Sunday, March 23, 2008

The continuing vilification of Taslima Nasreen

I’ve heard from at least a couple of prominent Indian litterateurs (a poet and a novelist) that Taslima Nasreen tends to avoid the South Asian tables at conferences to sit with the firangs. I remember that the poet seemed to see it as a personal affront and an indication of Nasreen’s lack of respect and affection for her South Asian brethren. The novelist, whom I knew much better, said it with a lack of judgment and perhaps just the smallest glimmer of a smile—no wonder I love him still.

So now that Nasreen has decided to live in France or Germany for lack of cardiological care in India—it’s caused a big upset among those who read (and watch) South Asian literature: What? Like there aren’t any good cardiologists in India? Does she know that people come to India for heart treatments from all over the world?

Before everyone jumps on her case, however, I think it makes sense to read her statement, which sounds like a reasonable response to Indian bureaucracy and its botched rescue attempt.

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