Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shame! A Jaipur rerun in Kolkata Book Fair!

The ongoing Kolkata Book Fair witnessed Taslima Nasreen getting the same treatment from the State as Salman Rushdie in Jaipur Lit Fest. The organisers of the book fair - claimed to be the largest in Asia - promptly cancelled the scheduled launch of Taslima's autobiography 'Nirbasan"(Exiled) as some fundamentalist groups protested against its release. According to the local media, there was a verbal directive to the organisers from Kolkata police.

But Kolkata being Kolkata, the lovers of literature assembled in large numbers before the office of the organisers, and brought out a procession, with Taslima's book in their hands, shouting protest against their decision. And before the police could take any effective action, the publisher of the book, People's Book Society, had the book launched by Nabarun Bhattacharya, the eminent writer. Sujata Bhadra, well-known human rights activist and other intellectuals were present on the occasion.

Personally I see it as the triumph of literature and free expression over vote-bank politics, but I'm really concerned that the bigots are increasingly invading our cultural space with support from the State.

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