People's Democracy(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
November 07, 2003
Did Bengal Govt Ban Taslima Nasreen’s Book?
Bengal Left Front government has decided to ban Bangladeshi author Taslima
Nasreen’s latest book, Dwikhandita (‘Split in Two’) because it was
feared that the book would incite communal violence.
At no point of time has the book been proscribed on political or literary
a government notification issued on November 28, the state LF government has
formally invoked the ban under section 95 of the code of Criminal Procedure,
read with Act 153 of the Indian Penal Code (where it is considered a criminal
and punishable act to create enmity, rivalry, and hatred amongst religious
secretary of the CPI (M), Anil Biswas said that there was apprehension expressed
widely that the book would spark off communal tension, and that very many
experts in the field supported this view. The LF government has banned the book
for the sake of the upkeep of democracy in Bengal. Several newspapers, too, have
expressed similar feelings. Biswas pointed out that “from the time the Left
Front has been office in Bengal not a single book or publication has been
proscribed on political grounds.” However, said Biswas, it was a different
matter altogether if a publication or a book incited terrorism and communalism.
minister of Bengal, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee whose department issued the
notification banning the book, said that he had himself read the book “several
times over.” that he has “persuaded at least 25 noted specialists to go
through the book critically” and that they have recommended the book to be not
fit for circulation among the reading public. In particular, the pages 49-50 of the book contain very
derogatory and provocative references that go against the grain of the tenets of
Islam and of Islamic beliefs.
noted authors including the poet Sunil Gangopadhyay, the novelists, Dibyendu
Palit, Nabanita Deb Sen, and Syed Mustafa Siraj, the Bangladeshi novelist,
Sams-ul Huq, the singer Suman Chatterjee, as well as the Trinamul Congress
leader and Kolkata mayor, Subrata Mukherjee, among others, have come openly out
against the book and have supported the decision by the state LF government to
get the book banned.
Congress leader Somen Mitra who has called Taslima Nasreen a blot on the world
of women, has described the book as having no difference with a piece of
pornography and has said that nobody ought to assume rights to hurt the
sentiments of a religious community.
book which forms a part of Nasreen’s multi-volume autobiography has been
charged by the reading public of Kolkata and Bengal with obscenity and has come
under fire for its maligning and falsified personal references to the lives of
several noted scholars of Bengal and Bangladesh as well.
the book, as Anil Biswas made clear while speaking to the media in Kolkata
recently, was banned because of the fact that portions of the book would cause
religious disharmony to break out, with the religious fundamentalists utilising
the book to fan the flame of communal fire.
to form, the BJP chief Tathagata Roy has supported Taslima Nasreen’s
derogatory references to Islam and has opposed the proscription of the book.
Mamata Banerjee has chosen to hold her silence, as she is wont to do of
late on very many other matters as well.