Bangla Blogs: Breaking Taboos and a Debate

The Bangla blogging platform Bandh Bhanger Awaaj is buzzing with discussions, debates, memes and literatures. Hundreds of bloggers and thousands of readers are keeping this space lively.

It is generating a lot of interest among the bloggers and readers with its variety of posts. Recently there was a wave of memes and literature serieses by the bloggers. Sadiq has posted a milestone by liveblogging the cooking of a Sting Ray fish. Some other bloggers follow suit in live blogging implementations of other exciting recipes.

And amidst all this, bloggers are bravely using their spaces to vent out their thoughts and questions. An anonymous blogger Yusnikto recently questioned with some logic who wrote ‘Quran’, the religious scripture of the Muslims. He quoted Dr. Ibne Wareq and tried to prove that it is the prayer of Prophet Muhammad towards Allah and not from God.

This had created havoc in the blog as some protested that it had hurt their religious feelings by questioning Quran. However some other bloggers reacted wisely and started to counter the post with logic. Trivuz showed that Yusnikto was wrong as there are clear statements in Quran that Quran was brought to the Muslims through Prophet Muhammad. Dikkhok Dravid supported Yusnikto saying that only a human being can write and in medieval ages verses were created and conveniently named as creation of Gods and Goddesses. Samudrer Uttal Torongo vowed that Quran cannot be written by a man.

Overwhelmed with the sensitivity of Yusnikto's post the moderators of the site reacted by removing the post. But then something extraordinary happened. Many bloggers started protesting the moderation of Yusnikto's post. They said that it is a clear violation of freedom of speech. Although many agreed that the post contained weak logic, they felt that logic should be countered with logic, not with impeding freedom of speech. And the site authority had to bring the post back eventually.

This is something remarkable in the predominantly Muslim society in Bangladesh. No media there would dare to publish this kind of stuff. Self censorship is in the way of freedom of speech in many societies in the world. But on a blog people can write anonymously, and quite often the outcome is a sane debate.

Mahbub Sumon sums up the episode and reminds bloggers of their responsibilities:

প্রত্যেক লেখকেরই রয়েছে লেখার স্বাধীনতা, রয়েছে মত প্রকাশের স্বাধীনতা। তবে সেই স্বাধীনতা মানে এই নয় যে , যা ইচ্ছে লিখে ফেলবো বা বলে ফেলবো। স্বাধীনতারও একটা সীমারেখা আছে। ব্যক্তিগতভাবে আমি মনে করি, ধর্ম এমন কিছু বিষয় না যে এটা নিয়ে আলোচনা করা যাবে না বা প্রশ্ন করা যাবে না। তবে সে আলোচনা অবশ্যই হতে হবে সুন্দর, যুক্তিনির্ভর ও অন্যের অনূভূতীকে আঘাত না করেই।

Every writer has freedom to write, freedom to express his/her opinions. But this freedom does not mean that he/she can write just about anything. Freedom has a boundary. I think personally that religion is not something that cannot be debated or questioned. But that discussion should be nice, logical and without hurting other’s feelings.


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