I shouldn’t be flip, of course, about a serious situation. No, I’m not talking the famous Salman Rushdie. I’m talking about a fascinating Bengali feminist poet named Taslima Nasrin, whose life has been threatened by the usual suspects. The latest news is not encouraging.
Here’s an example of the kind of writing that’s gotten Taslima Nasrin in trouble:
Let the pavilions of religion
be ground to bits,
let the bricks of temples, mosques, guruduaras, churches
be burned in blind fire,
and upon those heaps of destruction
let lovely flower gardens grow, spreading their fragrance,
let children’s schools and study halls grow.
For the welfare of humanity, now let prayer halls
be turned into hospitals, orphanages, universities,
Now let prayer halls become academies of art, fine art centers,
scientific research institutes.
Now let prayer halls be turned to golden rice fields
in the radiant dawn,
Open fields, rivers, restless seas.
From now on, let religion’s other name be humanity.
[© Taslima Nasrin]
It’s unclear what steps are being taken on her behalf, but it might mean a lot to buy one or more of her books. I have her collection of poems The Game In Reverse on the way and will post about it once I’ve had a chance to read it.