Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen does not feel that India is an “intolerant” country and wondered why secularists in the country were questioning only Hindu fundamentalists. She also said that a democracy based on pseudo-secularism was not a true democracy at all.
“I don’t think India is an intolerant country. Most of the people are quite tolerant for each other’s faith, I think”, she said at the Kerala Literature Festival in Kozhikode on Saturday evening, joining the debate over ‘intolerance’.
The author, living in exile in India after incurring the wrath of fundamentalists back home over a novel written by her in 1994, said, “The laws in the country (India) do not support intolerance. But there are so many intolerant people in the country.”
Responding to a question, she said, “Why secularists in India were questioning only Hindu fundamentalists while leaving alone Muslim fundamentalists. True conflict in India was between secularism and fundamentalism, between innovation and tradition and between people who value freedom and who do not”, she said.
“All religions were anti-women though distortions caused by fundamentalists added to it”, Nasreen said explaining her struggle against fundamentalism. Holding that religion should be kept separated from government, she said influence of religion in lawmaking has caused “oppression” of both Hindu and Muslim women in Bangladesh.
More than 150 writers of national and international repute are taking part in the four-day festival which concludes on Sunday.