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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
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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.

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  • 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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“A Suitable Girl”: Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published

Seth suffered from writer's block after his break-up

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"A Suitable Girl": Most Awaited Novel By Vikram Seth, Finally Published, flickr

Hardly has any novel been awaited with as much curiosity and anticipation in recent times as Vikram Seth’s sequel to the monumental “A Suitable Boy” (1993). Five years on, since he was first expected to deliver the manuscript, the novel is still to see the light of the day. But what seems like a saga of missed deadlines can very well — far from our eyes — be a masterpiece in the making.

“The more I talk of her, the more shy she becomes,” Seth had told this correspondent in 2015 about “A Suitable Girl”, the novel-in-waiting.

Seth, as his literary agent David Godwin puts it, has been known to take his time with his books. The prolonged delay, however, was not acceptable to Hamish Hamilton (an imprint of Penguin Random House) and he was asked to return an advance payment of $1.7 million when the deal was called off. Weidenfeld and Nicolson, an imprint of the British publisher Orion, then acquired the novel — and it was scheduled to release in 2016.

But a flying bird — a friend and confidant of the writer — says that he is now giving the “final touch” to the novel and that one can expect “the big announcement” soon.

Seth released a collection of poems titled “Summer Requiem” in the meanwhile. In the collection, he traces the immutable shiftings of the seasons, the relentless rhythms of a great world that both “gifts and harms”. Composed as they were while he was (which he still is) writing the sequel, several poems in the offering open doors to his mind, or perhaps they may be preludes to the larger narrative that he is weaving.

“I have so carefully mapped/the corners of my mind/that I am forever waking/in a lost country,” he writes in the opening poem. Interestingly, Seth’s companion to “A Suitable Boy” will be a jump sequel — the characters have travelled from the 1950s and it will be very much a novel set in somewhat the present times.

novels By Vikram Seth
novels By Vikram Seth, flickr

In its title poem, he mourns that the “liberated generation lives a restrained youth,” and then adds: “I must forsake attachment”. On another occasion in the book, readers find him lamenting over “the peaceful love” that the narrator has “never found”. In another short poem “Late Light” he writes: “Outside the great world’s gifts and harms/ There must be somewhere I can go/To rest within a lover’s arm/At ease with the impending snow”.

Reportedly, Seth suffered from writer’s block after his break-up with French violinist Phillippe Honor but that was a long time ago and was reflected in “An Equal Music”. He has moved on or has he not?

Nonetheless, it has been about five years since “A Suitable Girl” was first expected to hit the stands but the wait is surely worth it. As writer-politician Shashi Tharoor says about his good friend’s technique — that “Vikram Seth draws an entire roadmap of his novel, planning every minute element in great detail” — the sequel, thanks to all the anticipation and the pressure on the writer, may actually be a masterpiece in the making, as sublime as its counterpart and yet set in the time of its readers.

Vikram Seth is a recipient of the Padma Shri, Sahitya Akademi Award, and among several other prestigious honours, the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman. He has been widely translated and is among leading novelists on the global stage. He has published three novels — “The Golden Gate” (1986), “A Suitable Boy” (1993) and “An Equal Music” (1999) — along with several collections of poetry such as “Mappings” and “All You Who Sleep Tonight”.

Also read: Here is all the reason for Bookworms to look ahead for the upcoming year: A List of the Best Stories and Novels in 2017!

Seth — an openly gay man — is also one of the prominent faces of the campaign against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code that criminalises homosexuality. (IANS)