Is the Taslima Nasreen issue a red herring?

Farookh Abdullah made a passing comment on NDTV’s We The People on Sunday night. That comment went unnoticed because the program was on ‘Freedom vs. Faith’. I do not recollect his exact words, but I believe this is more or less what he said – How is Taslima Nasreen relevant to Nandigram?

Nandigram to Nasreen: the scene gets murkier talks about how the two issues collided. But no one seems to have thought on these lines – Is the Taslima Nasreen issue a ploy by some elements in the Left to divert the attention from Nandigram? If it is, it has been very successful because the whole of India is now talking about Nasreen rather than Nandigram. She has been in India (and Kolkata) for a long time now and opposition to her writing by a few Muslim organisations is well known. A protest against her while all eyes are on Nandigram simply makes no sense unless it was a diversionary tactic.

The violent protest has released the pressure on the West Bengal government as far as Nandigram goes. While it may be accused of doublespeak and might face the ire of intelligentsia for packing off Nasreen to Rajasthan (and God knows where else) under pressure from fundamentalists, it surely has benefited from reduced scrutiny on Nandigram. The gambit has paid off.

In a related development, Narendra Modi has offered her protection. I smiled when I read about it because I had thought about this scenario a few days back. Modi offering asylum to Nasreen would be the ultimate irony.

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  • radicalhypocrite  On November 28, 2007 at 1:15 am

    True, Modi offering asylum to Taslima is something very original and thoughtful on his part!:P

    Nice analysis. Your assumption on the CPIM connection to this issue can be true, even though facts are insufficient right now. The ‘riots’ in Kolkata, the stupid demonstrations, took place in city areas where the opposition parties are virtually non-existent, ‘red bastions’, as they’re called here.
    The violence was more of the spontaneous sort, escalated by the ‘public’s awareness’ that the police were not going to fire. Planned mob violence? I don’t think so. After Nandigram, the CPIM wouldn’t be so stupid as to risk the chance of repeating what it had done, and in Kolkata city. It’s their face-saving among the Muslim population that concerns the think-tanks the most right now. But who knows? You may be absolutely right. We are, after all, blinded by reality.

    And this melee did provide the media with a wonderful diversion from Nandigram. It is the change in media focus that is noticeable, but then, the media is always changing colour.

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