“I can’t say where I am. But I have left my heart behind in Kolkata,” an emotional Taslima Nasreen whispered on the telephone on Friday from the place she is hiding in.
Taslima was compelled to leave Kolkata after being informed that Muslim fundamentalists would escalate the campaign against her after the Friday namaaz and that she could be attacked.
“I was reluctant to leave the city. I was distressed. I believe that it is the most cultured and democratic city. I am going through a harrowing experience and this nightmare must end,” said Taslima.
Though Taslima sounded dejected for being in hiding, she refused to be cowed down by the Muslim fundamentalists.
Unsure of her fate and her destination, Taslima believes that humanism, feminism and rationalism are the maxims she will never give up.
“How can I change after carrying out a war against the narrow views for so long in my life? Things are specially difficult, as this war for truth is being carried out by a woman,” she said.
Taslima says she wants to describe her present state as that of a woman on the run, hunted by those who believe in obscurantism and religious fundamentalism.
Taslima, nevertheless, agrees that the latest conflagration that made her leave Kolkata has left her depressed and upset. “It is scary that living in a democratic country, I am unable to disclose my whereabouts to my friends,” the writer said.
This is the first time that Taslima had to leave the city she adopted after being granted a residential permit renewable every six months.
“Kolkata is so similar to Dhaka. We speak the same language, we eat the same food, celebrate the same occasions and also dress similarly. It was very painful to leave the place under these circumstances,” said Taslima.
No wonder, in the last 24 hours, Taslima has made several requests to the authorities to make arrangements so that she can return to Kolkata as soon as possible. And, sources said, she has been advised to delay her return by a few days.
“I am regularly enquiring from my friends about the situation in Kolkata. I want to return to the city,” she sighed.