Monday, August 13, 2007

Attack on Taslima

The attack on Taslima Nusreen, the exiled Bangladeshi writer living in India, on her recent visit to Hyderabad to release a Telugu translation of her book exemplifies an attack on liberal values and the growing insensitivity towards discussion and debate. This is substance of an excellent article written in today’s Hindu. Take a look at the full article here. I give below excerpts/notes from the article for our record.

The article outlines three instances of such intolerance for discussion and debate. The first of them is the vandalism perpetrated by VHP activists of a painting exhibition in Vadodara. The second is the intolerance displayed against the remarks made by a Political Science lecturer in Hyderabad, during a class while discussing Salman Rushdie. The third is the attack on Taslima Nusreen, again at Hyderabad.

All these attacks make us ponder about the following three trends that are emerging.

The first is that the governments’ muted reactions to the instances of intolerance convey a message that political vote-mongering is more important than any respect for individual freedoms.

The second is that the idea of ‘hurt’ religious sentiments are playing a larger part in imposing restrictions against the freedom of speech, much beyond those that are sanctioned by the Constitution.

Finally, the scant respect for the processes of the Constitution seems to be getting silently accepted. In spite of professing allegiance to the Constitution, the MLAs involved in the Taslima Nusreen attack were shown in the media as considering their religion to be above the Constitution of India.