aslima Nasrin is a Bengali author, feminist human rights activist and secular humanist. She was born on 25 August, 1962 in Mymensingh, Bangladesh. Nasrin has achieved global fame, but has also faced death threats from Islamic fundamentalists, forcing her exile to India.
Growing up in a highly restrictive and conservative environment, Taslima was fond of literature while she also excelled in science. She started writing when she was 15 years old, beginning with poetry in literary magazines, and afterwards herself editing a literary periodical called SeNjuti (1978 – 1983). She was the president of a literary organization while in medical college, where she staged many cultural programs. Earning her medical degree in 1984, she worked in public hospitals for eight years. She worked as a government physician until 1994.
Her first book of poetry was published in 1986. Her second book became a huge success in 1989, and editors of progressive daily and weekly newspapers suggested that she write regular columns.
Next she started writing about women’s oppression. Her strong language and uncompromising attitude against male domination stirred many people, eliciting both love and hatred from her readers.
Despite allegations of jealousy among other writers about this, the topmost intellectuals and writers continued to support her. From a modest literary profile in the early 1990s, she achieved a meteoric rise to global fame by the end of the twentieth century.
In 1992 she received the prestigious literary award Ananda from West Bengal in India for her Nirbachito Kolam (Selected Columns), she was the first writer from Bangladesh to earn that award.
Since 1993, Taslima has faced several death threats from Islamic fundamentalists for her criticism of Islam, the Qur’an and Muhammad. With no hesitation she criticized religion, traditions, and the oppressive cultures and customs that discriminate against women.
According to Taslima, the religious scriptures are out of time, out of place. Instead of religious laws, she maintains, what is needed is a uniform civil code that accords women equality and justice.
Freedom of expression for some is not enough
We must work for freedom of expression for all
Human rights for some are not enough.
We must work for the human rights for all.
Peace for some is not enough.
We must work for peace for all.
I, come what may, will not be silenced.
Come what may, I will continue my fight
for equality and justice without any
compromise until my death.
Come what may, I will never be silenced.’
Lajja is a novel by Taslima Nasrin. It was published in 1993 in the Bengali language. The word lajja means “shame”. Taslima Nasrin, the writer of the book, has dedicated the book “to the people of the Indian subcontinent”, and has announced the beginning of the book with these words: “let another name for religion is humanism.” The novel is preceded by a preface and a chronology of events.
Lajja is a response of Taslima Nasrin to anti-Hindu riots which erupted in parts of Bangladesh, soon after the demolition of Babri Masjid in India on 6th December 1992. The book subtly indicates that communal feelings were on the rise, the Hindu minority of Bangladesh was not fairly treated, and secularism was under shadow. In “Lajja”, Nasreen again criticized the Islamic view of women. This book was subsequently banned in Bangladesh, and in few states of India.
Nasreen’s writings express her thoughts on religion, feminism, and sexuality clearly, issues that are not often expressed in the open in the traditional Muslim society of Bangladesh.
Taslima Nasrin’s Creations :
The Game in Reverse: Poems and Essays by Taslima Nasrin 1995
Shikore Bipul Khudha (Hunger in the Roots), 1986
Nirbashito Bahire Ontore (Banished Without and Within ), 1989
Amar Kichu Jay Ashe Ne (I Couldn’t Care Less), 1990
Atole Ontorin (Captive In the Abyss), 1991
Balikar Gollachut (Game of the Girls), 1992
Behula Eka Bhashiyechilo Bhela (Behula Floated the Raft Alone), 1993
Ay Kosto Jhepe, Jibon Debo Mepe (Pain Come Roaring Down, I’ll Measure Out My Life for You), 1994
Nirbashito Narir Kobita (Poems From Exile), 1996
Jolopodyo (Waterlilies), 2000
Khali Khali Lage (Feeling Empty), 2004
Kicchukhan Thako( Stay For A While), 2005
Nirbachito column (Selected Columns)
Jabo na Keno jabo (I will not go; why should I?)
Noshto meyer noshto goddo (Corrupt prose of a corrupt girl)
ChoTo choTo dukkho kotha (Tale of trivial sorrows)
Oporpokkho (The Opponent) 1992
Shodh (Revenge), 1992
Nimontron (Invitation) 1993
Phera (Return) 1993
Lajja (Shame) 1993
Bhromor Koio Gia (Tell Him The Secret) 1994
Forashi Premik (French Lover) 2002
Amar Meyebela (My Girlhood), 1999
Utal Hawa (Wild Wind), 2002
Ka (Speak Up), 2003
Dwikhondito (Split-up in Two), 2003
Sei Sob Andhokar (All those darkness), 2004
Meyebela, My Bengali Girlhood – A Memoir of Growing Up Female in a Muslim World, 2002 (ISBN 1-58642-051-8)
Ami Bhalo Nei, Tumi Bhalo Theko Priyo Desh (I am not okay, but you stay well my beloved homeland), 2006.
“Nature says women are human beings, men have made religions to deny it. Nature says women are human beings, men cry out NO!”
– Taslima Nasrin
– Ananda Award, India, 1992
– Natyasava Award, Bangladesh, 1992
– Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thoughts from the European Parliament, 1994
– Human Rights Award from the Government of France, 1994
– Kurt Tucholsky Prize, Swedish PEN,Sweden, 1994
– Hellman-Hammett Grant from Human Rights Watch, USA, 1994
– Humanist Award from Human-Etisk Forbund, Norway, 1994
– Feminist of the Year from Feminist Majority Foundation, USA, 1994
– Honorary Doctorate from Ghent
University, Belgium, 1995
– Scholarship from the German Academic Exchange Service, Germany, 1995
– Monismanien Prize from Uppsala University, Sweden, 1995
– Distinguished Humanist Award from International Humanist and Ethical Union, Great Britain, 1996
– Humanist Laureate from International Academy for Humanism, USA, 1996
– Ananda Award, India, 2000
– Global Leader for Tomorrow, World Economic Forum, 2000
– Erwin Fischer Award, International
League of non-religious and atheists
(IBKA), Germany, 2002
– Free-thought Heroine Award, Freedom From Religion Foundation, USA, 2002
– Fellowship at Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, USA, 2003
– UNESCO-Madanjeet Singh Prize for the promotion of tolerance and non- violence, 2004
– Honorary Doctorate from American University of Paris, France, 2005
– Grand Prix International Condorcet-Aron 2005, from the French- Parliament in Belgium, 2005.