Friday, June 21, 2013

Lajja by Taslima Nasreen

Photo of the copy I was reading

Finally I completed Lajja by Taslima Nasreen and honestly this time it wasn't me but the book and author herself to be blamed for the marathon reading.
Lajja is the story of Dutta family who are Hindus living in Bangladesh thus part of the minority population who once thrived in those parts of subcontinent before it was partitioned.
These people were true believer of homeland before religion and thus kept on clinging to their country even after lakhs of people migrated to adjoining India during partition in 1947 and again whenever riots broke across those regions.
The story starts the day after Babri Masjid is demolished by Hindu fanatics and as expected Muslim fundamentalists in Bangladesh blamed innocent Hindus over there for such an act and thus resulted in widespread riots across Bangladesh resulting in Hindus being butchered , looted , raped and forced to leave their country of birth.
The Dutta parivar being the leftist they were, did not believe in these religious doctrines especially since they so actively fought for the independence of Bangladesh in 1971 from Pakistan. Dr. Sudhomay, the father, who once was quite rich and prosperous but had to sell everything and relocate to Dhaka due to pressure from Muslim extremist, always taught his children that this land is as much theirs as is of the Muslim people . His son , Suranjan, who followed in his footsteps of being a liberal social activist filled with same passion and principles about his motherland as his fathers. Then their is the mother, Kironmoyee , who is a typical Bengali housewife, whose life is devoted to the care of her husband and children. And lastly , Maya, the daughter, who unlike her father and brother does not want to struggle or oppose anything and just wants to live her life in that world even if she has to convert to Islam or has to marry a muslim guy. She takes refugee in the Muslim family when situation worsens and her brother decides to do nothing at all.
With due respect to the atrocities suffered by people , I am really disappointed after reading this book. I appreciate the grim and inhuman suffering that Taslima Nasreen so aptly portrayed in this book but portraying that only in each and every page and chapter somehow makes it a dull and boring read. Every page you read, you crave for something more to happen but in the end you are left disappointed.
The book is written in sequence of days in the life of Dutta family starting from Babri Masjid demolition to the day when they finally decide to leave. Their struggle to keep believing in their rights and despite the constant fear, trying to justify that this is their homeland too. But all hell breaks when the daughter is kidnapped and they could not do anything and thus result in Suranjan challenging all his beliefs and finally asking his father to leave to India.
I always wanted to read this book in order to find out why Taslima Nasreen is subject to so much atrocities from the Muslim fanatics. Although after having followed her for a while on Twitter I could understand the reason some what owing to her constant rebellion of the religious doctrines and dogmas. And perhaps I did not need to read this as it showed the same feeling of her tweets repeated on every page but nevertheless I believe you should read anything and everything at least once, thus helping you to decide what not to read again :-D
Have been an admirer of Taslima Nasreen and somehow consider her an example of what to have once we manage to remove the boundaries of inequalities between male and female from our society. But let me keep that to another post as this post has anyway became quite long.
What Next ? Well , till I get the next book "And the Mountains echoed from Khaled Hosseni", I am fighting to read FountainHead..lets see how it goes..

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