Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Taslima Nasreen: Intercepting lonely Star's morality and wisdom

Photo: Controversial feminist writer Taslima Nasreen was issued death threats by radical Muslims and Islamists politicians


"IT WAS war criminal Golam Azam and Maulana Nizami gangs those mercilessly killed our founding father Mujib and his immediate family members" says one of the dedicated young comrade of "Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee"!! No wonder why our original rising star Doctor Taslima Nasreen targets "burgeoning Islamic fundamentalists" in Bangladesh as the only culprits behind our women's freedom, equal rights etc. No, here I have no plan to declare any war against her rights of free speech or have any intention to denigrate her "honest" odyssey of rescuing our neglected women society from "the hell". She must have her absolute right to say whatever she wants to say, whenever she wants say and the way she wants say.

For last several years, this stalwart defender (?) of our women's rights has become the front runner and been carrying the "torch" of freedoms of the women's world wide, especially of Bangladesh with her extra-ordinary genius ideals and superior mission. Sadly no one, I mean no one of her own creed has so far been jumping into her wagon and singing with her except only diminutive numbers of adulating MEN associates. "Messages" of her corrupted wisdom and scurrilous behaviors go against her "asperities" for women's freedom those would also be outright dismissed even in our modern and civilized/secular world.

Taslima's profane and grandiloquent proclamation on "a woman having sex with 10 men and could still preserve and maintain her virginity" (Ref; her interview with Devil's Advocate" posted in Mukto-Mona, dated, 20 August 2008) is an audacious and lurid expression of a perverted and morally exhausted mind. There is nothing decent and honorable about this iconoclast's idolatrous hyperbole who is riding on immoral and cyanic sarcasms those shall engender more indignity, pandemonium and compunction to our women society. Those of us, who believe in "morality" that helps separating right from wrong is unscientific and not logical, thus should not even exist; must be either ascribing to the morality of the animal kingdom or deceiving their own mind. Her illusory messages toward women's equal rights are implacable and "unproven truth" in our culture/society including women society. Our women society could never be proselytized by these inconsequential ideals and vagaries under the tutelage of liquidated Taslima Nasrin.

Years ago, mother Theresa was talking about importance of virginity to the girls (students) at Wellesley College and at Harvard. "It has more to do with love, affection, family bindings and spirituality than any physical/biological implication that shall keep human civilization moving" she said. I have difficulty in disagreeing with mother Theresa than accepting Taslima's permeating renditions of parasites. Obviously, infidelity is not a legal offense, thus spouses could not legally file divorce or legal actions against their spouse for cheating them. So, what is exactly so bad about infidelity and what it has, if at all, to do with morality, commitment, ethical conviction, trusts and family value? Are all these "virtues' of any importance to human civilization by any means? If infidelity is not a moral offense at all, then why the most powerful nation with civilized democracy, secularism, equal rights and freedom of speech (USA) and its entire Congress were so furious on President Bill Clinton's clandestine amorous relation with Monica Lewinsky? Why did they fail to accept that it was his all personal and private matter?

Here, one could genuinely come up with a debate on the definition of "Morality, Right & Wrong". I do clearly see the line that divides right from wrong is not defined in its absolute terms either and it is very relative. For instance, let us briefly talk about homosexuality; one cannot find anything wrong even in relative terms. If homosexuality is an act between two mutually consenting adults, what is exactly so wrong about it but honestly, how do we accept it in our real family, cultural and social life and why? I bet it is mostly the introduction of religions that have changed the dynamics of the issue since some of them have clearly stated that the act of homosexuality is a sin. In our real world of human civilization, we can also say that we have rightfully placed the concept of religion and God at a higher plane in understanding the concept and existence of life. We have our natural instincts pretty much in line with the law of the land and also equally with the religions because of the very fact that these laws were developed based on the opinions of the many (majority), many years experiments and statistical findings.

Insatiable and desultory Taslima needs to understand and recognize that humans are not animals and that sex is a morally significant issue. As sex does raise important moral concerns, sexual intercourse should be limited to loving and "committed relationships", institutionally known as marriage in a civilized or in a "not so civilized" world. This commitment is not simply matter of words of feelings; it legally, humanly, spiritually (if spirituality does exist!!) involves a full existential sharing on the part of 2 human beings of the burdens, opportunities and the challenges of their historical existence. We, often fail to see the wisdom of this view because we see the world through the lens of an acquisitive society and also that we are indeed different from animals. Often our socio-political environment encourages us to think of having sex with someone in the same way we think about going out to dinner with them. If I ask an attractive lady to dinner and she agrees, there is nothing morally wrong with our sharing dinner. Likewise, if I ask her to have sex and she agrees, there is nothing wrong with sharing our bodies, could only be an argument of Taslima's ground zero morality but are we there yet or should we ever be at all? This ignominious character got (herself) married 3 times with solid dignity and integrity besides her unofficial (several) amorous knots of "living-together" with few of her Kolkata sweet hearts those give us an authentic picture of her upscale and elite class definition of "family value", moral value and freedom of choice!! Well, there is nothing legally wrong to get married "every month" during her entire life and she could still be absolutely "RIGHT" too in doing so but what is "MORE RIGHT" is that a family with one spouse in general has become norms and facts of our life even in a civilized modern world, that's all! Could our women be ever inspired with this ultra-modern moral value and scientific ethical (mis)conducts? I doubt!

On women's equal right issue, this infamous character is spurious and more disparaging in attacking the Islamic fundamentalist than coming up with real issues of concerns those have been keeping our women behind and taking away their equal rights. This decrepit woman is motivated, saturated and occupied with her personal vendetta against them and thus coming up with no ameliorating objectivity instead. Of course, there many disturbing pictures on the issues of women's equal rights and freedom in Bangladesh those I hardly could comprehend. Only few weeks ago, a beautiful young woman, Aparna Roy (27) took her own life to get herself "freed at last" from the torturous "demand of dowry" in US soil (Woodside, VA). She left her crocodile; I mean "loving" husband Sumon Roy and 2 beautiful children behind. Aparna and Sumon were married only in 2001. This poignant ending of a beautiful life made me sick and emotionally charged with angers! There are hundreds of those so-called "accidents" in Bangladesh, India and Pakistan (not mentioning other Muslim nations) those are not becoming news or getting much attention. This is how our children (girls) in Bangladesh (perhaps in India too) are taught to treat their husbands as (almost) God or Debota during their childhood/youth and are forced to download all sickening abuses throughout their entire life.

Now, if we get back to the pre-Islamic history, we shall see that having "baby girls" was an indignity (in Arab world) and were buried alive. In medieval Hindu society, a widow was not looked upon favorably. She was at times considered a burden and there was fear for her purity, especially if she was young. They feared that she might partake in sexual activity. Men were, however, exempt from this if they were widowers. Some communities in our Indian subcontinent, wives still have no "divorce right". Women in Islam are not allowed to be Imam (conducting prayers in Mosque with man) though nothing is stated PRECISELY anywhere in the holy Quran to this motion or that only Men shall be the Imam. General meaning of Sura Al-Nisa (4-34, Women) in the Holy Quran is not conclusive on women conducting prayer (I mean only in the holy Quran). Women are not permitted to be Cardinals, Arch Bishop or Pope in Catholic beliefs. Dowry and acids burns have been taking tolls on women's lives and causing sufferings inhumanly. Sati Daha (Burning of widows) custom was a scary social custom practiced in portions of India in different times. It was the practice of cremating the widow live along with her husband. Its roots can be traced to ancient mythology; Sati, the wife of Dhakhsha, overwhelmed with grief at her husband's funeral jumped into the funeral fire and burned to death. This was an idealized representation of a wife's devotion to her husband and the custom bears the name of Dhaksha's wife, Sati. Through the works of some noble Hindus, especially Raja Ram Mohan Roy, this practice had been curbed. The Sati Daha custom had now diminished and in 1987 a law was passed making Sati Daha illegal, after a case of Sati Daha was reported.

Hundreds of year’s racial segregation known as "Apartheid" in South Africa orchestrated by Afrikaner (Dutch reform churches) and by early settlers in USA (before 1965) have been dismantled with the life long struggles of Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King. It is only 1927; women achieved their voting rights in USA. And there are so many to mention……BUT WHAT DO THE ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISTS EXACTLY HAVE TO DO WITH ALL THE ABOVE? Isn't it 9/11/2001 that made all these out of focus except only the Islamic fundamentalist as a bill board?

I am not here to rescue the Islamist fundamentalists or be any apologist for them but am only urging to broach the real culprits and issues of concerns against our women's freedom and equal rights in a colloquial manner. I did see the atrocities myself committed by "JAMAT" to our innocent men/women and against our freedom during 9 months liberation war against our so-called "Muslim brothers" of West Pakistan. Taslima's acrimony and concepts are grown from her personal animosity, transpires iniquitous and disgraceful. A Bangladesh "without religious fundamentalists" shall not "GUARANTEE equal rights and freedom for women there, will it? I wished it would have been that easy. Our motherland Bangladesh (former East Pakistan or India) is not ruled nor was ever ruled by fundamentalist like Taliban in Afghanistan or Khomeini in Iran rather has been a matriarchy for last 15 years. How many families/people of 150 million of Bangladesh are actually fundamentalist and how much control do these fundamentalists have over 150 million people/families and precisely how? My experience is most of the Bangladeshi people/families today are pro-Western in their heart and have great respects for western cultures.

So, we (Taslima included) need to look up for roots beyond making only religious fundamentalist a scapegoat against women's equal rights and freedom those have been embedded into our cultural bloods and social systems as norms and been reigning over for hundreds of years; many years before 9/11/2001! We also need to recognize that our cultural identity is based on our traits and values that are learned in the family, school, social gathering etc. as part of our ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, socioeconomic level, geographical region, place of residence but we do notice that all these are CONSTANTLY CHANGING, though not enough! Our mental modernization believes and trusts that science could lead us down to the road of progress real fast but question always remains whether only science could really get us there. The aphorism is "Haste makes waste".

We need cogitate before adjudicating on the risk factors of our women's prerogatives with uneven opinions or conclusions those could be misleading and distract us from actual core problems. We need to address and attack our poverty, education, standard of living, unemployment, healthcare........and all other basic needs along with the introductions and manifestations of public laws first to ensure a prosperous family of extant traditional culture, happiness and prosperity for all women. Yes, often religious fundamentalist (of any religion: say, recent Orissa event) could be obstacles and be on the way of our spirits and momentum of progress on women's equal rights and thus it must be addressed as culpable too; because it is an issue but not the only issue!

Nevertheless, the bottom line is; this picayune and evanescent star's temerity and laudatory ebulliences shall get lost real fast with full disgrace from the history of our time and beyond our notice. #

Mohammad Gani writes on Bangladesh current affairs and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA