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'Husain Has Not Gone To Qatar'

From CNN-IBN's Devil Advocate, Karan Thapar inteviews Javed Akhtar: 

Karan Thapar: Today, Husain says he has complete freedom in Qatar. As you see things, is Qatar a better guardian of freedom of expression than India?

Javed Akhtar: You see, Husain has not gone to Qatar. I don't remember the title of the story (but) Camus, in one of his short stories, has written that the master tells the servant, "I am going away from here now" and the servant says, "Where are you going master?" and he says, "Can't you understand? I am going away from here. That's where I am going." Husain has not gone to Qatar. Husain has gone away from India....

Karan Thapar: I want to come back and talk to you about the other lady who raises the same fundamental question: Taslima Nasreen. Javed Akhtar, let's come to Taslima Nasreen and the article that created so much controversy, which was originally written for outlook magazine in 2007. Taslima Nasreen writes that the Burqa, Hijab, the Chaadar and headscarf are instruments of disrespect. She adds, these are symbols of women's oppression. Even if you do not agree with her, it is really such an offensive thing to say?

Javed Akhtar: You know, please allow me to digress a little. Till now we are talking about the Hindu fanatics and the Hindu fundamentalists. Now, we are talking about the Muslim fundamentalists. And their resemblance and similarities is uncanny. It reminds me, you know, some four hundred and fifty years back when Tulsidas wrote Ram Charit Manas in Awadhi, he was disowned by the Brahmin community and he had become an outcast. They were upset with him that how can he write a story like Ramayana in a language like Awadhi?

Such an ordinary, common man's language. It is an insult to Ramayana and some two hundred years back, in the same very city Delhi, Shah Abdul Kadir, a gentleman, for the first time, translated Quran in Urdu in 1798 and all the Ulemas of that time gave the fatwa against him that how dare he translate Quran in such a heathen and such a perverse language. So, you see that these people, their minds function in the same way. People who are against Husain are a mirror image of the people who are against Taslima Nasreen.

Read the full transcript here

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