Posts Tagged ‘Taslima Nasreen’

Book Review: Lajja

Yes I used to call myself a human being, and I believed in humanism. But these Muslims did not let me stay human. They made me a Hindu.

Lajja is written by the fiery religious activist Taslima Nasreen from Bangladesh. Apparently this book was penned in just 7 days as claimed by the author.It is a work of fiction but set in a non-fictional background with the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition on 6th December, 1992 providing the historical background.

Lajja portrays in great depth and detail the agony and the anguish which the Hindu populace of Bangladesh had to endure after the Babri Masjid was brought down by Hindu fanatics in India. Ms. Nasreen weaves a plot involving the Dutta family and how the communal riots turn them from communists and nationalists to awkwardly assertive Hindus.The story culminates with the family reluctantly deciding to leave their beloved homeland and migrate to India.

This novel had been on my to-read list for a long time. But by the time I had leafed through the first 10 pages, I was convinced that the only claim to fame Lajja had was it’s controversial nature. A plain and simple plot is further let down by average narration, copious amounts of irrelevant historical details and an undisguised prejudice on the part of the author.The book lacks a balance and is extremely one-sided and judgemental.

But despite all it’s obvious shortcomings, Lajja brings to light the tragedy of the Hindu minority in a country growing increasingly Islamist, despite the secular credentials of it’s constitution. It also helps one understand the recent faceoff between the liberalists and radicalists of Bangladeshi society following a court sentence against some key Jamaat-e-Islami leaders.I would recommend reading this book not for the accuracy of it’s facts but for understanding it’s underlying theme from a ground-zero perspective.

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