Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen, while reacting to the vandalisation of statues, has said “people can’t control their emotion”, but asserted that a defeated party should not be targeted as was the norm in the Middle Ages, in a reference to the razing of communist icon Vladimir Lenin’s statues in Tripura.
It is a democracy, and not a Middle Ages war in which the side that used to win, vandalised the defeated side’s houses and looted their assets, she said on the sidelines of an event organised by the Reader’s Digest.
“That was the norm in the ages of what we call the Dark Ages. But now it is modern times. If any party is defeated, they are not your enemies…. They are just your political opposition,” the 55-year-old author told PTI when asked about the recent incidents of vandalising of statues, including that of Lenin.
Nasreen said that if one does not like Lenin, one may not follow his ideology but there was no need to break his statues.
“The ideology of all those people whose statues have been erected, we may not like but we don’t break their statues,” she said yesterday.
The incident happened just days after the Left was defeated in the Assembly polls by the BJP and its ally IPFT, which together won a two-thirds majority in the House in a state where the CPI(M) was in power for 25 years.
Later, in a tweet, Nasreen also talked about other incidents of statue vandalisation in the country.
“The statues of Lenin, Periyar, Amdedkar, Subhash Bose have been vandalised. People can’t control their emotion. Don’t worry. Statues will be erected again,” she later tweeted.
“In Kolkata, the statues of Gandhi, Shyamaprasad Mukherjee, Netaji, Rabindranath Tagore, Vivekananda, Vidyasagar etc are getting probably Y or X category security. But the statue of Lenin is getting Z plus security. Lal Salaam, Comrade statue!” she said in another tweet.
At the event, Nasreen along with other writers — Nilanjana S Roy, Prayaag Akbar, Samit Basu, Shubhra Gupta and Himanjali Sankar — regaled the audience with storytelling.
Nasreen, who had fled Bangladesh in the early 1990s after right wing Muslim outfits issued death threats to her, talked about freedom and exile.
The event, whose theme was ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Women’, marked the launch of the Reader’s Digest Chronicles, a live storytelling series.
Sanghamitra Chakraborty, Editor, Reader’s Digest, said “Stories and storytelling can also be an act of resistance.”
“There are enough examples of powerful dystopian fiction that can flag clear and present danger. For example, stories of women trapped in surveillance states, looking for their lost children — and freedom,” she said.