India the only place I identify with: Taslima

India the only place I identify with: Taslima

Celebrated Bangladeshi feminist writer Taslima Nasreen said she considers herself a citizen of the world and loves India, especially West Bengal, and feels a person should have the right to choose where to live.

Speaking informally to women mediapersons at the Indian Women Press Corps here Friday, Nasreen said she is grateful to the Indian government for having let her stay in India after she was banished from her country in 1994 and later allowing her to stay in a Delhi safehouse since 2011.

Nasreen's controversial 1993 book "Lajja" or Shame triggered anger among fundamentalists and led to the novel being banned in Bangladesh and death threats against her.

Nasreen said she is a citizen of Sweden and has a green card from the US, but she chose India to live in "because India is the only place I can live and identify with".

"I am a citizen of the world," said Nasreen, adding that people should be allowed to choose the place they want to live in.

Nasreen who has a blog, freethoughtsblog, pens her thoughts on any current subject she wants to write about. In her entry Friday, Nasreen has written about the Indian author Sushmita Banerjee who was killed by the Taliban in Afghanistan on Thursday.  In a piece titled, 'Taliban killed a Bengali woman, Barbarism', Nasreen has written that she knew Banerjee personally.

"I do not know about the conspiracy behind killing Sushmita, but I know why she was killed. She was killed because of patriarchy and religion," she has posted.

Nasreen said she has written 37 books. "I was told to stop writing by the government… So many were against me, the fundamentalists tried to stop me, but I never gave up," she said.

Nasreen, who was told to leave West Bengal in 2007, stays in a house in Delhi under police protection. "I travel a lot." She said she has lots of friends in West Bengal and a few in Delhi.

Nasreen said she has been out of her country for the past 20 years and even when her parents died she was not allowed to see them. Her sister lives in New York and a brother in Bangladesh.

Asked what is the attitude of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee towards her, the writer said the chief minister does not want her in the state.  According to her, the ruling Trinamool Congress and the Communist Party of India-Marxist are at loggerheads over every issue, save one - "that is me", referring to their wish to keep her away from the state.

Asked which Indian writers she likes, Nasreen said she likes Bangla writers, especially the classical authors like Rabindranath Tagore and Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay. Among Indian English writers, she said she likes Arundhati Roy.

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