Taslima Nasreen from Tehelka

This interview with Harinder Baweja was done before the extension of her visa (due to expire tomorrow) by the Indian government. She is confined to a safe house and she does not how long the extension is for. She was awarded the Prix Simone de Beauvoir by the French government for her writing but was not allowed to receive the award from French President Nicolas Sarkozy when he visited India last month. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

Do you think you have become a political pawn?

I think so. And I am not a political person. I am a writer. I don’t do politics. I just love to live in Kolkata because my language is Bengali. And I love Bengal. I am writer who writes in Bengali not in English. I want to be with my readers, with my Bengali friends. And my relatives from Bangladesh can come to see me in Kolkata. So I feel at home in Kolkata. I don’t want to do any politics. I don’t want to be used for political purposes. I begged many times not to use me for any political purposes. I am a simple human being. I write for humanity and human rights. I want to live on my own and also write whatever I believe in. So I am not harmful for society, I want to do good for it. I want to write about women’s rights and freedom so that they can get self-esteem, strength. There are so many women who love my writing. So it’s important for them and me. Also I can find meaning in my life if I could live here peacefully. I was living here peacefully until I was used for political purpose.