Published in The Asian Age on Aug. 07 :: By Mona Parthsarathi ::
Hopeful of getting a resident permit in India, controversial Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasreen has said that even if Bangladesh allows her to enter, she wants to spend the rest of her life in her second home India.
“I want to live in India, where else can I go. I am a citizen of Europe and a permanent resident of USA but I chose India to live because of cultural connection. Even if Bangladesh allows me to enter now, I will still choose to live in India for the rest of my life,” Taslima said in an interview.
“In the last 20 years, I have made more friends here in India rather than in Bangladesh. If you live with this kind of ideology, relatives are not important. Important is how many people have belief in what you say, they become family.
“Bangladeshi publishers and intelligentsia also didn’t try to keep contact with me so the relationship between my country and me was broken,” she said.
Taslima had applied for a resident permit and the home ministry granted her the same type of visa but only for two months beginning August 1. She met home minister Rajnath Singh and is hopeful of getting a long-term resident permit now.
The 51-year-old writer said, “I am not sure but the home minister has promised that he will make my resident permit long term. If he doesn’t change his mind, I am hopeful that I will get a long-term visa.”
Taslima said it will be sometime in September or October when she may get the long-term permit but at present she already has a two-month visa. They said that they need atleast one month’s time, she added. Living in exile for 20 years now, she also claimed that then Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi had supported her on a couple of occasions when she was forced to exit West Bengal in 2007.
“Not only in 2007, during the election time also in one of his interviews he spoke against the injustice done by the West Bengal government to me. Because of some Muslim fanatics demonstrated, I was thrown out of the state in 2007. A lot of people who believed in human rights and freedom of speech, including Modiji, have spoke against the act,” she said.
Fed up with the hostile attitude of various governments, Taslima said that she wants to live a peaceful life in India although she wants to remain a European citizen.
“I was thrown out of Bangladesh 20 years back. The West Bengal government threw me out for nothing. Then I was under house arrest here because some goons, some religious fundamentalists attacked me in Hyderabad and Kolkata. They committed the crime but I got the punishment. “After the house arrest I was thrown out of India and was not allowed to live here from 2008 to 2010. So much injustice has happened in my life in last 25 years, but now I want to live peacefully in India,” said the author.
She said if she gets resident permit here, she would be fine. “For Indian citizenship I have to give up European citizenship. I don’t want to live in Europe but if some problem occurs in India, then I can at least go to those countries,” she said when asked if she wants to get Indian citizenship.
Some intellectuals had demanded political asylum for Taslima who, however, said that it is not possible now.
“Political asylum is not possible now. It could have happened in 1994 when I was politically thrown out of Bangladesh. I came here from Sweden and a Swedish citizen doesn’t need political asylum in India,” she said.
Currently busy writing about human rights violations in Gaza, Taslima is also penning her new book which is slated to be released in January.
“I am writing blogs on problems in Gaza and I am supporting people of Gaza. I am writing a new book in Bangla on ‘women in secularism’ and it will come out in January. I want to thank all the people in India for their support and solidarity when the news of government curtailing my resident permit broke,” she said.