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Pakistani-Canadian Author Tarek Fatah: University Campus is not Immune to Politics

Seek freedom from burqa 1st, not CAA, says Tarek Fatah

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Tarek Fatah
"Those who keep their wives and daughters in Burqa at home, send them for protests," says Tarek Fatah. Wikimedia Commons

BY VIVEK TRIPATHI

Pakistani-Canadian author Tarek Fatah has said that those opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) are prone to a “separatist mindset”. Raising questions on Muslim womens’ participation in anti-CAA demonstrations, he said before seeking freedom from the new citizenship law, they must seek freedom from the veil (burqa) first.

In a special interview with IANS, Fatah said that as far as the issue of anti-CAA protest is concerned, it began first in West Bengal, where some politicians have vested interests and are keen to expand their sphere of influence into state politics. Those who have settled here from Bangladesh or the erstwhile East Pakistan want to make West Bengal a Muslim majority state in order to increase their vote share. They are the people who are opposing the new law and some politicians are backing them.

Tarek Fatah india
Fatah said, “NRC is still far away. But, as far as the CAA is concerned, what we have learnt from Assam is that it must be implemented. Pixabay

He said, “They are not like Indians. They think that if illegal migrants are not given citizenship, their plan which is all about Muslim Nationhood, will never succeed. This reflects their separatist mindset. So they have no solid ground for opposing the CAA.”

Fatah said, “NRC is still far away. But, as far as the CAA is concerned, what we have learnt from Assam is that it must be implemented. The government has openly said that it is a right step. Even Bangladesh, Iran, Pakistan have such laws. I do not understand why people are opposing the CAA. If government wants to correct the data, well and good.”

Speaking about Muslim women’s participations in the protests, he said, “Those who keep their wives and daughters in Burqa at home, send them for protests. If you have the courage, why do you send your wives and children to protest. This is nothing but exploitation of children.”

Tarek Fatah India
Regarding the National Citizenship Register (NRC), Fatah said, “It seems to me that Muslims fear that if the displaced Hindus in Bengal get citizenship, then the minorities will lose their place in Bengal. Pixabay

Fatah recalled meeting a Sikh from Kabul in Delhi, saying, “He faced an identity crisis in Afghanistan and came back to India. This law is for those who have already come to India due to religious persecution, people should understand it.”

On the question of CAA protests at educational institutions, he said university campus is not immune to politics. But it should be in the right direction.

Regarding the National Citizenship Register (NRC), Fatah said, “It seems to me that Muslims fear that if the displaced Hindus in Bengal get citizenship, then the minorities will lose their place in Bengal. The entire matter is of Muslim nationality.”

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On the issue of triple talaq, Tariq Fatah said that it has nothing to do with secularism. If we speak of secularism, what is the need of Muslim Personal Law Board. And there is definitely a need of uniform civil code. Seeking secularism in CAA and boycotting triple talaq is double standard of Muslims.”

On coming to Ayodhya, he said, “I have come here for the first time. For me it was like a Haj. The decision has been made. We have to be grateful to the people who have sheltered us in India. Here is a five thousand year old civilization, Muslims came here later, they came from outside. You cannot rule here by coming from outside. This is just as the Soviet Union cannot be ruled by America.” (IANS)

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Penning a Book Doesn’t Make an Author Immortal: Ruskin Bond

"From a love of reading, comes writing," says Ruskin Bond

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Ruskin Bond
Much-loved and widely-read author Ruskin Bond believes that it's from a love of reading that a writer comes to a love of writing. Wikimedia Commons

BY SIDDHI JAIN

Much-loved and widely-read author Ruskin Bond believes that it’s from a love of reading that a writer comes to a love of writing, and penning a book does not always translate to the author becoming immortal.

“There’s only one way to become a writer, that’s to be a reader. If you look at the lives of all writers who are successful, you’d find that when they were boys or girls, they were readers and bookworms. It’s from a love of reading that you come to a love of writing.

“Writers do get forgotten. Sometimes we think writing a book gives us some sort of immortality, I assure you it doesn’t. Ninety-nine percent of writers over the ages have been forgotten, you don’t know that some of them have been very good?. Writing is something you do anyway, regardless of whether it is going to make you rich or famous around the world or in your country,” Bond, 85, said at Arth, a cultural fest, in the national capital.

Ruskin Bond
Ruskin Bond has previously pointed to a dwindling reader base, but feels that there is enough audience for good writers to help them thrive. Wikimedia Commons

Landour-based Bond, an Indian author of British descent and a Padma Bhushan awardee, published his first novel “The Room on the Roof”, the semi-autobiographical story of the orphaned Anglo-Indian boy named Rusty, at the age of 17, which won the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize (1957).

I did begin writing very early, and writing somehow wasn’t very fashionable back in the 1950s when I finished school. Today I keep meeting youngsters and even oldsters who want to write and are writing books. It seems to be the in-thing.

“?But when I finished school, writing wasn’t popular as a profession. But I was determined to be a writer, and when I came home, and my mother asked, Ruskin what are you going to do with yourself now, I said Mum, I’m going to be a writer, she said, Don’t be silly, go and join the army,” shared Bond.

How far do awards go in contributing to the work of an author?

Ruskin Bond
“A lot of parents complain that children spend more time on electronic media and don’t read enough, but you see, reading has always been a minority pastime,” says Ruskin Bond. Wikimedia Commons

“I don’t think in the long run, awards have made much difference. If you are a good writer, and you have a good readership, then prizes and awards along the way are nice to have on your mantelpiece, but they are not going to make a great difference to your work.?”?

With more than seven decades into writing, does the great author have a writing ritual?

“I think most writers try to write something everyday, you need a certain discipline to get through the assignment you have been given, or to complete a novel. I try to write a page or two every morning, but it’s not compulsory.”

Bond has previously pointed to a dwindling reader base, but feels that there is enough audience for good writers to help them thrive.

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“A lot of parents complain that children spend more time on electronic media and don’t read enough, but you see, reading has always been a minority pastime. Even when I was a boy, in a class of 30-35 boys, there were just 2 or 3 of us who were fond of reading.

“At that time, education in English in India was confined to a few schools, and maybe to the upper classes, but today it has spread significantly throughout the country.” (IANS)