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Wednesday, September 16, 1998 Published at 20:22 GMT 21:22 UK


World: South Asia

Exiled writer returns to Bangladesh

Taslima Nasreen: Women are taught to be men's slaves

Bangladeshi government officials say the controversial writer and womens' rights activist, Taslima Nasreen, has returned to Dhaka after four years in exile.

The officials said she was believed to be staying with her family, but relatives of the writer declined to comment on her whereabouts.

Nasreen left Bangladesh in 1994 for Sweden and, later, New York after thousands demonstrated in the Bangladeshi capital demanding that she be punished for blasphemy.

They were enraged by her book "Shame", which is now banned in Bangladesh.

She was also quoted in an Indian newspaper as saying that the Koran should be revised to take into account women's rights, though she denies saying this.

The Bangladeshi government responded by charging her with "deliberately and maliciously outraging religious feeling."

'Nobody wants a female child'

In a BBC interview from exile in 1995 she said that women in Bangladesh were taught to be slaves.


Taslima Nasreen in 1995: I want to inform women slavery is not their destiny
"If you go into a labour room, in any hospital, you can hear the cry of women giving birth to a female child. They cry because their husband will divorce them."

"Nobody wants a female child, and girls are not allowed to go to school to study. And if any women becomes educated, it is not for herself."

"It is for getting a good match because well-established men want to marry educated women."

Taslima Nasreen's sympathisers in the West were quick to compare her position with that of the British novelist, Salman Rushdie.

Her outspoken feminism, chain smoking and sexually explicit writing left some in the country with the impression that she was going out of her way to offend entrenched conservative values.





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