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India is my country, my home, says Taslima
February 08, 2008 17:03 IST
With just eight days left for the expiry of her visa, a worried Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasreen [Images] hoped that India will not 'turn its back' on her and that it will grant extension on time to help her stay on.
Taslima (45) said she is also pinning her hopes on External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee's statement in Parliament about India's reputation for hospitality and that it welcomed guests as long as they respected the sentiments of people.
"I am always thinking about my stay. I am hopeful with eight days to go before the expiry of my visa, the government will extend it on time," the controversial writer told PTI on phone from her safe house in Delhi.
If she was thrown out, 'it will amount to murder of my most cherished ideals, perhaps a fate far worse than I could meet at the hands of any fundamentalists,' said Taslima, who was spirited out of Kolkata on November 22 last year following violence after a demand by a minority organisation that her visa be cancelled.
"If India turns its back on me I have nowhere to go, no means to survive. Even after all that has happened, I still believe, I still dream, that for a sincere, honest, secular writer, India is the safest refuge, the only refuge," said Taslima, who has been living in exile since 1994 after fundamentalists in Bangladesh issued a fatwa against her.
The author also said that she still believed that she should be able to spend the rest of her life in the country, which she loved.
The writer, who cannot meet her friends and well wishers and can only contact them through email or phone, said though she had to spend this New Year's day alone, it perhaps would not be the same next year.
Asked how she was spending her time, Taslima said that books and newspapers were her sole companions.
"At times I write for hours in the morning, while at times I sit by myself," she said.
To a question, she said the draft of the autobiographical Nei Kichu Nei (There is Nothing) could not be completed by her. The book was originally scheduled to be published at the Kolkata Book Fair, which was not held after a Calcutta High Court directive.
She warmly appreciated the support from UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador Madanjeet Singh and personalities like Mahasweta Devi and Muchkund Dubey.