Undeterred by the attack on her by radical Muslim fundamentalists in Hyderabad and a fatwa against her, exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen is busy penning the sequel of Lajja, 14 years after the book annoyed clerics in her country.
"Sharam, the sequel of Lajja (Shame), has the principal characters of the first novel who came over to India from Bangladesh in 1993 and is set in the backdrop here," Taslima told PTI.
Lajja, which drew attention to the torture of Hindu minorities in Bangladesh, raised the hackles of Muslim clerics and was banned by the Bangladesh government.
Terming her detractors as proponents of "irrational blind faith," Taslima, who has been living in exile for 12 years and whose Bangladeshi passport stands revoked, said "they are averse to a rationale logical mind."
Taslima was attacked by activists of Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen in Hyderabad on August nine at the release of the Telugu translation of her latest work Shodh.
She said though her forthright views about the condition of women in Muslim society had been widely publicised and invited the wrath of clerics, she had also come out strongly against fundamentalists in other religions on certain issues.
"I had criticised those who stopped the shooting of Deepa Mehta's film Water in Varanasi in 2001 in my writing in a leading Bengali daily," Nasreen recalled.
Speaking about the attack on her at Hyderabad, Taslima said "I had seen demonstrations against me in India. I have heard people issuing fatwas for beheading me and to blacken my face.
"But this was the first time here that I saw some people trying to harm me physically. I could read their murderous intention in their expressions. For some time when I hid in a room in the press club as they banged the door from outside. I saw death staring at me."
For some moments, she said, the Hyderabad experience reminded her of her days in hiding in Bangladesh in 1994 when fundamentalists bayed for her blood, after dubbing her writings blasphemous.
While expressing gratitude to the Andhra Pradesh government for ensuring her safety, she said the threats by MIM leaders would not deter her as a writer.
"I speak up against atrocities against women, who are minorities gender-wise, in any religion," she said.
Taslima said that she grew up in a Muslim household in Mymensingh in Bangladesh and was able to see the condition of Muslim women from close quarters.