The Taslima Nasrin “article” that cost two lives

The front page of Saptahika Prabha, the weekly magazine section of the Kannada daily Kannada Prabha of the New Indian Express group, carrying the controversial piece on the burqa by Taslima Nasrin, which led to protests and riots in Karnataka chief minister B.S. Yediyurappa‘s hometown, Shimoga, killing two people on Monday.

The story titled Purdah hai purdah begins on page one of the section with the clarion call “Come, let’s discuss the burqa once again” and spills over to page 5, occupying nearly half the broadsheet page. The article states upfront that it has been translated from the original English by “Sindhu” but does not mention the source.

The controversial Bangladeshi author has since clarified that she did not write for the Kannada daily. Meaning: her 2007 essay had been used without permission either from her website or from Outlook magazine where the essay originally appeared, a common even if questionable practice in most language publications.

“The incident that occurred in Karnataka on Monday shocked me. I learned that it was provoked by an article written by me that appeared in a Karnataka newspaper. But I have never written any article for any Karnataka newspaper in my life,” Nasrin said.

“The appearance of the article is atrocious. In any of my writings I have never mentioned that Prophet Muhammad was against burkha. Therefore this is a distorted story.”

The chief minister said an FIR had been filed against the publisher of the newspaper after which the paper expressed regret (below) for publishing the article. Stunningly, the death of two persons in riots caused by the newspaper article found no mention on the front page of Tuesday’s Kannada Prabha; it was perfunctorily buried on page 6.

Initial TV reports said a critique of the Kannada Prabha article, published by Siasat, a Bangalore-based Urdu newspaper run by the Congressman Roshan Baig, had also contributed to the trouble 24 hours after its publication.

In 1986, Bangalore had been rocked by riots and killings after the City’s leading English newspaper Deccan Herald published a short story in its magazine section titled “Muhammad, the Idiot”. The story was about a half-witted boy, had nothing to do with the prophet, and in fact caused no trouble when first published in Kannada.

Newspaper facsimile: courtesy Kannada Prabha


  1. Vishala Manassu

    “In any of my writings I have never mentioned that Prophet Muhammad was against burkha”


    Muhammad was for burqa.

    This is further attested by line
    “Even the Hadis –a collection of the words of Prophet Mohammed, his opinion on various subjects and also about his work, written by those close to him– talks extensively of the purdah for women”

    from her site.

    as simple as that.

    I think Taslima doesn’t know Kannada. The translation by Sindhu is not at all doctored.

  2. […] Serif discusses about the controversial article on the burqa by Taslima Nasrin, the exiled Bangladeshi author. […]

  3. Is there an English version of the article?

  4. abutaiseer

    hurting any relegions is unacestable, i am a indian muslim i proud to be a indian but i am against who so ever using wrong way to achiev his goal, our indian culture teach and shows us to respect each other religion, not only culture our religion islam teaches us to repect all humans, publishiing in any news media to hurt any religeion is shamefull its either satanic taslima, saitanis rushdi, or mf hussains painting which is hurt our several hindu brothers, or attacking each others worshiping places(attcking cristian brothers these all doing by some of gundas groups to achive there goal but it will not sucess, our governement should take step to punish them on the spot when they find guilty who so ever instead of securing him/her it shpuld be direct punishment this message i am sending from riyadh saudi arabia
    i am missing my india mazheb nahin sikhata aapes men bair rakhna hindi hai hum waten hai hindustan hamara these collected group should read and learn this(jai hind)we pray for peace to our state and our country

  5. John Collins

    A newspaper article cannot “cost two lives”. Some people have been violent after reading a newspaper article, but it is their reaction that caused the deaths, not the article itself. It seems religious people are often offended by what others say about their religion. In Australia it is rare to see people reacting violently because we usually let people say what they think.

  6. […] did not write an article for the Karnataka newspaper (Kannada Prabha) which published her piece.  The paper picked up (for its own good reasons in a Hindu majority state) and translated  from English an […]

  7. Indian

    this article is translated to kannada is it true or not that another story, but check in which time it has came during BJP rule and that too hindu populated area its all preplaning of governments just get vote banks they are planing to create violance between communities defiently politicals and religion extremists are distrubing karnataka peace and harmony. all communities of karnataka must come on one platform just to keep peace and harmony and need to defeat british way of rulling that divide and rule Take care all

  8. indian

    Shame on Kannada prabha & Sindhu shame on you people, for using strategic step for ur sinking paper sale………. by targetting a perticular community.

  9. Taslima Nasreen never wrote anything like ‘even muhammad was against burqa’. The translator added this sentence carefully because he or she had some political things to do with it. Taslima Nasreen has no need to praise Muhammad, because she is an atheist and an ‘enemy of all religion’, in her own words. The culprits must be punished and it should be taken care of that Taslima Nasrin faces no harm for this bloody politics with her name.

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