chosen to remain silent…..I have gotten used to this….There were not many voices to
come out when I was thrown of my home – Kolkata”……
so long as the Mamata
Banerjee continues to accede to the whims of
religious fanatics, her return to the city is not possible….

Why is Taslima Nasreen universally referred to as a “controversial author” by the Main Stream Media ? Answers on a Meghdoot Post-card please (yes you are permitted to write below the line).

As we see it, secularism is a much abused concept in India, even if we take it in the sense of equal opportunity for all religions in the public square. Thus as a secularist it is not enough that we are opposed to BJP, we must support a secular Congress which is allied with anti-secular Muslim League (Kerala). This is presumably because….why (certainly not the lesser of two evils)?

Thus in its Indian avatar, secularism is a sword to keep the Hindu Brotherhood away from power. If the H-B wins, the fear is that it will take control of official levers to build an alternate power base which will then attempt to exclude the left-liberal opinion-makers from the public square. By manipulating public opinion in this manner H-B will (in the long run) replace the secular Congress as the natural ruling party of India…we mean Hindustan…..erm…Bharat-Varsha.


We agree that parties/leaders who take advantage of communal politics should be banned from participating in politics, we disagree that a one-sided approach be termed secular. Neither do we agree that such an approach has served India well and is presently fit for purpose.

Indeed to the extent this strategy boosts conservative muslim power and suppresses muslim womens’ rights (by taking active measures such as over-turning Supreme Court judgements) it can even be termed as a “war on women” (H-B is unable to claim high moral ground because its constituent members feel that rape accusations are made because they are “fashionable”).

We also feel that “secular politics” is a cynical attempt to foist dynastic politics on India by people who are staunch believers in caste-ist politics. Ideally we would like to see a left-centered and right-centered cadre based (not caste based) party. We believe India is (ever so slightly) headed in this direction at the federal level, due to the subtle workings of the first past the post system.

To give an example of how ugly is secular politics, just one name will suffice: Taslima Nasreen. It is passing strange that our left-liberal journalists and thinkers (many of them women, bongs, and bong women) have no time for her. We would say that TN is the Ayan Hirsi Ali of South Asia, except that Taslima really does not even have any friends in India. Not even the Hindu Brotherhood would protect her from Muslim thugs.

And why are conservative muslims so upset with TN? There are (as usual) some vague accusations of having hurt sentiments and having darkened the name of the Prophet. The “secular” govt in Bangladesh has maintained her state of exile from her homeland. But the main reason why the mullahs are after her is surely this- she exposed how they discriminate against Hindus in Bangladesh.

While we can understand why the Muslim Brotherhood in South Asia would unite in their hatred against this woman, it is less clear why Indian secularists (especially fellow bongs) would not be concerned with what she has to say and the fact that she is being burdened with death threats. 

Unless of course the thinking is that any talk about Hindu discrimination in Bangladesh will boost the case of Hindutva politics in India. Thus the fate of millions of Hindus can be ignored in the name of secularism. While the assault on one individual (Taslima in Hyderabad) and preventing her a livelihood (canceling her TV show in Kolkata) are shameful acts, the other is a much more serious charge.

The moral of  the story: if you are planning to be a secular opinion maker, you need to highlight the anti-secular victimization of Salman Rushdie, MF Husain, Wendy Doniger, and Taslima Nasreen. From where we stand, it is clear that conservatives of all shades are using liberal laws as well as threat of violence to shut down legitimate speech. This must be denounced by left-liberals in an even-handed manner. And if you feel that your hatred of the Hindu Brotherhood (justified) leads you into an alliance (even if de-facto) with the Muslim Brotherhood (justified as a political strategy but not as a moral one in our book) then have the courage to say so openly. And do us all a favor: do not call yourself secular.

Kolkata: Seeking long-term extension of her residence permit,
controversial author Taslima Nasreen Saturday met Union Home Minister
Rajnath Singh.

Nasreen had expressed her anguish after the government Wednesday refused
her a one-year visa giving instead a temporary permission to stay in
India for two months.

“I met Singh today (Saturday) and he assured me that my stay in India
will be extended. I gave him my book ‘Wo Andhere Din’ (Those Dark Days)
and in return he said my dark days are over,” Nasreen told IANS.

Following her outburst on a social networking site, support for her
has been pouring from various quarters with Press Council of India
Chairperson and former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju demanding
permanent visa for the 52-year-old who has been living in exile since

Nasreen, however, expressed her surprise over intellectuals from Kolkata – her “home” remaining silent on the issue. “I am surely surprised that people in Kolkata known for their
righteous stand have chosen to remain silent. But at the same time I
must admit I have gotten used to this. There were not many voices to
come out when I was thrown of my home – Kolkata,” she said.

Exiled from Bangladesh in 1994 for “hurting religious sentiments”
with her novel “Lajja”, Nasreen took refuge in the city in 2004. But
after violent protests in the city November 2007, the erstwhile Left
Front government whisked her away to New Delhi where she has been living
since then.

Eager to come back to Kolkata, Nasreen said so long as the Mamata
Banerjee government in the state continues to accede to the whims of
religious fanatics, her return to the city is not possible.

“By banning my tele-serial Dusahobas, this government denied me a
slice of livelihood. I have been repeatedly writing to Mamata Banerjee
expressing my wish to come back to Kolkata, but so long as she continues
to listen to the fanatics my return will never be possible, she added.

She said “Dusahobas” a story of three sisters and their triumph over
the injustices meted out by the patriarchal society, would have been a
source of inspiration at a time when crime against women was on the rise
in the state.

Following protests by minority religious groups, the TV serial was refused telecast.




Brown Pundits