Leftist Islam or Islamic Left : Rizwanur properly vindicated and Tasleema properly exiled

Posted on August 16, 2008. Filed under: Bangladesh, Communist, India, Muslims, Politics, religion |

The CBI has recommended chargesheets to be drawn against suspected abettors of the “suicide” of Rizwanur, husband of a daughter of an influential and prosperous Hindu Todi “business” family currently residing in Kolkata. The case  was initially  tried  by the media, with  widespread  public anger expressed against the Todi family  which  stopped just short of  calling the father-in-law of Rizwanur as the killer or hirer of assassins of Rizwanur. A high ranking police officer in Kolkata was also indirectly implicated, and the net widened daily in the public discourse like a modern who-dun-it – with the “usual suspects” – “upper class” “business house” “elite”. The case was a high profile one, and it took the form of a trial of “hindu right wing” fundamentalism that was so anti-liberal that it could not tolerate the pure love that broke religious barriers – with the underlying implication as apparently in this particular case, that barriers are always put up by “Hindus”.

For a long time the Hindu-Muslim marriage or love-affairs have intrigued me and I found some of the most interesting stories or a majority of the stories were never brought up by the media or were in public discourse. Only those stories are widely publicized that shows Hindu resistance to marriages or romantic connections between Hindu girls and Muslim boys. I will discuss this in a subsequent series of posts. However in this case, what is more interesting is the fact that a Muslim agitation was successful in panicking the bastion of the Left in India – the West Bengal Government  led  by the  CPI(M)  to quietly and quickly banish Tasleema Nasreen –  the exiled Bangladeshi  lady  and writer  from the city of  “joy” and all things “progressive”. Tasleema  has long been at the centre of two controversies – (1) her apparently candid and not necessarily “authenticated” writings about sexual intrigue and sexual harassment of women at all levels of Bangladeshi society and by all sections of the male population – from the “most sophisticated and educated” to the least (2) her criticism and description of atrocities on minority Hindus of Bangladesh  by Muslims.

It was primarily the second controversy, that intensified after the publication of her book “Lajja” (Shame) which explicitly describes atrocities by Muslims on Hindus, that fatwas (Islamic diktats) poured forth from the liberal Islamic society and leadership of Bangladesh. With open threats on life in typical Islamic fashion (of beheading or declaring “murtad”) which were not protested by the liberal and progressive government of a “people’s republic” of Bangladesh, Tasleema decided to leave Bangladesh. After travelling widely in the West, Tasleema had tried to return to the subcontinent. For a writer in Bengali, Tasleema’s natural choice would be West Bengal and the city of Kolkata.

However, the Muslim population of West Bengal promptly began to react against the presence of Tasleema. They ultimately managed to burst out in rioting processions through the streets of Kolkata, and the brave custodians of revolutionary fervour, the Communists of West Bengal promptly buckled  under the pressure. Tasleema was quietly removed to Rajasthan and placed under semi-virtual house arrest. Tasleema has since gone out of the country to the West and returned again, trying wistfully to return to her friends and well-wishers in Kolkata. The governments both at the centre and the state have opened their  mouths saturated with infinite wisdom – she is a guest , should behave as a guest , and not do anything that disturbs the “peace”  of the country.  Apparently if Islam in India sneezes the whole country catches cold. The guardians of principle, and morality who flaunted their “principled stand” in the runup to the trust vote in the parliament on the N-deal, those very people who claim to stand above narrow communal feelings and stand for the forces of freedom, liberation, justice and progress find Islam’s inherent murderous hatred of its critics worth supporting or giving in to – but Tasleemas right to freely speak about what she felt were injustices done to a minority under the guidance of a religion were not worth supporting.

So Rizwanur gets justice in India, and Tasleema who spoke about atrocities on minority Hindus  across the border  is a  persona-non-grata  or a gagged “guest” in India. Maybe Hindus will learn from the success of this Islamic strategy of manipulation as they have learnt from Kashmiri Muslims in Jammu. Any Indian government with any spine left should have offered Tasleema Indian citizenship, and therefore with automatic rights of protection from the Indian establishment. That would have completed the partial attempt at pretending to be impartial by recommending “abettors” to be chargesheeted.


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