Last week I had gone to window shop to a prominent market in town. When I was looking at all the Christmas decorations, I heard a whispering close-by. There was this man from a nearby book-store who was offering a copy of the book “Dwikhandito” [Spilt in two] an autographical work by Taslima Nasreen. Incidentally the book had been banned by the West Bengal government a few days back. Till then the book was being sold like hot-cakes and was probably in its third reprint. More than the literary quality of the work, what shot it into (in)famous prominence was the writer’s “brutal honesty” in documenting her relationships with the “men in her life”. The third of her projected five-part autobiography ( the first two being “Aamar Meyebela” and “Utal Hawa”), stirred many a hornet’s nest in both Bangladesh and West Bengal. Most of her books are banned in Bangladesh and this time too it did not take long. But for the first time the comparatively liberal West Bengal government also followed suit citing reasons of probable communal disharmony arising out of the anti-Islamic passages. Yet what seems to have really caused the ruckus was the writer’s decision to put into paper her private indulgences with a few famous names.

The writer on her part is defending her decision to “tell the truth and nothing but the truth”. In an autobiography there are always chances of private stories being revealed, yet it is the writer’s responsibility to make sure that none of his/her words result in the overstepping of a socially acceptable limit. This limit is a matter of debatable nature and hence I would not like to comment much. I set my limits and if something seems to hot to handle I make sure I stay away from it.

In the case of this particular writer, ever since she made an appearance in the literary scene, she has been shrouded in controversy. Much of it seems to have been inflicted by herself. Hence she is forever a topic worth discussing over the coffee cups. Probably that is what she delights in, being the center of attraction. I have read one of her works. It was fast paced and similar to the Sidney Sheldonish style.

The state of West Bengal is famous for its liberal environment for the pursuits of the arts and much has been said and written about the ban. Yet this time not many of the big names in the literary names are coming out in support. Perhaps this is indication enough of the quality of the literary content and the intentions of the lady.

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