Sitangshu Guha is a journalist and writer based in the USA, but his roots are in Bangladesh and he has spent a lot of time in the country documenting violent incidents against minorities.
Two books of his published in 2019 made an appearance in the February bookfair in Dhaka.
The names of the books are ‘Not a biography, but to publish a book-1 & 2’ chronicles his time as a minority and the incidents he saw and left a deep impression on his mind.
Naturally, Islamists who have the upper hand in Bangladesh are unhappy and by declaring the book anti-Muslim and anti-Islam they have successfully made Sitangshu Guha another Tasleema Nasreen.
Despite being in high demand, the publisher Muktadhara have been forced to take off the books from the bookshelves as they fear violence from Islamist groups.
Currentriggers.com reached out to the writer on the issue and he vehemently denies that there are any references that could be deemed blasphemous to Islam.
Guha says pointedly that the book merely states what he saw and what Hindus faced and since much of it is unpalatable to the Islamists hence, they are protesting against the book.
The writer specifically mentions the name of one Muhammed Talha who has picked up a bone on Sitansghu’s writing but the writer says that what he wrote is 100% true.
He tells Current triggers that the fact is that “Bangladesh nationals don’t go to any Muslim countries for education or for medical treatment, they go to India or West?”
The fact that the book talks about Love Jihad makes it perhaps troublesome to the average Islamist but Guha is defiant, he says that in the movie world non-Muslim girls will always have to convert to Islam. He gives the example of the marriage of Kolkata-based Hindu actress Jayshree and Bangladeshi Muslim actor Alamgir and throws a question at the reader whether HE Thinks it is possible for a Bangladeshi Muslim actress to marry a Hindu boy in Bangladesh?
He gives more example of this one-way conversion; like the case of a Muslim municipal chairman, who drunk with power, abducted a Hindu girl, converted and married her, and got a creamier place in the political sphere. Then, he gives the example of one bodyguard of the president of Bangladesh who abducted a Hindu girl while the President did absolutely nothing to stop him or get justice for the girl.
But when asked whether this has become the situation now and whether earlier, at least, the situation for minority was better, he shakes his head in denial.
Giving an example of his days at Dhaka University’s Jagannath Hall that was used by thousands of Hindu boys, he tells me that there were times when Muslim female students would drop in to chat and cook without any fear.
But these very girls would never dare to enter Muslim male student’s rooms.
He says that in the early ’70s, a girl was forced to jump from the 3rd floor to avoid being assaulted at Muslim boys’ ‘Surjya Sen Hall’. Nothing ever happened like that in Jagannath Hall.
Sitangshu Guha tells me that all he wants for Bangladesh is to read his book with an open mind and that can never happen without removing glasses of Islamism that have gripped this country.