Taslima's Journey

1962 – Taslima was born to a Muslim family but was brought up in a secular environment.

Student life

1976 – Secondary School Certificate 1st division
1978 – Higher Secondary certificate 1st division
1984- Medical Degree ( M.B.B.S)
1985- Entered In-service training

Life as a Doctor

1986-1989- Taslima worked in the villages as a medical officer.
1990-1993- She worked in gynecology and anesthesiology departments in medical college and hospitals.
1993- She was forced to quit her job, as the Government confiscated her passport and asked her to stop writings.

A Writer’s life

1975- She begins publishing her poems in literary magazines.
1978- Started editing and publishing poetry magazine.
1986- Her first poetry book was published.
1989- Taslima’s second poetry book was published. She started writing columns on women’s rights in the newspapers and magazines and became a very popular columnist.
1990- Saw the publication of her third poetry book. Islamic fundamentalists started campaign against her and broke the newspaper offices and filed cases against her because she criticized Islamic oppression on women.
1991- This year saw her book ‘Selected Columns’ getting published and her becoming a best selling author. Islamic fundamentalists continued their vicious demonstrations and processions against her all over the country.
1992- Taslima’s second book of essays was published. Her books of poetry and novels also were published. ”Taslima smash committee” was formed. They burnt Taslima’s book in the national book fair. And Taslima was not allowed to visit the book fair. She received the prestigious literary award ”Ananda” for her book ”selected columns” from India. And also became a best-selling author in West Bengal, a state of India.
1993- Her documentary novel ‘Lajja’, which is a protest against the torture on the minority community of Bangladesh was published. Lajja was banned by the Government of Bangladesh. The third book of essays on women’s freedom was published. Taslima was physically attacked by the fundamentalists in the national book fair. They broke the bookstall where she was giving autographs to her readers. She was asked by the book fair committee not to visit the fair anymore. Islamic fundamentalists issued fatwa against her and set a price on her head.
1994- Her books started getting published in many Indian and European languages. Muslim fundamentalists demanded her execution by hanging. Countrywide protest started against Taslima’s views. Death penalty against blasphemy was demanded. The Government of Bangladesh filed a case against her on the charges of hurting religious feelings of the people and a non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against her. She went into hiding with the help of a few secular people in Bangladesh. 300,000 fundamentalists held a public meeting and demanded her death. General Strikes were called all over the country to demand Taslima’s execution. The country was paralyzed by the strikes. Two more fatwas were issued against her by the religious fundamentalists. Writers and intellectuals outside Bangladesh supported Taslima and demanded her safety and security. After staying in hiding for two months, she was granted bail from the high court and was forced to leave her country. She received the Kurt Tucholsky prize from the Swedish PEN.
Sakharov prize for freedom of thoughts was given to her by the European Parliament. She received the Human Rights award From the French Government. She was awarded with Edit de Nantes prize in France. Bangladeshi publishers and newspapers-editors stopped publishing her books and columns.
1995- Honorary Doctorate degree was given from Gent University, Belgium.
1996- A poetry book that expressed her longing for her homeland was published.
1997- Started writing her autobiography
1999- First part of her autobiography was banned by the Bangladesh Government.
2000- She received Ananda literary award from West Bengal, India.
2002- Seocnd part of her autobiography was banned by the Bangladesh Government. A Bangladesh court sentenced her to one year in prison on a charge of writing derogatory comments about Islam in several of her books.
2003- Third part of her autobiography was banned by Bangladesh court. She got fellowship from Harvard University, USA. Nearly 4 million dollar defamation lawsuits were filed against Taslima for writing Dwikhandito both in Bangladesh and in India by two male writers. West Bengal Government banned ‘Dwikhandito’, the third part of her autobiography on the charges of hurting religious feelings of the people.
2004- Fourth part of her autobiography was banned by Bangladesh Government. A prize for the promotion of tolerance and non-violence was given from UNESCO. 2005- Received Honorary Doctorate from American University of Paris, France. Grand prix International Codorcet-Aron
2005 was given from the French-Parliament in Belgium. Kolkata High Court lifted the ban on her book.
2007-2008- Blacklisted in Bangladesh, she is now blacklisted in the West Bengal, a state of India. Newspaper-editors refused to publish her articles and the publishers were afraid to print her books. She was given ‘Simone de Beauvoir prize’ in France. ‘Citizen of Honor’ was given by the city of Paris, France. Prins Global fellowship was given by the literature department of New York University, USA.
2009 Malayalam edition of her new book ”Shame again” was published in Kerala. And Hindi version of her books ”Bondini” and ”Narir kono Desh nei” were published in New Delhi, India. ”Bondini” and ”Narir kono desh nei” were published in Bangladesh by her family members. Taslima received Woodrow Wilson fellowship in the USA. Taslima received ‘Feminist Press Award’ for her writing on feminism in the USA.
2010 Taslima’s 6th part of autobiography ( nei, kichu nei) is published both in India and Bangladesh. A group of courageous Bengali intellectuals started publishing Taslima’s column in their Magazine called ”Robbar”, but after one article was published, she was banned. Jansatta, a Hindi newspaper, after publishing 4 columns of Taslima, banned her. A newspaper in karnataka, India published Taslima’s column without taking her permission. It was about Taslima’s advice to women not to wear burqa, the symbol of oppression. 15,000 Muslim fanatics started violent protest against the publication and burnt the newspaper offices. Two people were killed. Curfew was imposed in the cities.
2012 Taslima’s new book the 7th part of autobiography ‘Nirbasan’ was not allowed to be launched at Kolkata Book Fair. Police and Book Fair committee banned book launch. Aagami Prakashan is publishing Taslima’s books legally in Bangladesh.

Life in exile 1994

Taslima lived in Sweden and started getting invitations from all over the world to give lectures on Human Rights, Women’s Rights, Secularism and Freedom of expression. She became a symbol of free speech.

1995-1996- Lived to Germany. She did not want to give up her Bangladesh passport.
1997- Moved to Sweden. As a political refugee she received the United Nation’s travel document.
1998- Started living in the USA. She wanted to go back to Bangladesh to be with her ailing mother but the Government denied her entry into the country. Taslima came out of her political asylum, cancelled her refugee status by returning the UN travel document that is given to the political refugees. Then, she got her Bangladesh passport back from the Swedish authorities. And despite getting no permission from the Bangladesh Government, with that passport she entered into her country A case was filed against her on the charges of hurting religious feelings. A non-bailable arrest warrant was issued against her. She was forced to leave her country once again. She became the number one target of Huji, the Islamic terrorist group. After staying for three months in her country, she was forced to leave once again.
1999-2000- Lived in France After 6 years of waiting, she was granted visa for India and she immediately visited Kolkata where she could felt at home. Taslima was invited to go to Mumbai to inaugurate her book in Mumbai, India. But the Islamic fundamentalists started campaign against her and declared that they would burn her alive if she arrives in Mumbai.
2001-2002- Lived in Sweden and visited India with tourist visa. Bangladesh Government had been refusing to renew her passport for years so she was forced to carry an European passport. She begged the Government to allow her to enter Bangladesh so that she could be with her dying father at least for a few days. But she was denied to enter her own country. Her father died.
2003-2004- The fundamentalists issued fatwa against her in India. She got residence permit to live in India. She moved to Kolkata and started living there, For the first time in her exile life, she settled somewhere.
2005- One more fatwa was issued against her in UP, India. A price of Rupees 500,000 was set for her head.
2006–Taslima was invited in Midnapore in West Bengal to attend a cultural program, the Muslim fundamentalists protested against her visit, so that the authority cancelled the program. Taslima was invited to inaugurate a book fair in Siliguri in West Bengal, she was prevented to go there after the fanatics protested against her.
2007- She was attacked by the Muslim fundamentalists in Hyderabad, India. The fundamentalists issued fatwa against her and set a price ( unlimited reward) on her head in a public meeting in Kolkata. She was invited by the Allahabad University as a speaker, but because she was attacked in Hyderabad, the University cancelled Taslima’s lecture. She was forced to live under virtual house arrest in Kolkata and was constantly asked by the WB Government to leave the state. Violent protest was held by the Muslim fundamentalists demanding her deportation from India. She was thrown out of Kolkata by West Bengal Government. She was sent to city of Jaipur in Rajasthan, but was not allowed to stay there. She was bundled out of Jaipur. She was kept in an undisclosed location in Delhi where she was forced to live under house arrest.
2008- The Government asked Taslima to leave India. After staying for seven-and-ahalf months under house arrest she was forced to leave India in March. Taslima applied for the renewal of her Bangladesh passport again. And again it was denied to her. She even requested Bangladesh Government to issue a ”no visa required’ stamp or at least a tourist visa for Bangladesh on her European passport. But this was also not granted. She returned to India in August. She had to stay in Delhi and was not allowed to go to Kolkata, not even for two days to pack her bags and leave. She was forced to quit her establishment in Kolkata. She was given the extension of her residence permit with the condition that she must leave India within a few days after her permit was renewed. She was forced to leave India once again.
2009 Taslima came to India in Februay before her residence permit expired. But the world’s largest democracy laid down that Taslima could get an extension of her residence permit for India only if she gives an undertaking that:
1. She would leave India (and she must show her flight ticket to prove she is leaving) before 17th of February ( the day her residence permit would expire),
2. She must not go to Kolkata,
3. She must not interact with media and 4.She must not enter India before 31st May (by this time the general election in India would be over). Taslima had no other alternative but to leave India silently. Mayor of Paris invited Taslima to stay in a artist’s residence in Paris for 6 months. She tried to go back to Bangladesh, but failed. The government of Bangladesh continued to deny her right to return. She returned to India in August to find out whether she could live in Delhi, if not Kolkata. But the Government of India refused to give her permission to live anywhere in India. The Government extended her residential permit with the precondition that she must not reside in India and she would have to leave immediately after the permit was renewed. Taslima was forced to leave India again. Dipu Moni, the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, has been frequently telling the media that the Bangladesh Government has no problem in allowing Taslima to enter her country. Dipu Moni said, Taslima can return to Bangladesh whenever she wants. But in reality, Taslima is not being allowed to enter her country. After Dipu Moni’s public statement, Taslima applied to renew her Bangladesh passport so that she could enter Bangladesh, but the Bangladesh Government did not respond. She also tried to get a Bangladesh visa on her European passport. Even that has been denied to her.
2010 Taslima returned to India in February. Her residence permit for India was extended for 6 months. But she was told by the government that her residence permit would not be further extended. Taslima was again shocked. In 2007, making a statement in the Indian parliament, the foreign minister said ”throughout history, India has never refused shelter to those who have come and sought our protection. This civilizational heritage, which is now government policy, will continue, and India will provide shelter to Ms. Nasreen”. In 2008, the PM of India wrote “India’s glorious tradition of welcoming people irrespective of caste, community and religion will continue, whatever be the odds. The atmosphere of hate being perpetuated by a small segment within the country will not prevent us from persisting with this tradition. We recognize Taslima Nasreen’s right to remain in a country of her choice, viz, India in this case. She should also have the option to choose which ever city or state she chooses.”

Taslima’s residence permit for India has been extended in August 17.