What Should be Done With Taslima Nasrin?
When it comes to intolerance the people who understand their religion the least have the loudest voices. Their narrow minded Fatwas and their recent harassment of Ms. Nasreen in Hyderabad have earned her sympathizers, some sincere, but many such as the BJP Party are out to make political capital out of it.The first mistake the extremists made was to issue a Fatwa against Taslima Nasrin for her statements that did not go well with the fundamentalists. "She told the Muslim women to burn the Burqa" as if she will start wearing a skirt if a westerner says "Burn the Saree, it is a sign of backwardness".
Neither is a sign of backwardness, it is a culture that has evolved and no one will drop what they are used to on the sound of a word 'drop'. In a democracy, people should have the freedom to speak; the best way to combat a bad idea is to offer good ideas to compete.
The second mistake the rioters made is that they did not follow their own religion. God advises in Sura 109 that when you present the word of God to the other, they may deny it, let them know that what they worship is not what you worship and at the end leave the conversation in good taste by saying 109:6 "unto you, your moral law, and unto me, mine!" They should have left her alone as there is no compulsion in matters of faith. What she believes is her belief.
The third mistake they made is violating the example of the Prophet. When he was traveling from Mecca to Taif, he was pelted with stones, he was bleeding, and at that time his associates and the Angel Gabriel were anxious to punish the miscreants. The prophet stopped them and said something to this effect. Let's not punish them, it is not the answer; instead let's pray that God may help them with Good will. All that was needed to calm Taslima Nasrin was to ignore her, pray for her and let her do what she wanted to do. Instead, those who want to destroy Ms. Nasreen in the misused name of their own religion help to build her up.
The fourth mistake they made was in Hyderabad, where they threatened her life and nearly assaulted her, against the law of religion.
The fifth and a major mistake they made was not to have a debate with her on the issues. They did not have enough faith in their culture or religion to debate. Taslima would have easily lost in a debate from a few intellectuals and most likely she would not have gone on the attack binge.
Now, let's turn the tables. Taslima Nasrin has gone through personal tragedies in her life, several women in the Sub-continent are abused, ordered and compelled to obey, be it a Muslim, Hindu or any family. Women in our society (all religions included) are to "listen" or "obey" their father and then husband. There is not much freedom for most women in our society, Taslima is no exception. She is raging with anger, instead of directing her anger at her perpetrators; she is directing at her religion and wing-dinging the responses from a few of her fellow religionists. It is unproductive. The Government of Andhra Pradesh should have asked the MLA's to resign when they threatened to kill her, the government of UP should have arrested the zealot who had offered a bounty for killing her. The Indian Penal code would be sufficed to arrest them and put them through the legal system until they apologize. In addition we need to bring to the front what Qur'an tells about their attitudes "To kill a single life is like killing the whole humanity". It is not late now to go back and charge them. In a civil society, we need to punish the ones that mess up other people's lives, so others don't repeat it.
What should be done with Taslima Nasrin?
First, she needs to be given political asylum as a death threat looms for her in her native country. We have made other mistakes but that does not mean we should not do a few things right. We are a pluralistic democracy, and we should allow dissent and free debates as a part of education and learning. Second, to remove the eternal threat against her life for the stand she takes, she needs to be engaged in debates with liberal, conservative and middle of the line Muslims scholars. If she is wrong, she will accept it and will not have a face to be hateful anymore, on the other hand, if she has grievances, lets study them and figure out the answers. Most likely it is a personal and not a religious issue.
What Should be Done With Taslima Nasrin?
- » Published on November 28, 2007
- » Type: Opinion
- » Filed under: