Lajja (Bengali: লজ্জা Lôjja) (Shame) is a novel in Bengali
by Taslima Nasrin, a writer of Bangladesh. The word lajja/lôjja means
"shame" in Bengali and many other Indo-Aryan languages. The book was
first published in 1993 in Bengali and was subsequently banned in
Bangladesh. It nonetheless sold 50,000 copies in the six months
after its publication, though Taslima fled her native Bangladesh
after receiving death threats from Islamic groups.
Nasrin dedicated the book "to the people of the Indian subcontinent,"
beginning the text with the words, "let another name for religion be
humanism." The novel is preceded by a preface and a chronology of
2 Plot summary
4 See also
6 External links
Lajja is a response of
Taslima Nasrin to anti-
Hindu riots that erupted
in parts of Bangladesh, soon after the demolition of
Babri Masjid in
India on 6 December 1992. The book subtly indicates that communal
feelings were on the rise, the
Hindu minority of
Bangladesh was not
fairly treated, and secularism was under shadow.
In Ayodhya, in the state of
Uttar Pradesh in India, on 6 December
Babri Masjid is demolished. The demolition has repercussions in
Bangladesh. The fire of communal rioting erupts, and the Dutta family
feels and faces the heat of the communal hatred. Each member of the
family feels about this in his/her own way.
Sudhamoy, the patriarch, feels that Bangladesh, his motherland, shall
never let him down. Kiranmayee as a faithful wife stands by her
husband’s views. Suranjan, their son, believes that nationalism will
be stronger than communalism but is progressively disappointed. He
finds himself adopting communal reactions that contrast entirely with
the ideology of patriotism he has always had faith in. Nilanjana
curses her brother’s apathy and coaxes his brother to take the
family to a
Muslim friend’s house for safety.
It is a story of metamorphosis, in which disastrous events create
disillusionment, resulting in violence and resentment.
Lajja has been translated into many languages including French, Dutch,
German, English, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish,
Icelandic, Persian, Arabic, Assamese, Kannada, Hindi, Gujarati, Oriya,
Urdu, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Punjabi, Nepali, Malayalam and
List of books banned by governments
Bangladesh Seeks Writer, Charging She Insults Islam, New York Times,
8 June 1994.
^ Book Review, New York Times, 28 August 1994.
^ ENCOUNTERS; Crossing Cultures: The Complex Life of a Man of All
Things New York Times, 13 March 1994.
^ Censorship by Death New York Times, 6 July 1994.
Lajja at Tasl