“India a Tolerant country”: Taslima Nasreen

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New Delhi: Self exiled Bangladeshi Author Taslima Nasreen said today at a event  “I think India is a tolerant country, but some people are intolerant. In every society, there are some people who are intolerant,” while referring to the recent violence in Malda in West Bengal. India is a tolerant country with a few intolerant people and it is time to focus not just on Hindu fundamentalists but on Muslim fundamentalists as well, Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen said.

She said while there was talk about Hindu fundamentalists, one has to talk of Muslim fundamentalists as well. Nasreen said absolute freedom of speech was necessary even if it offended some people.

“I think we should have freedom of expression even if that offends some people. If we do not open our mouths, society will not evolve. Of course, we should fight against misogyny, religious fundamentalism and all kinds of evil forces only to make the society a better one.”

The writer was participating in a discussion on “Coming of the Age of Intolerance” at the ongoing Delhi Literature Festival at Dilli Haat here on Saturday evening.

The author had drawn the ire of fundamentalists in Bangladesh for her controversial books like ‘Dwikhandito’ and was forced to leave Bangladesh in 1994 for allegedly hurting religious sentiments with her novel ‘Lajja’.

On the other hand, BJP ideologue and writer Sudheendra Kulkarni said absolute freedom could only be exercised with responsibility.

“There is no freedom whatsoever to show any religion in bad light, knowing that it will hurt sentiments and insult others. I completely disagree that writers should have absolute freedom. Freedom must be exercised with responsibility,” he said.

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