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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Literary gossip based on reality their actions spark series of controversies

The celebrated author Salman Rushdie is not attending the Jaipur literature festival .For most people it would have gone unnoticed but for the media hype. Controversy seems to follow Salman Rushdie. The author came into the limelight due to the ban on his book “The Satanic Verses”. A lot of countries had banned the book calling it blasphemous. The most sensational ban came from Iran in the form of a “fatwa”. Salman Rushdie then lived in police protection in England and a cash reward was declared to nab and kill him. He however continued to make public appearances despite the fatwa. How was it that despite the fatwa, he continued to be in the news for his personal life as well as his novels. He continued to write books though none of them created such an outrage as The Satanic Verses.

There was a lot of speculation regarding Salman Rushdie’s attendance at the Jaipur literary fest. It was finally settled via  a communication from Salman Rushdie’s side that he was not attending the Festival because of threats to his life from the underworld in Mumbai .This raises many questions .Is this the actual reason for  not attending the fest. Today, the Mumbai police have come up with a statement to say that they had no such information and therefore this is a baseless rumor. It leaves us now more confused than before. Why did Salman Rushdie give this as the reason for not attending the fest? If the government of India could not guarantee his safety, then why did the statement come from an author residing in Britain? Are we a soft state that bows down to the wishes of fundamentalists, underworld dons (as Salman Rushdie stated in his communication) and all kinds of terrorist organizations? Is it these groups that will hold the state to ransom from now on?

The other reason for Salman Rushdie backing out of the festival is being seen in a political light. Opposition parties are quick to claim that the move was managed backstage by the Congress because it was not willing to take a chance with the core Muslim constituency in the upcoming state elections especially in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress is believed to be hyper- sensitive to Muslim feelings as they are trying to woo back the Muslims from SP and BSP. This is their only way for survival in the key state of Uttar Pradesh. They have even used the reservation for Muslims card and did not want to take any chances. What is surprising however is why Salman Rushdie decided to play along? His book is banned in India, so it is not his ally. He has never shown too keen an interest in the affairs of the Indian state. Then what caused him to listen to the unconfirmed reports of threat to his life? Had he not lived with threat to his life before, and attended public functions despite the fatwa? What then was the real reason for his skipping the festival? Alas, we may never know.

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