A rumour spread in Bangladesh that in
my autobiography ‘KA’ I was guilty of character assassination, that I had
written obscene material about some of the country’s intellectuals. A few
journalists took the initiative to spread the rumor, resulting in angry protests
from some poets and writers. I was alleged to have lied by writing sensational
material in order to sell my books.
It is disappointing to learn that
anyone would be angry with me because of a rumour, that they would attack me
without having read or understood my book. As is well-known, I have been forced
to live with a fatwa issued by religious extremists, but it is disheartening to
find that any intellectual who claims to believe in the freedom of expression
would take a position about me similar to that of the religious extremists.
I was alleged to have written obscene
material. Obscenity, it was said, has no place in literature. Some who in the
past praised me for my honesty and the truths about which I wrote are now
attacking me for that very same honesty. What I wrote were descriptions of what
literally, physically, and emotionally happened to me. I wrote about those of my
friends who surrounded me at different times of my life’s story. In my book I
portrayed them as human beings, and a disinterested observer would question why
anyone would object. Were I to have damaged anybody’s character, I would have
been damaging my own, not theirs. My
memoir’s purpose was not to prove that I am good person, a saint, a goddess.
My purpose was to describe the beautiful, the not-so-beautiful, and the
in-between events that happen in one’s literary life.
In Bangladesh, it has always been
shameful for women to have relations with
My book KA, would be banned because, I
have been told, pressure on the Government by certain intellectuals. This
strikes me as illustrating fundamentalist logic, for what I wrote is analogous
to material found throughout the world’s literature. Is there any other
country in the world whose literature contains only sweetness and light and, if
there were such a mind-controlled place, why would its intellectuals be content?
The first and the second parts of my autobiography were banned in Bangladesh, my beloved country, because of pressure by Islamic fundamentalists. If the book’s third part does get banned because of any pressure by intellectuals there, this is cause for them to be indicted, not me. They should be the very ones who are working to open closed eyes, to come to my defense. As Voltaire said, “History is nothing more than a tableau of crimes and misfortunes.” In my books I aim to describe that tableau.