Pressure is taking a toll on Taslima Nasreen and the writer has decided to put her next novel on hold.
Taslima told her publisher to cancel the publication of the sixth part of her autobiography Nei Kichu Nei (There is Nothing) that was to be released during the Kolkata Book Fair in January. Taslima said she would not be able to meet the deadline.
The development comes a day after the Centre restricted her movements in India and refused entry to Kolkata. Taslima told her publisher that for the last one month she has not been able to concentrate and put pen to paper.
“I would not say that I am under house-arrest. But it is a terrible, lonely existence. And how
do you expect an author to write under these circumstances?” Taslima Nasreen told the Hindustan Times over the telephone on Friday.
Her publisher Prashanta Roy of People’s Book Society clarified that it would be unfair to put pressure on the author just for business’s sake and therefore the release of the new book has to wait.
“Taslima promised the manuscripts by January first week, but when she expressed her inability, we decided to respect it. Times are really bad for her,” said Roy and his partner Shibani Mukhopadhyay.
Incidentally, ever since Taslima told her publishers on November 30 to delete the objectionable portions of her novel Dwikhondito, the publishers said the sale has picked and has already sold 5,000 copies in less than a month.
Following the Centre’s directive, Taslima’s publishers and the Publishers and Book Sellers Guild have become jittery and are not sure whether her novels can be displayed at the Kolkata Book Fair.
“Since 2000, I have been a regular to the Kolkata Book Fair. The fourth part of my autobiographical series Shei Shob Andhokar (Those Dark Days) was released in the 2004 fair. Now I cannot even think of going to the fair,” rued Taslima.
Secretary of the book fair Tridib Chatterjee said that no formal instructions were issued by the state government on whether Taslima’s books should be displayed at the stalls during the fair or not.
“If there is a ban, we will act accordingly,” Chatterjee said.
On Saturday, Swajan, a group formed by eminent personalities like Bibhas Chakrabarty, Saoli Mitra and Kaushik Sen, will take out a rally from the Academy of Fine Arts to demand Taslima’s return to the city.