Salman Rushdie isn’t welcome at the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) in any form, not even virtually. The proposed session with Rushdie at the festival via video link on January 24 ran into trouble on Monday with the Rajasthan government coming up with “intimidating” riders which has made the organizers develop cold feet about hosting the author via video link.
And why would the Congress Government in Rajasthan do such a thing? Well, here is the answer:
Political observers here say the government’s stubborn stance is only reinforcing the impression that it isn’t only law and order fear which has made it determined to prevent Rushdie – real or virtual – from making an appearance in Jaipur. Rather, it’s the Congress’s determination not to upset the Muslim community in the run-up to the polls in Uttar Pradesh.
What is strange is that all those who rose up in defense of MF Hussain in India are nowhere to be seen. I have not seen one statement from Shabana Azmi or even Javed Akhtar.
Interestingly, in the morning, Sanjoy Roy, the Jaipur Literature Festival producer, announced that Salman Rushdie will talk about his book “Midnight’s Children”, and not the Satanic Verses, but the Rajasthan Government took the organizers to task for not having consulted them before the announcement in the morning!
What is instructive is that in India – provate citizens cannot even decide to talk to someone from across the seas – just because the Government wants to win elections by appeasing people of one religion.
And why does it make the Muslims so angry? Here is the reason why:
The title refers to the so-called “satanic verses”, a group of alleged Qur’anic verses that allow intercessory prayers to be made to three Pagan Meccan goddesses: Allat, Uzza, and Manat. The part of the story that deals with the “satanic verses” was based on accounts from the 1st millenium (AD or AH) historians al-Waqidi and al-Tabari.
So, just because it contains something, that is alleged to have been there in Quran originally, but which puts a dampner on the greatness of Mohammad, is enough for people to go and kill Salman Rushdie and India to become a dictatorship.
Someone should start publishing and reading Satanic Verses in India just to show the Government that such dictation and emotional terrorism will not be tolerated. You cannot take away the freedom of people because you want to win elections!!
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