Absolutely putdownable: Lajja

Taslima Nasrin wrote Lajja in a span of 7 days following the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya on 6 June 1992 and the subsequent persecution of Hindus in Bangladesh. Maybe the book would have benefitted if she had spent some more time thinking about what she was writing.

The book reads like a laundry list of Hindu areas and temples that have been demolished in that country over the years — and the result is so boring that I couldn’t even bring myself to finish the book (a rarity).

It did seem to start with a promising idea — a Hindu family who refused to flee from their homeland despite the mass exodus that had been taking place around them over the years caught in the cross-fire of the 1992 riots. It could have made for an excellent novel, Taslima Nasrin could have portrayed a lot of the history she wanted to by building the story and fleshing out the protagonists.

Instead, the protagonists are not even 2-dimensional and there is no story or major plot to speak of.

At every stage, there is either a long bullet list of atrocities committed by Muslims against Hindus and a list of temples and villages burnt down, or protagonists speaking lists of areas that were affected by the riots.

And this was the book that was banned in Bangladesh, and that caused a fatwa to be issued against Nasrin? What a shame!

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