Book Review: Lajja by Taslima Nasreen

Book : Lajja (Shame)

Genrue: Fiction

Pages: 300 

Rating: 3.8/5


Why being Hindu is crime in Bangladesh. Do Hindus born for suffering just because they worship idols which is a harmless practice. – Surjon Datta (a Character of Lajja)

Hindus of Bangladesh is living under a condition which can be comprised with “Communal Terror” by Majority of State. Bangladesh as nation with notion of secularism, integrity, constitutional safety and equality seems to be diluted their minorities under extremism which is supported by State itself. Tasleema Nasreen, a feminist and atheist with humanistic values has paid the price in life which no one can pay. Tasleema Nasreen has been attacked, thrown out from her country for critiquing the extremism which lies into Islamist state of Bangladesh. Unfortunately, she had been attacked in India (So called Secular nation) by Secular Parties like AIMIM and TMC which seems to appeasing the Muslim vote bank and might be running agenda of extremism under grab of secular parties.  Tasleema Nasreen has faced death threat. Religious fatwas for her bold critique against religious fanatics. She is a brave woman with humanity under her heart. She is exposed the religious fanatic which is crippling so-called Islamic Republic of Pakistan and Bangladesh.


Tasleema nasreen: Writter of Lajja, an Humanist, athiest, Feminst and above of All a soul who has guts to call a spade as spade.


Lajja which English translation is “Shame” is fiction novel about a Hindu family condition in Bangladesh after demolition of Babari Masjid in India. Calling it completely fiction would be mocking of the facts which are instated into that book and suffering of Hindus in Bangladesh. I would like to call it a book with eye-opening facts about Bangladeshi extremism or plight of Hindus through a fiction character like Sidhamoy and Surjon Dutta.

The Story Start with a young men name Surjon Das Dutta who lived in City of Dhaka (Capital of Bangladesh). His family already migrated to Dhaka due to atrocities they face in their native town. Just after Babari demolition in 1993 in India, nos of riots been happened in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. According to Data, 6000 Hindus have been killed in Pakistan, 4000 Hindus-Muslim in Killed India and 3000 Hindus only killed in Bangladesh. Now the difference between riots in India and Islamic republic of Pakistan & Bangladesh was that, In India Hindus killed Muslim and Muslim killed Hindus in retaliation. While in Islamic republic of both nations, Only Hindus is Killed, Rape and Temple demolished. Basically, they were ethnically cleansed by Extremist. This book has great details of temple demolition, loot of Hindu shopkeepers, burning of houses, rape of Hindu women, abduction, killing and thrashing of Hindus only. After this Surjon chose to visit city of Dhaka for a review of situation where he feel that even after showing superficial sympathy, the whole nation blames Hindus of Bangladesh for demolishing Babari. Surjon in this story has clear stance against communalism, religion as whole. He was member of Communist part of Bangladesh and has solid foothold against religious extremism. But what he saw that the idea of communist party vanished away when riots broke up. He seen his friends (Mostly Muslims) blaming Babari Mosque and worried about Indian Muslims more than killing of Bangladeshi Hindus. He saw the change on party hardline is being diluted when riots broke out; they all become communal all of sudden. Than his alone sister had been abducted by seven and eight young Muslims for rape or might be for sex slaves in their harems. This broke him a lot, he turned his gaze and feel that How Hindus being fooled in name of secularism in India and Bangladesh. How secularism is used as tool (superficially) by state govt of Indian and Bangladesh to suppress the voice against Hindus. He felt that it may be morally wrong to be communal but if had been communal might be he would able to save his sister or at least retaliate that insult has been imposed upon him.

Surjon asked basic question that, why Hindus had been tortured from thousands of years, Just because they practice idol worship. Just because their way of worship is different from other religion. He asked basic question, why not Hindus of India eradicate Muslims of India if they blamed as communal. Is having nonviolence and theory of Vasudeva kuttambkam is crush upon India and Hindu it which has to be pay back by suicide of Hindus. Surjon asked the question that Why not Abrahamic religion accept that religious doctrine hate against idol worship and Idol worshiper has not been challenged by Secular and modern Muslims. He asked why not the claim of infidel going hell because they belong to another religion is being challenged by Hindus, Secular, atheist, Modernist at public. Why there is shallow attempt to justify the doctrine which preaches hate and blame thrown on people who follow the doctrine. He also wondered that why even country like India who claimed to be Secular democracy has special rights for religions, special laws for religion. How Secularism and Special privilege to certain religion is co-exist anyhow.

He sight that “Hindus” are basically responsible for their condition because they chose to be superficially united against atrocities about them, they plunged into the inferiority complex and guilt created for them by British and Mughals. They simply see them oppressor in India while being systematically eradicate from Islamic nations. He also wonders that Why not united nation, Indian intellectuals took a hard action of Bangladesh for their torture on Hindus, except rarely visible comments and newspaper articles. Why they feel shame to calling it terrorism preaches by religion.


This question boggled his mind and he thought that may be because of such silent approach of India, World and Islamic republic turning Hindus communal. He concludes that there is no balance between intellectual position and actions, no balance between world secular organization and so-called united nation speech and action. He thought that might be being communal is good idea because in short pattern at least it will save the community and united them against atrocities done by other fundamentalist.

Good Thing

This book is provide you a deep and detailed data how Bangladesh turned from liberal state to extremist state and how Hindus of Bangladesh been tortured, looted, eradicate slowly from state that. A known fact is that Hindus in 1952 was 28% of Bangladesh population but now they are only 12% or may be more less as off now. Question is where Hindus are disappearing? Pakistan once has 22% Hindus which is now reduced to 1.5% of total population. This is very serious question that what happened to Hindus in these nation? Why not United Nation and so-called secular group gang up against this reducing figure? Why there is so silence when it’s come to atrocities on Hindus. Let it be Kashmiri Pundit, Bengalis Hindus, Pakistani and Bangladeshi Hindus, Fiji Hindus and Indian Hindus in Muslim ghetto? Why not anyone in this world stopping this cradle of Extremism which is digesting nation after nation slowly in name of Human rights, Secularism, Liberalism, minority appeasement. This is the time we should ask our self that: Is “Secularism” and “Blind liberalism” becoming tools of digestion of Secular nation. This book asks very valid question which might be shake Modern construct of pseudo liberals and evil plans of extremist.

May be that is why this book is banned in Bangladesh and many state of India like West Bengal.



Certainly these critics are about writing pattern of writer. Book is good but the extensive or sometime shot details of riots, destruction of temple might be made a Western reader (who don’t understand Bengali words and not interested in Bangladeshi destruction) bore. These books also tried to give a positive look to communist party of Bangladesh which I think failed utterly in India and Bangladesh. Ironically same party Communist party of India (CPI) is responsible for killing many RSS workers in state of Kerala for ideological difference.

This book exposes the extremism in Bangladesh and also biased face of secular and liberal world.