You see, in India "secularism" just means Hindu-bashing. Indian "secularism" has nothing to do with freedom of religion, or freedom from religion, or freedom of any kind. It has everything to do with promoting the agendas of Maoists, Muslims, Christians and anyone else who wants to destroy the ancient indigenous religious traditions of India collectively known as Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism.
But let me back up a moment. A few years ago, Taslima Nasreen wrote a very nice feminist critique of the odious Muslim practice known variously as hijab, chador, burqa or purdah. In it's most unobtrusive form this institutionalized subjugation of women is known innocuously as "the Islamic headscarf." But this "accessory" doesn't look so innocent anymore when you realize that in Iran a woman who refuses to wear the hijab will be hunted down and beaten in public by the same Islamic Stormtroopers who crushed the "Green Revolution" of last year.
Taslima Nasreen is well known in India and throughout the world as an outspoken feminist and critic of Islam. And, as already pointed out, the article in question was written years ago. But this week a newspaper in India decided to publish a translation of the article in the Kannada language. Nasreen had no idea the translation (unauthorized by her, and in a language she does not know) was to be published.
After the article was published the offices of the newspaper in question were attacked and rioting broke out in at least three places in Karnataka state. The violence led to two deaths and dozens of injuries. And today the Congress Party has proposed it's answer to these troubles: revoke Taslima Nasreen's asylum status in India. This is the demand of Congress leader from Mangalore, B Janardhan Poojary.
Oh, I forgot to mention something. Nasreen was forced to flee her native Bangladesh in 1994 and was eventually granted asylum in India. Of course the good Muslims of India also threatened to kill her, and eventually she was reduced to living in hiding, and reportedly left India in 2008, although officially she still has asylum status in India, and this was recently extended (see Taslima's website for a chronology of her "travels" in exile up through 2009 -- she currently lives in the US.)
It is good to see the true face of Indian "secularism" exposed so clearly. Those who are unfamiliar with Indian politics probably find this all very confusing. Even more confused will be those who believe themselves to be familiar with Indian politics by way of the writings of such India "experts" as Martha Nussbaum.
Obviously any true secularist would reflexively defend an outspoken feminist under attack from women-hating religious fanatics. Reflexes are important. When we touch something that is burning hot, we do not cogitate on what to do, rather our arm and hand move before we even feel the heat consciously. But Pavlovian conditioning can create new patterns of automatic responses to stimuli. Leftists have trained themselves to unthinkingly associate Hinduism with oppression, while Islam has been adopted as the Left's favorite pet "minority group" to watch over.
Even when Islamic terrorists gun down innocent people, the Martha Nussbaums of the world can only bring themselves to feel concern for what might happen to Muslims in retribution! That was Nussbaum's response to the carnage in Mumbai on 26/11. And when the anticipated (indeed, in the case of Nussbaum and her ilk, hoped for) retributions by Hindus against Muslims did not occur, Nussbaum clumsily tried to mask her disappointment by congratulating the Muslims of India for successfully avoiding victimhood by virtue of their peacefulness and liberality!
And when Islamic misogynists riot in outrage against the "offensive" idea that women should be free and equal members of society, it is the feminists who must be blamed. Islam must be defended at all costs, and even the evil burqa must be "respected," and any criticism of the burqa or Islam is "unacceptable":
Burqa is a system followed by a community and the views by Nasreen on Prophet Mohammed as well as burqa are unacceptable. As far as Nasreen is concerned, she can go anywhere, but she should not be in India.