Demand the Release of Taslima Nasreen’s TV Shows On Women’s Rights in India
Why would a television series on the various issues that oppress women in India, including dowry, be considered insulting to religious sentiments and be banned?
Feminist author Taslima Nasreen’s scripted television series (in Bengali) titled ‘Dusahobas’ meaning ” Unbearable Cohabitation,” although ready for telecast has been “indefinitely postponed” for airing, because of pressure from Islamic clerics in the state of West Bengal.
Abdul Aziz of the religious group Milli Ittehad Parishad said their group had written to the producers of the show and told them to withdraw Taslima’s name and reference from the serial, even though Taslima has scripted the show! Aziz said, “We have been told that there are some scenes in the serial that might hurt our sentiments,” even though he does not specify as to what exactly in the show is hurtful to Muslim sentiments in India.
In fact this show is not about Islam but about issues that are effecting women of all religious and cultural communities in India, issues like dowry, dowry violence, sexual violence, and prevention of education. Issues that Indian society needs to contend with through mass media like television. According to Taslima Nasreen, the story line is based on three sisters – one with dark complexion who because of cultural prejudice against darker skinned women in India is not being able to find a groom. Her father cannot afford to pay dowry. The other sister is a victim of sexual assault and the third is a student. “The story revolves around these three sisters. So the Muslim fundamentalists have nothing to fear about. It has nothing against fundamentalism,” Taslima said.
West Bengal which was one of the safest states for women in India, today under the leadership of a woman, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, has the highest rate of crimes against women in India. This has largely been because of Ms. Banerjee’s encouragement of a misogynistic cultural, and patriarchal trend that keeps her politically popular at the cost of women’s rights! This is shameful for the West Bengal and for India. We must demand more of our women leaders.