This Article is From Dec 07, 2015

Conflict in India is Between Ideas of Secularism and Fundamentalism: Taslima Nasreen

Conflict in India is Between Ideas of Secularism and Fundamentalism: Taslima Nasreen

File photo of Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen.

Bengaluru: Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen on Sunday said the conflict in India is not between Hinduism and Islam, but between ideas of secularism and fundamentalism.

"There is a conflict in India; the conflict is between two different ideas- secularism and fundamentalism. I don't agree with those who think the conflict is between Hinduism and Islam," she said in a video message.

"To me this conflict is basically between rational logical thinking and irrational blind faith. To me this is a conflict between modernity and anti-modernism, between humanism and barbarism, between innovation and tradition."

"While some strive to go forward, others strive to go backwards. This conflict is between those who value freedom and those who do not," she added.

Ms Nasreen's recorded video message was played at Bangalore Literature Festival 2015 during a discussion on the topic 'Are we heading towards an intolerant India today?'

People who believe in equality and justice, plurality of thoughts, freedom of expression and love India should make it a better place, Ms Nasreen said.

Stating that intolerance is very much present in societies of the Indian subcontinent, she said it is "not new" here with women being victims of patriarchy, they being subjected to sexual harassment, rape, domestic violence, dowry deaths and sexual slavery.

She said incidents like a rationalist getting murdered and people getting killed for eating beef is not only intolerance, they are heinous crimes against humanity.

She also said she agrees with those who believe that Wahabi-Hinduism is destroying the pluralism of Hinduism. "Some Hindu fundamentalists are trying to be like Muslim fundamentalists," she added.

Noting that intolerance exists in all religious communities, Taslima Nasreen said, "because of intolerance India was divided, because of intolerance I was forced to leave my country, and because of intolerance I was thrown out of West Bengal, my books were banned, my TV serials were banned, and I was forced to leave India in 2008."

She said, "I believe no country becomes civilised without criticising the dogmatic practises of its religions; without separating state and religion- no state or society becomes modern."