Remembering those days

India got independence from the British in 1947. But the independence brought the partition, based on religion. Pakistan was for Muslims. India was for Hindus. The political leaders of India believed in two nation theory. But the war between East and West Pakistan in 1971 proved that two nation theory was a wrong theory and Muslim unity was a myth. The leaders thought that the conflicts people had would be solved if only they could divide the land where people lived for thousands of years together. But they were wrong. A million people died during the partition. Hatred increased over the years. Muslim and Hindu fundamentalism grew more than ever. And after 66 years of the partition, now we see that India and Pakistan get nuclear bombs, Indians are in constant fear of Pakistani terrorists, Pakistanis are getting killed by talibans and drone attacks, Bangladesh’s secular fabric has been destroyed by the Islamists.

If there were no partition of India, there would not have any war in Bangladesh. 3 million people would not have been killed, and 200,000 women would not have been raped.
Today I am celebrating Independence Day of India by reciting ‘September on Jessore Road’, the poem written by Allen Ginsberg while remembering all the deaths and the homelessness of Bengalis.

Millions of babies watching the skies
Bellies swollen, with big round eyes
On Jessore Road–long bamboo huts
Noplace to shit but sand channel ruts

Millions of fathers in rain
Millions of mothers in pain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of sisters nowhere to go


One Million aunts are dying for bread
One Million uncles lamenting the dead
Grandfather millions homeless and sad
Grandmother millions silently mad


Millions of daughters walk in the mud
Millions of children wash in the flood
A Million girls vomit & groan
Millions of families hopeless alone

Millions of souls nineteenseventyone
homeless on Jessore road under grey sun
A million are dead, the million who can
Walk toward Calcutta from East Pakistan


Taxi September along Jessore Road
Oxcart skeletons drag charcoal load
past watery fields thru rain flood ruts
Dung cakes on treetrunks, plastic-roof huts

Wet processions Families walk
Stunted boys big heads don’t talk
Look bony skulls & silent round eyes
Starving black angels in human disguise


Mother squats weeping & points to her sons
Standing thin legged like elderly nuns
small bodied hands to their mouths in prayer
Five months small food since they settled there

on one floor mat with small empty pot
Father lifts up his hands at their lot
Tears come to their mother’s eye
Pain makes mother Maya cry


Two children together in palmroof shade
Stare at me no word is said
Rice ration, lentils one time a week
Milk powder for warweary infants meek

No vegetable money or work for the man
Rice lasts four days eat while they can
Then children starve three days in a row
and vomit their next food unless they eat slow.


On Jessore road Mother wept at my knees
Bengali tongue cried mister Please
Identity card torn up on the floor
Husband still waits at the camp office door

Baby at play I was washing the flood
Now they won’t give us any more food
The pieces are here in my celluloid purse
Innocent baby play our death curse

Two policemen surrounded by thousands of boys
Crowded waiting their daily bread joys
Carry big whistles & long bamboo sticks
to whack them in line They play hungry tricks

Breaking the line and jumping in front
Into the circle sneaks one skinny runt
Two brothers dance forward on the mud stage
Teh gaurds blow their whistles & chase them in rage


Why are these infants massed in this place
Laughing in play & pushing for space
Why do they wait here so cheerful & dread
Why this is the House where they give children bread

The man in the bread door Cries & comes out
Thousands of boys and girls Take up his shout
Is it joy? is it prayer? “No more bread today”
Thousands of Children at once scream “Hooray!”

Run home to tents where elders await
Messenger children with bread from the state
No bread more today! & and no place to squat
Painful baby, sick shit he has got.

Malnutrition skulls thousands for months
Dysentery drains bowels all at once
Nurse shows disease card Enterostrep
Suspension is wanting or else chlorostrep

Refugee camps in hospital shacks
Newborn lay naked on mother’s thin laps
Monkeysized week old Rheumatic babe eye
Gastoenteritis Blood Poison thousands must die

September Jessore Road rickshaw
50,000 souls in one camp I saw
Rows of bamboo huts in the flood
Open drains, & wet families waiting for food

Border trucks flooded, food cant get past,
American Angel machine please come fast!
Where is Ambassador Bunker today?
Are his Helios machinegunning children at play?


Where are the helicopters of U.S. AID?
Smuggling dope in Bangkok’s green shade.
Where is America’s Air Force of Light?
Bombing North Laos all day and all night?

Where are the President’s Armies of Gold?
Billionaire Navies merciful Bold?
Bringing us medicine food and relief?
Napalming North Viet Nam and causing more grief?

Where are our tears? Who weeps for the pain?
Where can these families go in the rain?
Jessore Road’s children close their big eyes
Where will we sleep when Our Father dies?


Whom shall we pray to for rice and for care?
Who can bring bread to this shit flood foul’d lair?
Millions of children alone in the rain!
Millions of children weeping in pain!

Ring O ye tongues of the world for their woe
Ring out ye voices for Love we don’t know
Ring out ye bells of electrical pain
Ring in the conscious of America brain

How many children are we who are lost
Whose are these daughters we see turn to ghost?
What are our souls that we have lost care?
Ring out ye musics and weep if you dare–

Cries in the mud by the thatch’d house sand drain
Sleeps in huge pipes in the wet shit-field rain
waits by the pump well, Woe to the world!
whose children still starve in their mother’s arms curled.

Is this what I did to myself in the past?
What shall I do Sunil Poet I asked?
Move on and leave them without any coins?
What should I care for the love of my loins?


What should we care for our cities and cars?
What shall we buy with our Food Stamps on Mars?
How many millions sit down in New York
& sup this night’s table on bone & roast pork?

How many millions of beer cans are tossed
in Oceans of Mother? How much does She cost?
Cigar gasolines and asphalt car dreams
Stinking the world and dimming star beams–

Finish the war in your breast with a sigh
Come tast the tears in your own Human eye
Pity us millions of phantoms you see
Starved in Samsara on planet TV

How many millions of children die more
before our Good Mothers perceive the Great Lord?
How many good fathers pay tax to rebuild
Armed forces that boast the children they’ve killed?


How many souls walk through Maya in pain
How many babes in illusory pain?
How many families hollow eyed lost?
How many grandmothers turning to ghost?

How many loves who never get bread?
How many Aunts with holes in their head?
How many sisters skulls on the ground?
How many grandfathers make no more sound?


How many fathers in woe
How many sons nowhere to go?
How many daughters nothing to eat?
How many uncles with swollen sick feet?

Millions of babies in pain
Millions of mothers in rain
Millions of brothers in woe
Millions of children nowhere to go


They Deserve Buraqs

Allah sent Muhammad buraq, the winged horse, so that Muhammad,the prophet could travel to heaven. He went to heaven on buraq and met Moses, Jesus, a few more bearded guys and finally Allah the almighty.

Now look at the condition of Bangladesh today. They don’t have enough vehicles to travel. Millions of people are travelling to home to celebrate eid, the biggest Muslim religious festival, with their family and friends tomorrow. They are desperate to get some space in the trains,buses,boats. Train roofs and doors are overcrowded. Boats will sink. Many people would die. Allah should have sent Buraqs,the winged horses, to take these poor people home safely and quickly so that they can celebrate eid that Allah asked them to celebrate.


People are sitting on the roof of an already packed train while others are waiting in a Dhaka station.



The same crowd previous year.




I feel so sorry and I am so worried for these people. It happens every year. The same tragedy. What does Allah feel? Why doesn’t he make a miracle once for these people? Some winged things to fly home!

Punished for love

Hate is alright.
Assault is almost alright.
Rape is not so alright in some cases, but alright in many cases.
Killing is alright in many cases too. For example, the state can kill in the name of capital punishment, you can kill people as much as you want during the war, you can kill a passerby if you feel you would get attacked by him.
Love is not alright.
You can be jailed for love in a country called Bangladesh.

Here is the news.

A 22-year-old Muslim woman in Bangladesh has been arrested and charged with kidnapping after she eloped with and married a Hindu teenage girl in what could be the first reported same-sex marriage in the conservative country that bans homosexuality.

Police arrested Sanjida Akter and her 16-year-old girlfriend in Dhaka on July 23 after the minor’s father registered a complaint, saying his daughter had been abducted.


Abduction charge? Then the girl who abducted the other girl should be arrested, why the girl who was abducted was arrested? Old men forcefully marry girl children everyday in the rural areas. I have never heard any man gets arrested for their crimes to marry minors. Now, a couple who love each other and start living together arrested. I doubt whether the younger girl is really 16. It can be a made up age to make the arrest easier. We live in a violent world, where love and love making are often considered crimes.

“We detained them in a house they rented and were stunned to discover this is a lesbian case,” Lieutenant Sazzad Raihan, an officer.

“Both told us that they love each other. They fled their homes in Pirojpur district to start a family in Dhaka. (The younger girl) told us that they were married under Hindu traditions at their home the previous night.”

Homosexuality and same-sex marriages are illegal in the majority Muslim south Asian nation and people who are open about their sexuality often face discrimination and violence. This may be the first known case of a same-sex marriage in Bangladesh, although the wedding was not performed by a cleric, priest or magistrate.

Homosexuality is illegal in Muslim countries. But homosexuality is legal in Muslim heaven. Beautiful young boys are kept in heaven to serve men wine and sex. Muslim countries are terribly hypocrite to ban alcohol and homosexual Love. Alcohol is not really banned in Bangladesh. People drink alcohol as much as they want. Male homosexuals are roaming around the cities, they don’t get often punished for being homosexuals. But girls get punished for being homosexuals only because they are girls, I don’t think they are punished because one of the married girls is a minor. The court would not recognize their marriage anyway. They only exchanged the garlands of flowers to be married.

Why so much anger against girls? Is it because they have denied to marry men and denied to be humiliated, abused and raped by men and denied to be treated like child bearing machines and slaves by men? The loving girls did not kill or harm anyone. Their only crime is they kick the ass of male dominated patriarchal system. Right, officers?

“A jinn (evil spirit) has possessed her since she was a student in class four [9 years old] and we tried many ways to free her from it. This is what’s provoking her into this behaviour,” Abdus Sobhan, Sanjida’s father said.

“No one will ever lodge any complaint against me. Not even [this girl] as I did not abduct her. She went with me willingly,” she told the newspaper before going to jail.

Finally! Women love women, so women must be possessed by evil spirits. Now beat her up until jinns leave her body. What a wonderful solution for the same-sex-love!
Patriarchy, religion, misogyny, ignorance, barbarism all walk hand in hand to destroy women whoever dare to enjoy the rights they deserve.


Finally someone from a hostile country has written an article which is not against me. All I heard about me for the last 20 years, is lies, lies and lies. All I got so far was hatred, hatred and hatred. Once upon a time, I was a best selling author and unbelievably popular among intellectuals and young men and women for my prose and poetry, for my ideas and thoughts. But everything changed since the religious fundamentalists and the governments started burning and banning my books and started issuing fatwas and arrest warrants against me. Religious misogynists continued using media, madrasas and mosques to spread lies about me to destroy my popularity. They got success. I was labelled as anti Islam, anti Muslim, bad writer, 3rd grade writer, vulgar writer, porn writer, slut, whore overnight. Slowly I lost all my interests in the country full of ignorant piece of shit, dickheads, faithheads, and filthy misogynists.

But when I see someone tries to read and understand what I write, it gives me back my good old days. I appreciate their efforts.

Taslima Nasrin thinks the Indian government gets nervous when it comes to thinking of providing shelter to the American whistleblower Edward Snowden. For that matter, she thinks that nearly every government or country around the world is frightened of the United States. Why else would Snowden remain trapped at Russian airport, unable walk free of it and into a country of his choice? She has a point.

Not very long ago, some irate Muslim lawmakers attacked Taslima Nasrin in Hyderabad. Earlier, somewhere in India, a Muslim bigot decreed that Taslima Nasrin be beheaded. The one who can accomplish the deed, or misdeed, would be rewarded with nothing less than a tidy sum of five hundred thousand rupees. When you sit back and reflect on the edict, disturbing as it is, you cannot but wonder at the temerity with which the so-called defenders of the faith have regularly taken it upon themselves to define the course of life for people who happen to think of temporal existence in terms of the literary and the philosophical. It is quite another point whether or not you agree with a writer. But it becomes a positive threat to decency and human dignity when an individual thinks nothing is remiss when he lets the world know that a writer who has aroused his ire must be dispatched with swiftness to the grave. Such a threat was held out back in 1989 to Salman Rushdie when Ayatollah Khomeini, convinced he was the new guardian of Islamic religious thought, ordered a bounty on the writer’s head. It was a bad move. It went against the principle of liberal thinking. It made Muslims everywhere shudder in unease.

History is of course replete with instances of individuals and groups and governments persuading themselves that they ought to be arbiters of the moral parameters which underpin, or should underpin, life. There is the story of Leni Riefenstahl, the German film-maker and admirer of Hitler (until the Third Reich collapsed in a heap), for whom life after 1945 was essentially a tale of vilification. There has been nothing to suggest that she collaborated with the Fuhrer in the latter’s nefarious attempts to reshape German society according to Aryan specifications. Not a shred of evidence has been found to implicate Riefenstahl in any of the crimes the Nazis committed in their twelve-year dominance of their country. But the film-maker continued to be reviled in her lifetime. In our times, the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk, whose Nobel certainly ought to have come later, is a man whose running battles with the state convince us that the historical image of the writer being at the receiving end of persecution is a reality that has acquired permanence of a definite kind. Naguib Mahfouz was never in the good books of the regime, any regime, in his native Egypt. And if you remember the trauma that Boris Pasternak went through once the Nobel for literature came to him in 1960, you will have cause to comprehend anew the many shades of darkness courageous writers live under from day to day.

It is these shades of darkness Taslima Nasrin has been living through for the past thirteen years. There has been no official decree formalizing her exile abroad; and yet no government in Bangladesh since 1994 has felt any compulsion of bringing her back home. There are the bigots who man the ramparts, here in Bangladesh, intent on ensuring that Nasrin does not make her way back to her country. In the mid-1990s, with the Awami League holding political authority in Bangladesh, the natural expectation arose that conditions would be facilitated for the writer to end her exile abroad and come home. The expectation turned out to have been misplaced, for the ruling classes were afraid of the consequences should Nasrin return to Bangladesh. The BNP-wallahs, of course, were never expected to warm to Nasrin. And they never did. Today it is our collective reputation as a nation proud of its democratic sensibilities that stands threatened through the hypocrisy defining our attitude to Taslima Nasrin. By every measure, Nasrin is a good writer. In terms of social commitment, she remains one of the foremost defenders of courage as a weapon in the war against obscurantism. Yes, to be sure, there are times when something of the worryingly judgmental comes into her analyses of conditions around her. But judgement ought never to be challenged through a brazen display of ignorance. You do not finish off the idea that is Federico Garcia Lorca by pumping bullets into his head. You may find Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s views on the faith she has deserted repugnant to the core, but when you decide that she should die for her heresy, it is your attitude which threatens to become a good deal more reprehensible than hers.

Taslima Nasrin’s thoughts have never been repugnant. Writers, in the true spirit of a formulation and dissemination of ideas, are careful to state the truth. Any writer who believes that treading a fine line between truth and the lack of it is what the calling of writing should be is making a dreadful mistake. You are not a writer if you cannot or will not write in all the boldness your heart can call forth. That is where the difference between politicians and writers lies. A politician, with his sights on gaining power over the state, will hedge his arguments, will compromise to reach the top of the mountain. A writer has no such compulsions, for it is not the peaks he aspires to. He is content with the open valley before him, for in that valley he spots beauty he sings praises of and notes cacti he thinks ought to be out of the way. There is Ahmad Faraz in Pakistan. Courage in the face of adversity has been his forte. In Bangladesh, Ahmad Sharif and Shaukat Osman, all these years after their passing, remain emblematic of the principles that once underlined, and continue to denote, writing. Araj Ali Matubbor was an iconoclast all his life. In death, he remains an inspiration from whom men and women given to thoughts of life and nothingness draw a certain strength of will.

The bizarre spectacle of the severed head of Taslima Nasrin on a platter is an image that should bring men and women of conscience everywhere together. The man who issued that threat is a grave danger to decency, to civilised life everywhere and ought to be dealt with as such. For us, here in Bangladesh, it is time to ask that the state move to reinstate the rights of a woman who has been wronged for the past thirteen years, through opening the door for her re-entry into a country she was born in and to which her devotion has been as well pronounced as ours.

And much of the shame our impotence puts us to can be scratched away when, and only when, those who dominate Bangladesh’s literary ambiance in these times come together in a defence of Taslima Nasrin’s unquestioned right to be back where she belongs. And she belongs here, whether or not you like it.

Correction: I was forced to leave my country 20 years ago. I have been living in exile and prevented by the authorities of Bangladesh to return home since then.

‘Religion Is The Biggest Bane For Any Democracy’

Religion is the biggest bane for any democracy. – Taslima Nasreen

Bangladesh’s biggest right-wing party Jamaat-e-Islami has been banned from contesting future polls by the Bangladesh High Court in Dhaka, which cancelled its registration in a landmark ruling on 1 August, leaving the once powerful fundamentalist party with an uncertain future. Author Taslima Nasreen who has been living in exile for over two decades in India tells Agnivo Niyogi that taking a cue from the verdict, parties in India should also shun religion-based politics.

What are your initial reactions to the court’s decision to debar Jamaat from fighting elections?

It is indeed great news for all secularists that a religious organisation that doubled up as a political party, has been finally banned from fighting elections. Although Jamaat is called a right-wing political organisation, it is no less than a terrorist outfit. Dissent had no place in the reign of terror unleashed by Jamaat.

The religious fundamentalists have left the Bangladesh society bleeding. Allowing them to engage in political activism is thus an insult to the principles on which Bangladesh was founded. Jamaat used foreign funds in brainwashing innocent kids at madrasas, gave them military training and unleashed their brute force on their own countrymen who refused to toe their line. A ban on such an organisation is a welcome step indeed.

Do you think the Awami League government will now reinstate the 1972 Constitution and establish Bangladesh as a secular nation?

I do not think so. Although this court verdict is a step in the right direction, the society at large is not secular in Bangladesh. If the government suddenly decides to do away with Islam as state religion, the masses might go against them. Sheikh Haseena wouldn’t want to make such a gamble with her poll fortunes. Awami League wouldn’t want to be painted as anti-Islam in the election year.

What do you think will be the possible repercussions of the ban on Jamaat?

The Jamaat was a banned organisation at the birth-hour of Bangladesh. After the 1971 Liberation War, when Sheikh Mujibur Rahman came to power, he banned the organisation that sided with Pakistan against their own brothers and sisters, raped thousands and killed even more. But after the death of Mujib, they were given a new lease of life by a few military men, solely for political motives. Thus began the process of Islamisation of a secular nation, which is on till now. To return to the Constitution of 1972, we need a societal change, for which this ban was necessary.

Do you hope this verdict will pave the way for your return to your motherland?

Several parties have come to power since I was exiled. Faces change, but the nature of the ruler doesn’t. Be it Awami League, or the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, everyone needs the support of Islamists to stay in power. The state machinery in Bangladesh is afraid to stand up for freedom of expression; they lack the conviction to take on the fundamentalist forces in the country. We cannot expect the society to change overnight. The Islamisation that has happened for decades in the country cannot be undone by just one verdict.

The Awami League government may be more secular than other parties, but we must not forget that the same government arrested atheist bloggers during the Shahbag protests. Hence, I don’t see any hopes for my return to my homeland anytime soon.

The Jamaat-e-Islami may hit the streets to protest against the court decision. Do you feel that the secular masses will rise again, like in Shahbag, to facilitate the process of formation of a secular state?

When Hefazat-e-Islami had unleashed terror on the streets with over five lakh people taking law into their hands during an anti-government demonstration, the administration had dealt with them with an iron hand. If the government is ready to take the Islamic fundamentalists head-on, there is no need for the people to take to the streets. I have faith that the government will once again assume an unbiased role, for the cause of the nation.

Do you think the ripples of the Bangladesh verdict will be felt in India too?

Bangladesh is too small a nation for the Indian government to take note of. India is more concerned about the daily happenings in Pakistan. However, I feel that India must give Bangladesh the credit it deserves for showing the resolve to fight religious fundamentalism. Islamist organisations based in India should take a cue from this verdict and mend their ways. Moreover, parties in India should shun religion-based politics. Parties cry foul in the name of democracy when their religious intents are exposed. However, according to me, religion is the biggest bane for any democracy.

A great news from a fucked up Islamized country.

The Bangladesh High Court banned the biggest Islamist party called Jamaat-e-Islami from contesting future polls. Such a great news from a fucked up Islamized country! Jamaat-e-Islami acts like a terrorist organization. This is the group of barbarians that has been systemically destroying the secular fabric of the country through Islamization. The Jamaati terrorists brutally stabbed and killed the country’s enlightened people whoever opposed them. It is the same group that has been screaming for the death of the atheist bloggers for the past few months. They are desperate to grab the power, and introduce Islamic sharia laws,and the laws against blasphemy. Jamaat-e-Islami’s ideology goes against democracy, human rights, women’s rights and freedom of expression. They are for theocracy, Islamism and barbarism.

The newly independent Bangladesh banned religion based politics in 1971. But after a few years, some unpopular rulers who tried to gain popularity by using Islam in Muslim majority country, legalized Jamaat-e-Islami, and helped them win elections. Frankenstein was made to threat all the legitimate political parties.

In front our eyes a secular state was circumcised and converted to an Islamic fundamentalist state. Now you are worried about democracy, right? Banning Jamaat-e-Islami is not about violating democratic principles, it is rather saving them. No,’it’s not a blow to democracy. Recognizing terrorists as legitimate political entity would be a blow to democracy’.

India and Pakistan and other neighboring countries should learn from little Bangladesh to ban religion based politics. If you want a secular state, you have to separate religion from state, right? And if you do that, there is no way that you can allow a political party which is based on religion to exist. Let’s have true secularism in the subcontinent.

Two cheers for democracy!

Ghulam azam, a 91-year-old war criminal, has been sentenced to 90 years in prison for the crimes he committed during the liberation war of Bangladesh in 1971.

A collaborator of the Pakistani army, Azam was directly involved in killing 3 million people and the rapes of 200,000 women. After the assassination of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of Bangladesh, Azam returned to the country with the help of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party. Meanwhile, the Jamaat-e-Islami, the once-banned political party of Islamists, was given a free hand in the Islamisation of politics. Beginning in the mid-1970s, Islamisation went on to destroy the secular fabric of the newborn nation.

Of course, Azam will not live another 90 years to end his prison term. An ailing man, he will stay in the hospital until he dies. He will not really suffer like other prisoners. He enjoyed a celebrity life for more than 40 years as the top leader of the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh, the country whose birth he had violently opposed. Even though he will be privileged as a prisoner in his last days, still his punishment means a lot for the secular people in Bangladesh.

The war criminals have got every opportunity to turn a secular country into Darul Islam, the land of Islam. Many of them were even made Parliament members. The Jamaat-e-Islami uses religion to win the hearts and minds of god-fearing ordinary people.

A few months ago, however, there was a big secular uprising despite the threats of the Islamic fundamentalists. Many secularists demanded the banning of Jamaat-e-Islami. I supported that demand even though I am all for democracy, because the Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh is a terrorist organisation. The Islamists aim to bring theocracy and bury democracy and secularism forever.

The punishment Azam got now in his 90s is just a symbolic one. Sheikh Hasina has been in power before, but she was reluctant to bring war criminals to justice. But this time, probably, the popularity of the recent secular movement made her decide to punish war criminals. She got a huge number of votes in the last election after she promised to bring them to justice and fight the fundamentalists. Though she also promised to bring back 1972’s secular Constitution, as Prime Minister she showed no such initiative.

Her party is considered the most secular in Bangladesh, yet they arrested some secularist bloggers a few months ago. Indeed, there is no true secular political party in the country that can assure the security of all the people, including non-believers, and protect their right to express their opinions fearlessly.

Bangladesh may have won the war in 1971, but the war actually is far from over. A war is still going on, a war of two opposite ideas — secularism and fundamentalism; between rational, logical thinking and irrational blind faith; between modernism and barbarism, humanism and Islamism; between those who value freedom and those who do not.

The old generation committed an enormous mistake by letting fundamentalists influence the people. Now the new generation has to transmute their country into a secular nation — free of religion, fanaticism, fascism and barbarism. People need to get angry. I am painfully aware of the evil powers that once attempted to eliminate me, and with whom the pro-Islamist government ultimately conspired to throw me out of Bangladesh, my own country, 20 years ago, never to allow me in again.

Therefore, I would love to see millions of angry, passionate young people with a vision rise against the Islamists’ insanity, and guide the country to a new era.

‘Women are like tamarinds’.

Allama Shah Ahmed Shafi is a very powerful man in Bangladesh. This Deobandi scholar has a huge followers. A few months ago he called for a general strike, half a million people came to the street to occupy Dhaka. In his new public meeting, he spoke against women’s rights. Speaking against women and their rights is nothing new in Bangladesh. Religious, political, societal, cultural leaders use their own fine languages to suppress,oppress,denigrate, abuse, humiliate women.

Allama said,

Women should take care of furniture, bring up children and stay within the confines of their homes!

“You women should stay within the four walls of your houses.
“Sitting inside your husband’s home you should take care of your husband’s furniture and raise your children, your male kids. These are your jobs. Why do you have to go outside?”

“Why are you sending your daughters to work in garment factories? She goes to work after Fajr at 7/8:00am and does not come back even at 8/10/12 at night.”

“You do not know which man she is hanging out with. You do not know how much zina [unlawful sexual activity] she is getting involved in. Through zina, she is earning money, which does not bring prosperity [Barkat].”

“Women go to schools, colleges and universities; let them study up to class four or five. After marriage, keeping record of their husbands’ finances is enough for them.
“You are spending lakhs of taka for sending them to schools, colleges and universities. But, after a few days, your daughter will get a husband of her own, enter into a love marriage or a court marriage and elope. She will not remember her father.”

“Students, both boys and girls, have mobile phones. The male students collect the phone numbers of female ones while female students go to schools and colleges and collect the phone numbers of male students. This is what is going on in the name of education.”

“Do not come out of your house. Do not roam naked on roads and at stations, markets and fields. Beware! Do not go shopping. Ask your husband and son to do the shopping. Why would you go? Ask your husband to bring this thing and that. You just sit and order your son. Why do you have to take the trouble?”

“If a small boy is sucking on a piece of tamarind…. when you walk beneath a tamarind tree… when you go by a tamarind shop in the market, it makes your mouth water; women are worse than that.”

“Seeing women, your heart salivates in desire — desire to marry them, to enter into a love marriage or a court marriage.”

“These women are like tamarinds. If you are studying with women day and night, your heart will not be able to control itself. You are walking on the streets and shaking hands [with women]; you will not be able to control your heart.
“No matter how pious you may be, if you shake hands with a woman, your heart will start having evil intentions. This is a Zina of the mind, Zina of the heart, and soon it will turn into a real Zina.
“If an elderly man tells me that he does not start having evil intentions when he sees a woman, then I will tell him: ‘Old man! You are suffering from impotency, your manhood has gone. That is why you do not get evil intentions when you see a woman.’”

In his sermon, Shafi strongly opposed family planning and birth control. He asked men to have four wives to increase the size of Muslim community.

I heard that many people in Bangladesh even who believe in Islam are angry with Allama because of his vulgar talk. But the truth is, Allama did not say anything that Allah didn’t say in the Quran or Muhammad didn’t say in the Hadiths. Allah suggested men to have four wives if necessary. Allama did the same. Muhammad asked women to stay at home, and to not go outside, so did Allama. Muhammad suggested women not to go in front of men who are not their close relatives. Allah and Muhammad both endorsed patriarchal system for society, which made men superior to women. Women are advised to run to their husbands whenever they called them for sex, it is women’s religious duty to do household chores, to bear and rear children, to take care of the house belong to their husbands and obey their husbands, their masters. These are from the sacred hadiths. I have no idea why the believers of Islam should angry with Allama. Allama promoted patriarchy the way Allah and Muhammad promoted. Almost all the people, from politicians to playwrights, promote patriarchal system. The difference between them and Allama is Allama is innocent and honest. He hasn’t learnt yet the politically correct language like other respected misogynist gentlemen.

Allama compared women with tamarinds, it is the only thing I found new in Allama’s talk. Women are often compared with fruits, flowers and vegetables by poets, artists and all kinds of people. Those fruits etc. may smell and taste better than tamarinds, but the purpose of comparison is the same, to treat women nothing but sex-objects.
Like other religious big shots, Allama believes men are the predators and women are the prey. Men like to fuck around, so women better cover themselves in dark burqas and become pathetic mobile prisoners. Allama didn’t invent burqas. Muhammad chose that bizarre garments for women, to oppress and humiliate women.

Why blame Allama? All he did in his life was learned the Quran and the Hadiths. So that he knows better than many others that Islam is not compatible with women’s rights. He says everything what Islam says. You are a hypocrite if you praise Islam but accuse him of abusing women.

Islamists burn the Quran


People were killed. Many were injured day before yesterday. Islamists threw stones at police, set fire to private and public property.

There were rows of bookstalls selling old books there even until Sunday noon. Hifazat-e Islam’s violent blockade of Dhaka on Sunday has gutted almost 40 of these decades-old bookstores along with thousands of its collections.

The bookstores on the opposite footpath and also those under the over bridge, seemed to have shared the same fate.

The loss continues with Hifazat supporters setting fire to another 11 stores located beside the south gate of the National Mosque Baitul Mukarram during their program Sunday. Followers of Hifazat who claim to be the keepers of Islam did not even spare the Holy Quran, books of Hadith and other religious books. The blackened pages of the holy scripture of Islam now lie scattered as ash under the pedestrian feet.

The bereaved booksellers said supporters of Hifazat-e Islam had set fire to almost 55 bookstores. Beyond 50,000 books worth approximately Tk 10 million have been destroyed in the abrupt arson attack on Sunday.

The people who had gathered to see the sight were erupting with disgust for those who assert themselves as ‘keepers of Islam’ but are also desecrators’ of the holy book of Islam.

They burned everything that they found around the streets, buses, trucks, shops. They burned thousands of copies of the Quran. The burning of the Quran, I believe, is the best thing they have ever done. No ordinary Muslim would dare to burn the Quran. But the Islamists are brave enough to do whatever they like. Who knows more than the leaders of the Islamists that the words of the holy book are not really holy. All they want is the crown. They use holy books to build a ladder to reach the crown.