On December 2, 1992 – A Mosque in
Well, you can guess what would have happened next. Riots broke out all over
What is surprising though is the fact that the reaction to this event was not just in
About the Book
Shame was a very controversial book written by Taslima Nasrin documenting the occurrences in
The book was published in 1993 in Bengali under the name “Lajja”. It was immediately banned in
Shame is divided into 13 chapters – one for each day following the demolition of Babri Masjid in
Well, the book surrounds the happenings in life of the Dutta family. The Duttas were Hindus living in
Anyways, the riots start and initially, the severity of the riots doesn’t really hit them. Slowly, they are pulled into it. They keep hearing about everything happening around them. People who they know are moving to
** Warning – Spoiler Ahead.
What is sad is the way the book ends. It is not intended to be a fairy tale and hence the ending is really sad. Sudhamay is finally driven to agree to leave the country. He does this for the sake of the happiness of his wife and son. Maya doesn’t come back though I kept hoping and praying that she would. I so desperately wanted it to end happily but I guess that’s not life. It is sad to see how a relatively happy family, is reduced to a bunch of scared, devastated individuals in a span of less than 2 weeks.
I have always wanted to read Shame and I am glad I finally got to read it. I am not too clear about the happening in
Until I read books like Riot (By Shashi Tharoor) and Shame, the Babri Masjid incident was only a vague memory for me. I was 10 years old when it happened and what stuck to me was just the fact that the mosque was torn down and the aftermath was horrible - riots all over the country. It was interesting to get the perspective of someone who witnessed the events; someone who was on the protected side in
First, the positives:
The book comes across as a very strong and powerful piece of writing. Through the depiction of the life of one Hindu family, Taslima manages to capture the essence of the happenings in
The book definitely makes you think. It is sad how people change in times like this. Taslima highlights so many incidences where Muslims change their attitudes and behaviors towards Hindus they have been friends with all their lives after incidents like this. I think that is so sad. How can we let some action taken by crazy fundamentalists in other parts of the country (or in a completely different country) influence the way we behave with friends we’ve known all our lives and who actually had nothing to do with the action! I felt sad when Maya and Suranjan reach out to their Muslim friends only to feel awkward in the process. I hated the way it affected young children. In one part, Suranjan’s friend Pulak talks about his little son. The boy used to play with his friends before the riots started. Suddenly they stopped playing with him because their fathers had asked them not to play with Hindu boys. I mean, can you imagine the little 5 year old?? He doesn’t even know what it means to be a Hindu or a Muslim!
The overall impact is very upsetting. Innocent people losing their lives, innocent girls getting gang raped and left to die. I can’t even begin to imagine the mental status of those who managed to survive after such an ordeal!
Now, coming to the negatives:
The book was a tedious read – not because of the language, but because of the details. Every few pages, Taslima gives us an update about the temples that have been demolished, the people who have been driven out of their homes/businesses, women/kids who were abducted/raped, etc. Frankly, after a point, the lists just got to me. I know that she was trying to highlight the damages done but I am thinking the same impact could have been achieved by just giving us summary numbers instead of individual cases – at least that is my personal opinion. And then of course, there’s the political part. Pages and pages citing the constitutions and the amendments that seemed to favor Muslims living in the country. If Taslima’s aim was to increase the awareness of people regarding the supposed ill-treatment of Hindus in
After reading all this, you must have decided for yourself by now if you want to read this book or not. But if I was given the choice, I would ask you to read it. Read it to get a realistic picture of things happening around the world.