They do not believe in freedom of expression



“It was a shocking thing to say and I knew it was a shocking thing to say. But no one has the right to live without being shocked. No one has the right to spend their life without being offended. Nobody has to read this book. Nobody has to pick it up. Nobody has to open it. And if you open it and read it, you don’t have to like it. And if you read it and you dislike it, you don’t have to remain silent about it. You can write to me, you can complain about it, you can write to the publisher, you can write to the papers, you can write your own book. You can do all those things, but there your rights stop. No one has the right to stop me writing this book. No one has the right to stop it being published, or bought, or sold or read. That’s all I have to say on that subject.” — Philip Pullman, the author of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.


American Historian Peter Heehs is facing expulsion from his home of 41 years.   He wrote a  book on Indian spiritual Guru  Sri Aurobindo.  The disciples of   Aurobindo claim that the  book is  blasphemous because Heehs wrote Aurobindo was schizophrenic and  had a romantic  relationship with  one of his disciples.

Aurobindo was  a  talented man, a  freedom fighter, philosopher,yogi, guru, and a poet. If he were alive today, he would probably  not have allowed his disciples to expel  Peter Heehs from his ashram.

We are now witnessing a gradual Islamization of  Hinduism.


The   disciples  or the believers or the worshipers  create  problems. They can’t stand the truth.

They could not stand  the truth Pakistani Dr. Sheikh Yunus  said. During his  lecture at a medical college, he said that  Muhammad did not become a Muslim  until the age of 40 when  he received his  first revelation  from God, and also that Muhammad’s parents were non-Muslims because they died before Islam was created, and  that Muhammad  married his first wife when he was 25, without an Islamic marriage contract, and that he  was not circumcised.

Sheikh Yunus  was sentenced to death by hanging.


We have been  paying  the price  for their  collective ignorance big time.





    • says

      For anyone reading this now, the part that says, “We are now witnessing a gradual Islamization of Hinduism,” originally said, “We are now witnessing a semitized Hinduism.”

      • says

        Arabic is one of the semitic languages, and Islam is one of the semitic religions. Ordinary people understand islamization better than semitization.

      • Martyn N Hughes says

        From Wordweb (it’s a desktop dictionary, incase your Wondering):

        Adjective: Semitic si’mi-tik

        1. Of or relating to or characteristic of Semites
        “Semitic peoples”

        2. Of or relating to the group of Semitic languages
        “Semitic tongues have a complicated morphology”

        Taslima is correct. Do not be looking for controversy ‘Ace of stevens’ where this is none.

        • Gregory in Seattle says

          It is a fair question. When one uses the phrase “anti-Semitic,” one is typically referring only to bigotry against Jews, not Arabs, Egyptians or other Semitic cultures.

          • Andrew G. says

            It’s worth noting that the term “anti-semitic” was originally used to mean “hatred of Jews” by the anti-semites themselves; they wanted a less obviously bigoted name than “Judenhass” (Jew-hate).

            The term “semiticization” or equivalent was also used by some 19th century racial theorists to refer to a (false) theory of racial origins in which the Semitic peoples were the result of racial mixing (considered abhorrent) between “pure” “Caucasian”, “Negroid”, and “Mongoloid” races (being located at the presumed geographical nexus between all three). These theories were naturally used to support the subsequent genocidal killings.

            This all means that using “Semitic” and its derived terms outside the specific contexts of language and cultural studies is likely to run into serious emotional baggage and should be handled carefully.

  1. Martyn N Hughes says

    It is shocking the number of religions that are morphing into far-right movements.

    Political Islam seeking to use Islam as its banner.
    Far-right Christians using Christianity as their banner.
    Orthodox Jews in Israel using Judaism as their banner (for persecuting women).
    Far-right Hindu’s seeking to use Hinduism as their banner.

    I suspect all these religions have always been this way, it’s just that we now see a global revival of them – and their true colours.

    • Zugswang says

      Just about every major world religion got where it was today largely through threats of violence and military conquest. Even Buddhism, which we tend to think of as conciliatory and peaceful, has a history of war and violence that allowed it to rise to such prominence.

  2. Ashley Zacharias says

    My faith is that the truth will always triumph eventually. It is impossible to stop the march of science, secularism, humanism, enlightenment, and civilization because the weight of truth gives them so much momentum. The heartbreak is that so many people will suffer so much at the hands of the religious fundamentalists of all stripes as they struggle against the inevitable demise of their various dogmas.

  3. Tareq says

    He was not circumcised!!!???? Then, why do people say ” Sunnat- e- khatna”??? Sunnat means something practised by the prophet, doesn’t it?

  4. suresh says

    ” We are now witnessing a gradual Islamization of Hinduism ”

    I don’t know why you have such high regard for Hinduism.
    You can cite different things and say Hinduism is not that worse compare to Islam. But I tell you what, being grown up in India for 24 years with Hindu parents, Hinduism is not any better than Islam or any other religion in the world.

    I don’t think Arabindo would do any different today than his other disciples. Its rather you ” Belief or Faith ” about Arabindo which makes you to want him seen as a saint. He was a yogi, like any other yogis of his age, or yogis now, they are all conmen, mystics, they are enemies of reason.

    It is sad, Tsalima your belief blindsided you.

    • says

      Oh man, You don’t know me. I wish you could read my books that criticize Hinduism. At least You can read the piece including comments to know how I was threatened by Hindu fanatics after making a few remarks on a Hindu guru.

      I still think monotheistic religions are more intolerant than polytheistic religions. I think Aurobindo as a human being was better than other Yogis. He was a poet after all! It is weird to think I want him ‘seen as a saint and my ”belief” blindsided me’. Before making such a baseless comments about me, you please try to know me and my work a bit.

      • suresh says

        I haven’t read your book, but I am familiar with your works, activities past 5 years. I know, from how you were attacked by Andhra Pradesh politicians to your recent twitter skirmish with Poonam Pandey ( which I believe unfortunate in your part).

        I think polytheistic religions are no less anemic than monotheistic religions, but their vigor varies. I don’t think you can compare one on one mapping between polytheism and monotheism and conclude that polytheism are less vigor. Maybe monotheism is more resistant to progress due to its structure and functioning, other than that, nothing is lethargic against reason.

        Regarding Aurobindo, in an atheistic perspective, I am not provoking anything about personality of Aurobindo as a person. What matters to me is the ideas. I am not disputing or making controversy about this literary knowledge or his poetic ability.

        Since you didn’t like the comment ” ‘seen as a saint and my ”belief” blindsided me’ ” let me rephrase it or let me put it in a euphemistic way. You have a soft spot for Aurobindo. May be you have that soft spot for him because he was a poet, but he was not just a poet. He was a nationalist, poet, also most importantly religious spiritual yogi/guru.

        Which is what his Ashram is promoting now as a prominent nationalistic religious spiritual yogi/guru. All that his spirituality are gibberish in its content, because he poetically wrote those spirituality nonsense doesn’t mean its not gibberish.

        Rig vedas are very poetic hymns, doesn’t mean they have any validity over the reality or has any Epistemological advantage.
        I request you to always mention his spiritual nonsense before you admire his poetic skill.

        May be Sachin Tendulkar can argue that Sai Baba Trust is doing so many good things around the world, giving tons of money to NGO’s and government, so we should should overlook all the controversies of sai baba. I don’t think you would buy such BS argument Nasreen, so when it comes to Aurobindo , I do not buy your argument either.

        Your soft spot for Aurobindo is very unfortunate.

        • says

          Your ignorance is more unfortunate than my so called soft spot on Aurobindo. You should not forget that I wrote that piece to support Peter Heehs’s right to write whatever he likes and his right to stay in India.

          • grung0r says

            If I have a soft spot for Aurobindo, I would not have supported Peter Heehs’s right to write whatever he likes about Aurobindo and his right to stay in India.

            So you support freedom of speech and the right to live where one chooses only if you agree with the person in question and have no soft spots for their enemies? How fascist of you.

          • grung0r says

            You should not forget that I wrote that piece to support Peter Heehs’s right to write whatever he likes and his right to stay in India.

            Despite your apparent refusal to publish my original comment even though you agreed with the content of it enough to change your wording(all without acknowledgement of a problem with your post), the change does not alter the underlying meaning of what you are saying. Supporting someone’s freedom of expression should not be evidence of your support of what they are saying. Truly supporting freedom of speech more often than not means defending the right for people to express the most vile and repugnant statements imaginable. Supporting the freedom of people to only state opinions of which you agree with isn’t freedom. It’s the opposite.

  5. anon says

    Peter Heehs has been granted a one-year extension of visa. I think the media pays to much attention to the loonies (as in the Jaipur Literary Festival case). Because Hinduism isn’t an organized religion in the way other religions are, ordinary Hindus don’t follow the diktat of the extremist fringe.

  6. Maude LL says

    Right on. However, I do find deplorable that Talisma does not apply this philosophy when it comes to porn. She is offended by porn (which is fine, as the quote says, she doesn’t have to watch it, and she can criticize it ad be offended by it, that is part of the process of the market of ideas), therefore it should be banned (censorship to fit one’s tastes). She selectively cites assertions that are not based on empirical research to support her claim that porn leads to rape and pedophilia and replies to criticisms by calling her readers “Talibans”. (It would be important if there were actual real research on the subject… however, when research was attempted, there were no men to be found in the “consumes no-porn” group. I personally contacted professors who had directed research cited in many Catherine MacKinnon articles… all of the professors replied in lengthy e-mails how they had been so severely wrongly cited, and that their research did not demonstrate negative effects of porn) … I see a double standard here. I may be a bit naive, but I wish eventually radfems will stop treating women who are different than as children who are not in control of their own agency. But yes, as underlined in this post, freedom of expression is not for warm and fuzzy topics. It supports the freedom to communicate offensive things. All the way. From Rush Limbaugh to Jean-Marie LePen to Fred Phelps, as much as they offend me.

    • says

      A healthy debate is always good. I believe in freedom of expression. I approved all your pro-porn rhetoric. I never said I wanted to ban porn. You should not try to shut me up. It won’t work.

      • suresh says

        I should not judge you Nasreen, but I have this feeling that after reading your last 2 threads about prostitution and pornography, and knowing about your conflict with Poonam Pandey, I guess you are less progressive in that sexuality area, may be its because you are still soaked in the culture you were raised, like how anything other than water is entirely different dimension to fish. Its a conjecture, not a accusation against you.

        • says

          You are so wrong! I have been fighting for women’s sexual freedom for more than 2 decades. I was hated, attacked and banned by patriarchal misogynists. Why don’t you read to get an idea.
          I am against sexual slavery,sexual exploitation, sexual harassment,sexual abuse, because I am for sexual freedom. If you think prostitution is sexual liberation, just imagine yourself as a prostitute, imagine your mouth, your vagina,your anus get penetrated by one stranger and then another and then another and then another and then another and then another. Everyday. You have no other option. Will you feel liberated?

    • julian says

      I see a double standard here.

      What double standard?

      Without endorsing her views on pornography you can at least realize it isn’t that she finds porn distasteful and, therefore, wants it banned. It’s (as you manage to point out) she finds it degrading towards women and believes it encourages negative attitudes towards women and wants it done away with.

      She may be wrong, but that’s a different issue.

  7. smrnda says

    I don’t feel I’m really knowledgeable enough to comment on whether or not polytheistic religions are more tolerant than monotheistic ones – it may seem so in the present and perhaps for the last say, 1000 years of history since monotheistic cultures/religions have been the most imperialistic during that time period.

    Part of what I think is going on is that societies and nations are becoming more and more secular and religions, which often (as in the states) felt they had a ‘silent majority’ are now realizing that their position of dominance is threatened, and so they’re doing all they can to use the rule of law to keep a privileged status. Perhaps the idea is that if a few apostates and blashphers get jailed or executed it might scare enough people to shut down critical debates.

  8. Raul says

    Taslima, there are many people who had relatives who escaped from officially atheistic countries.

    They have taught us well, and we will never submit to rule by their kind again.

  9. Gorbachev says

    Ms. Nasreen,

    If you think prostitution is sexual liberation, just imagine yourself as a prostitute, imagine your mouth, your vagina,your anus get penetrated by one stranger and then another and then another and then another and then another and then another. Everyday. You have no other option. Will you feel liberated?

    Of course this is terrible. But let me clarify this for you.

    Slavery is wrong.

    However, if a woman or man enters a profession out of choice, or because few better options exist, then show some respect for their free agency and their right to do as they please.

    If they genuinely have no options, well, I’ve had no options in the past, too. I once took a job in a bakery, getting up at 4:00 in the morning and working until 7:00 in the evening, working for a terrible boss, with little relief. I did it for six months. I might have preferred sex work, in fact. I was injured frequently and was always exhausted. I was not well-paid.

    Such is the nature of life.

    What you dislike is the lack of better options.
    A callgirl living in a nice apartment in New York or Boston and servicing clients she chooses for large sums of money is not a desperate, starving woman in Mumbai.

    And what would you do: Deny the starving woman in Mumbai her (unfortunate) vocation?

    I guess it’s better for her to starve to death, in your logic.

    Unless you can become president of the World and leap-frog all such women into jobs that pay at least as well as prostitution, and good luck creating those jobs, then there’s not much you can do.

    A large number of women will always take prostitution as a temporary or even longer-term income source.

    Decry the reality, but women in those positions can always, … what? Beg?

    Maybe they’ll get lucky and land a 16-hour job in a factory where they’re not allowed to go to the restroom and earn almost nothing, from which the factory owners subtract exorbitant fees.

    You may think you are fighting for female sexual liberation, but with sexual liberation and the complete freedom from shame and freedom to explore sexuality, comes the responsibility to use it and face the consequences of using it.

    I suspect you have a greater problem with how male and female sexuality interacts on a basic level.

    Just be glad we’re not dolphins. The males assault a female en masse, exhaust her and then forcibly mate with her, then abandon her completely.

    There are endless numbers of other mammals that have more unequal sexual relations. In fact, human females have a shocking level of agency – when permitted to have it.

    It’s odd that in many poor countries, including Thailand, the Philippines and elsewhere, when “rescued”, the women who work in these areas are bitterly angry a their “rescuers” – they have no idea what other job they’ll do that will pay them as well.

    Indeed, we could go the old Irish route: Force the women into jobs where they make clothing or do laundry, for a pittance, because this is morally superior to working for philandering husbands. Shame them as lazy or degenerate or addicted if they refuse this low-paid, forced labor.

    Whatever you’re fighting for, it’s most definitely not female power or female agency.

  10. Rad says

    Freedom of expression is not an absolute right for someone within a specific private organization. If they wish to exercise freedom of expression, they can leave the organization and exercise it as free individuals.

    Speech by an employee detrimental to a business will likely result in termination of employment. Here the matter is more complex because on the one hand the organization knows in its bones that this speech by an insider is antithetical to the principles (and principals) of the organization, but leaders (of the said organization as well as of India) have to play a balancing act for so-called progressives.

    With respect to the action of visa denial (due to violation of the conditions of a tourist visa, viz conducting business, and not due to expression), and subsequent extension by the central government – everyone should be clear that if this was by someone who had even remotely offended Muslims, the author would have been sent off summarily due to political calculations.

  11. salochana says

    our rules could not over rule the law of nature.for some t is a time pass but for some one it is a honorable relationship.psychologically and emotionally how much a person attached, depends upon priorities. there should be a sexual freedom to all.we need the relationships which have no need of seven rounds.or for best wishing it should be. i respect every religion.good and bad factors are every where.but main thing to think is why these religions are required for us.what is the aim of these all.for the sake of humanity the religions have their own importance.if there is some risk for humanity then there should change in every religion.if we r not human then how could we fulfill our responsibilities for a man or for a woman.we should not fight for religions .if we r religious then we should respect other;s views,after all man and a woman is a beautiful creation of God in which we all believe.i respect TASLIMA NASREEN because she writes what she faced and learn from its time we have to change our mind sets.THANKS

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *