Jaipur in mind, Taslima Nasrin kept out of Kolkata Book Fair

Ironically, Bangladesh is fair's theme.

Even though the theme of the 37th Kolkata Book Fair is Bangladesh and a host of writers are coming from the country to attend the fair and take part in the Kolkata Literary Meet — a part of the fair since last year — organisers have chosen not to invite controversial Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin.

Organisers confirmed they were not inviting the writer to stay clear of controversy and to avoid threats of disruption like the ones received over the Jaipur Literature festival which begins on January 24.

Taslima Nasrin confirmed that she had not been invited through e-mail. "Aami Kono amontron paini'' (I have not received any invitation),'' she wrote to The Indian Express.

The fair begins on January 26 and the literary meet will be organised for five days, from January 30 to February 3.

Bangladesh's Nobel laureate Mohammad Younus as well as writers and eminent personalities like Amitabh Ghosh, Corban Addison, Amish Tripathy, Kathryn Gray, Pico Iyer and Shashi Tharoor are among those expected to participate in the meet. Last year, the first time the literary meet was organised, authors like Vikram Seth, Mohammad Hanif and Sunil Gangopadhyay attended it.

"We just do not want any controversy and that is why we did not invite Taslima Nasrin. There are so many writers from Bangladesh who are coming and we are happy about that. Why do you bother with one name?'' Malavika Chatterjee of the Booksellers and Publishers Guild, organisers of the fair, told The Indian Express.

Last year the Book Fair organisers had to cancel the release of Taslima's book Nirbasan (Exile), the seventh in the autobiographical series of the controversial author as fundamentalists led by Idris Ali, a Trinamool Congress leader, staged a protest against her. The book was later released privately, inside the fair premises though, by some writers and rights activists.

Nirbasan dwels on the period of her life when she was forced out of Kolkata on November 22, 2007, following violent protests by fundamentalists. Last year at the Jaipur Literature festival too a video conference with author Salman Rushdie had to be cancelled following protests by fundamentalists.

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