Critically acclaimed claimed the evening -Taslima Nasrin & Charles Dantzig in Conversation
December is an ideal month for events and gatherings at Oxford Book Store, Connaught Place, New Delhi. The closed confines offer a safe escape from the chill outside and the Cha bar caters to the need of hot beverages to go alongside. December 7th was a special evening when two brilliant literary minds chose to warm up over a Literary conversation. This time the authors were, the widely acclaimed French Writer Charles Dantzig and Taslima Nasrin, the most controversial feminist writer of recent times. This event was organised by French Embassy and its cultural outfit Institut Francois India.
Charles Dantzig was on a literary tour to India and chose to stay in Delhi for few days after attending the Mumbai Literature Festival. Taslima Nasrin's delayed arrival arose anticipation and the excitement too was palpable. The crowd was mix of journalists, writers, all enlightened bright minds. Eager to soak in the erudite analysis by the literary figures.
Charles started in French to the benefit of many audience well versed in French and made an interesting opening statement that "Writers who do not marry have many children" which had the audience applauding . The event was considered to be celebration of the books by the two writers.
Taslima Nasrin's latest book, Exile is a personal memoir in which she has used lot of dialogues. It speaks of the writer's life under house arrest, staying away from home.
Taslima said she had the courage to speak the wrong to be wrong for which she was censored, blacklisted and banished. But she has offered her life to be a secular feminist writer and speak for creation of an equal society.
The conversation ran smooth between the two writers and was being enjoyed well by the audience. Taslima spoke how she was surprised to see people in France hooked to mobile phones and not reading books. To which Dantzig answered that it's a global phenomenon and we are under the threat of ferocious use of internet. Then another interesting instance came where Taslima said how often writers are misquoted courtesy google search. There is a famous quote attached to Voltaire, " I don't agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it". In reality this was mentioned in 1906 biography of Evelyn Beatrice Hall and wasn't by Voltaire.
There were talks about Education, how its absence leads to ignorance and ignorance in turn creates brutality. The absence of education creates loneliness and such minds are so destructive. They indulge in all demeaning activities and threat to demolish power of Literature.
Being a crusader of homosexuals and gays in France, Charles spoke of how it pains him to see gay people being murdered. He enquired how are the laws in India. Both writers expressed concern about the changing face of world and constant threat which makes it a difficult place to live, in wake of all this probably North Pole is a safer place for human habitation.
Some very interesting questions came up from audience in the Q&A round. A lady demanded what's Charles impression about Indian literature? He spoke that he had little exposure to it and likes to be non judgemental about others writings.
It was a wonderful evening where intellect ruled, old notions were deconstructed, fascist clowns dangerous to society were mocked upon, resolve made more firm to fight against the comedy of misogyny. It was a delight to hear the writers speak how Literature becomes more empowering when it brings to focus what life wants to hide.