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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Millennium Liberal Fatwaism: Letter to my friends in Daily Star

Dear Sayeda, Hana and Amin,

As you are well aware, I do not out of choice read your newspaper and there are very many reasons, which I have publicly or privately shared – to no avail. Your Editor is probably very busy wheeling and dealing – than living up to the lofty ideals of ‘Your right to Know’.

However today I got a feed from my Auto Google search and thus my attention was drawn to this Book Review that was published in Daily Star on Saturday the 14th March 2009.

Written by one Jamat Ali - I quote verbatim from the text:

There are a few sects of Bauls, such as Grihi Baul (family led Baul). They believe that for salvation one should practise Prakiti Sadhan in the confluence of the vagina, which they call Triveni Sangom, in a special mood on special days only. Some of them even share their wives with their disciples and guru as part of their esoteric practice regarding immortality.

I wonder how such disparaging things could be written about our Baul fraternity in our self proclaimed National Newspaper ? Have these allegation been verified? Does your reviewer and/or your Editor have any proof? This as far as I am concerned is an insult to all women and certainly constitutes abuse – which I am afraid will never and should not go unchallenged. Please tell your Editor that sex and sexuality is without any exception NEVER discussed publicly among the Bauls and - possibly in no civilized society.

This thing about “Prakiti Sadhan in the confluence of the vagina” is all disgusting and in very poor taste. Also there is absolutely NO TRUTH in the claim that Bauls "share their wives with their Gurus".

What is disappointing and shocking is these exacts words were used by Shariati/Wahabi Mullahs in the 18th Century in a ‘fatwa’ against the Venerable Sage Fakir Lalon Shah /\ – and Daily Star in these enlightened times should in no way be exacerbating them by indulging in Millennium Liberal Fatwaism.

I sounded off my irate sentiments immediately to my childhood friend Rizwan Bin Farouq (who by some accident of fate happens to be your Editors brother-in-law) - but not having heard from him since morning, in any case am emailing this letter across to your Mr. Mahfuz Anam – knowing all too well from past experience that he will not respond.

As a member of the Baul fraternity, I take serious exceptions to this vile description of our ancestral belief system and believe it would be an unpardonable SIN if your Editor did not apologize publicly for the hurt it has caused all of us. Notwithstanding, please remind him that this is NOT the last time anybody will get away making derogatory and slanderous comments about Baul women, our faith and practice – and ALL WOMEN in general.

The word is “Maa-Noosh” – we know what “Maa” is and is well understood - but ask your Editor to tell us what “Noosh” is, before attempting yet another farce about the Bauls.

“Aponar Shadhon Bhojon er kotha
Kohiyo Na jotha Totha
Aponar aponikei koriyo Shabhodhan”

jOI gURU /\


Facebook Reactions:

  • Shagufta Hussein at 1:36am March 15// I m not sure whether its surprising or shocking!!!!!!!!!! Its not bout only Bauls and women but civilizaion. R we still living in the 18th century?Thank you & we r with u in this s. Bcos I believe we need to learn to respect and stop making slanderous comments.
  • Aditya Kabir at 1:39am March 15// this is outrageoous. does these mumin moselmaans even know that the baul is full-blown spiritual sect? these are the very idiots that killed off hundreds of sects in last hundred year or so. it doesn't eny difference that they speak english now. buggers. the english raj at least never meddled into the spirituality of bengal. the bauls are persecuted, and so are bolaharis, kortabhojas and all other minority sects in bangladesh. chishtias, the largest of spiritual sects us being revised as we breath. at the end only the deoband school would survive. and, the high and mighty daily star people would be very much a part of that. *sigh*
  • Abdullah Numan at 1:47am March 15// this is an abuse against humanity, not only the baul society of our country! Shame!!
  • Aditya Kabir at 1:51am March 15// yep, it says a lot about our own selves. we are the people who call the manipuris - tribal, indegenous, pahari, adibashi, upojati - and what not, while in fact they have a much older and richer culture than our bengali culture. they even have a thousand years of historical chrinicle preserved and a classical dance form of their own. bloaady hell... if this how the majority hanafite sunnis adhering to the deoband school are going to do, we may as well denounce almost everything we see around.only, we won't because some of us are really better people than a lot many of them.
  • Ditio Syed-Haq at 3:56pm March 15//How insulting.... I'm disappointed that the Star would run such a piece.
  • Zafrul Hasan at 9:57pm March 15// i'm glad someone is taking a stand! ....
  • Mac Haque at 10:48pm March 15// Thanks for your thoughtful comments guyz. Believe this letter has been handed overt to the Book Review Editor of Daily Star. Lets wait and see. and 'give the devil it's due' :)
  • Ditio Syed-Haq at 11:01pm March 15// If that's Syed Badrul Ahsan, then go easy on him Mac. He's my old english teacher from Scholastica days and only recently back from a major operation... very decent man, but it's easy to drop the ball now and then (as I proved to you without doubt!)... the other Ed I can think of is Khademul Islam who heads up the Literature page... would be interested to see his take on this.
  • Ditio Syed-Haq at 11:03pm March 15// Btw, not saying you should go easy on the man just because he's my ex teacher but because I know him as a person... I really doubt he would have made a mistake like this intentionally :-)
  • Mac Haque at 11:18pm March 15// No Ditio - it aint Badrul bhai at all... I have known him and his younger brother Sadrul who is on Facebook and me were back bench buddies in Notre Dame :) Badrul bhai wouldn't stoop to such low..looks like this is a case of DS trying to accommodate somebody to write out reviews without reading them in their 'Book Review" Deptt."Titillation" was probably his intention -I dunno !!
  • Elita Karim at 12:43am March 16// i think a letter should be written to the 'Book Review' section about this. that is the only way to find out if anyone from DS has actually gone out of his or her way to hire a reviewer to write something like this. the letter can sent by anyone to the book review section or the letters to the editor section or also directly to the editor of the daily star. the email address can be found on the printer's line of the daily star (back page). the in-charge of the book review page in the main paper is badrul bhai. a letter can or/and should be sent to him letting him know of this mistake. good luck!Elita Karim The Star Magazine The Daily Star
  • Aditya Kabir at 12:54am March 16// one book review or one rejoinder isn't going to change the world obviously, but it would at least count for something. one of my friends told me a story once - there was this guy picking up starfish washed on to the beach, yes, one at a time naturally. someone else approached him and said - with millions of starfish strewn all over the beach you're not going to make any difference at all. the first guy picked up one more starfish,threw it back to ocean and said - i think i made a difference to "that" starfish. any step towards the right direction is, yes, a step towards the right direction. we just need to keep our eyes peeled to find any such abomination happening anywhere else as well.
  • Aditya Kabir at 1:25am March 16// i would like to add something else too. it appears from quite a number of comments above that it was only a little slip on Daily Star's part. please. Did anyone check out the bengal gazetteers from era of the raj? at the end of 19th century there were more than 300 sects in bangladesh, by early 20th century the number came down to less than 100, and by the last census it's less than 30 now. what happened? well, one big thing happened, and it's called the deoband school, where the think tank of jamaat-e-islami resides, and where the khilafat and wahabi movements were spawned. the process always begins with defaming a sect, then disenfranchise them, and finally a bit of coercion (killing isn't out of the options,sorry). a little slip indeed.
  • Mac Haque at 10:48pm March 15///This one is for you Elita. I am sorry but if what you are saying is true - then you make it appear that the Daily Star is a monolithic, bureaucratic 'demonocracy' devoid of any inkling of public sensitivity. Damn it - your Editor is so consumed with himself that he doesn't even reply to letters written directly to him < > - and you want us to believe that you actually have a system whereby - all of the above step if ever followed - THINGS WILL WORKS? Tell your 'whoever' to get off their high horse cause this time around you have slandered the grounded belief system of our ancestors and humanity that go back to pre-Abrahamic times. Playing about the gallery to appease and patronize overtly or covertly the Shariati/Wahabist and Salafist Mullahs who have turned this Nations of ours to the state we are in today - makes your Daily Star worse demons than the ones we saw in 1971. Gloves are off.
  • Mac Haque at 1:26am March 16// PS. Elita..just to refresh your memory...the above letter was BTW emailed to your Editor last night with a copy to also Mr.Rizwan Bin Farouq has handed over same to him. I do not have any it because like you I am a musician and no 'intellectual' or politician - so I don't deserve a reply? Or is it because I belong to the Baul fraternity - allegedly the 'poorest of the poor' in Bangladesh and thus by 'implication's are creations of a lesser gOD than any one of us here?
  • Aditya Kabir at 1:31am March 16// this is how the fraternities vanish: spread lies and suppress the truth. i guess i must quote joseph goebbles, the one of the most brilliant propagandists ever, “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over” some people are working really hard, and they are everywhere.
  • Mac Haque at 1:35am March 16//Good one Aditya: "A LIE repeated several times over becomes the TRUTH" :)

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