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Living in Exile since 1994: India is My Home, says Bangladeshi Writer Taslima Nasreen

By questioning inhumanity, inequality, unscientific and irrational aspects of the religion, like other religion, Islam too can achieve enlightenment, said Taslima

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Tasleema Nasrin, Flickr

CANACONA, GOA, November 5, 2016:  Living in exile since 1994, noted Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen today said that she will now call India her home and it is unfortunate that she has no alternative but to live in exile for rest of her life.

“I have been living in exile since 1994. I know I have no other alternative but to live in exile for rest of my life. I feel I have nowhere to go or country to return to. I say now India is my country, India is my home,” the 54-year-old writer told the gathering at the “India Ideas Conclave 2016”, currently underway in Goa, mentioned PTI.

The event is organised by India Foundation.

“How much more we have to suffer at the hands of fundamentalists and their political allies for daring to articulate the truth. Even after all that has happened, I still believe, that sincere honest truly secular part of the continent, India is the safe refuge, only refuge,” said the writer to PTI.

By questioning inhumanity, inequality, unscientific and irrational aspects of the religion, like other religion, Islam too can achieve enlightenment, said Taslima by referring to the fundamentalists.

“The narrow-minded and the political (people) will forever throw society into the darkness, quiet a handful others will always strive for the betterment of society and good sense will prevail.”

It is only a few special people who seek to dream about change, and it has always been like that, said Nasreen, the writer of a much-acclaimed book “Lajja”.

While talking about Bangladesh, she said, “I truly hope that the secular movement in my country will begin and turn into positive political movement for true democracy and secular state. The state which will govern on equality and educational system that is secular, scientific.”

“People must know that Islam must not be exempted from the critical scrutiny that applies all other religions as well,” further added the writer.

– prepared by NewsGram with inputs from PTI.

  • P. B. Josh

    India never had any problem with true seculars who love all religions equally or who hate all religions equally.

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One Up Library Brings Children Closer To Books

Bringing children back to books, the One Up way

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One Up Library in Vasant Vihar. IANS
One Up Library in Vasant Vihar promoting reading habits among children. IANS

With walls painted pearl white and bright mats covering the floor, it looks like a fancy showroom in an upmarket neighbourhood. But don’t get mistaken — it’s a library. And that too for children.

The One Up library in Vasant Vihar is like an oasis in the digital desert with 1-14 years old as members. It’s a rarity to find a neighbourhood library as today’s children are mostly engaged in online passions, having little time for reading books.

Dalbir Kaur, founder of One Up, believes in the old school way of making children aware. Started in Amritsar in 2011 as the Golden City’s first modern library, One Up travelled to Delhi in 2017.

Dalbir believes the 21st-century children need spaces beyond schools that specifically focus on critical reading and thinking; promoting curiosity, collaboration & conversations, and community-building.

“The conventional libraries could not stand the effect of time, especially when everything is available online. But it’s important that children visit libraries to explore literature, develop their reading tastes,” she told IANS.

Dalbir said to draw teenagers towards books and promote less usage of technology, a revolutionary change was required in the way libraries looked and felt. She brought the concept of active reading, where children are guided by trained helpers who themselves read a lot.

“It’s important to have attractive interiors with an active librarian. The librarian or the attendants must be active and knowledgeable about the books and should be avid readers themselves,” Dalbir said.

Bringing children back to books
Motivating children to read books and cultivating reading habits amongst children in One Up library. Pixabay

Since the readers are children, Dalbir herself goes through every book that is to be added to the library to remove all the chances of inappropriate content. Her team also organises weekly activities, like ‘read-out-loud’, ‘draw what you read’, interaction with authors and quizzes after a reader finishes his/her book. All of this is conducted on the first floor of the building, which is now full of drawings and charts created by readers as part of their activity.

The initiative has gained popularity as the library now has over 200 children as members and the number is rising every day. Some members even come from Noida and Gurugram to read books — just for an hour or two.

The positive changes have also begun to flow as Dalbir has been approached by several educational institutions to curate their libraries and train their teachers. By now she has helped over 20 schools to curate their libraries and train librarians.

Also Read: Google Assistant Soon be Able to Read Messages from Whatsapp, Slack and Telegram

Dalbir does not charge anything from a school for curating a library. She holds workshops for teachers and librarians, advice on steps to innovate and initiating non-readers.

She has now launched an award, which will attract nationwide entries, for excellence in best practices in a nurturing learning environment. Entries could be sent till September 5. (IANS)