The Style with Vir: Why did the Indian authorities ban Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses?

Home » The Style with Vir: Why did the Indian authorities ban Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses?

It’s in all probability too early to be fully positive however as I write this, the excellent news is that Salman Rushdie is alive and is prone to stay so. We don’t know the extent of his accidents — there are unconfirmed reviews of harm to 1 eye and wounds within the liver — however to date at the least, the prognosis is that Rushdie will survive the knife assault on him.

The Indian responses to the stabbing of Salman Rushdie have instructed me a number of issues. The primary and most vital factor to emphasize is that each one of us don’t all the time realise that the menace to Rushdie’s life didn’t emanate from India as so many individuals on social media appear to imagine. Sure, India was the primary nation to ban the e-book and there have been protests in each India and Pakistan. However Rushdie was in no private hazard. Talking to him throughout that interval, I had the sense that he was capable of deal with all that.

He, after all, disapproved of the ban and he wrote an indignant letter to the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi about it. However Rushdie supposed to struggle his critics. He loved a superb struggle and didn’t imagine that his life was in peril.

All that modified when Ayatollah Khomeini heard about The Satanic Verses and issued a fatwa providing a reward to anybody who killed Rushdie. That’s when issues obtained severe and the British authorities (he had lived in London for many years and had a British passport) requested him to enter hiding. He remained undercover with safety from the British police for years.

ALSO READ | The Style With Vir: Did Nupur Sharma do something unsuitable? What about free speech?

So, to argue, as some try this he was hiding from Indian Muslim extremists or that his life was in peril due to threats that originated in India is nonsense. And but, so many individuals on social media, together with those that ought to know higher, appear to assume that he was an Indian author who was compelled to flee due to threats in our nation.

The fatwa got here from Iran and the lads who have been dispatched to kill him additionally got here from West Asia. Many individuals related to the e-book (translators and so on.) have been additionally attacked and a few have been killed. However the entire assaults came about outdoors India and, so far as I do know, weren’t linked to any Indian Muslim group. Even the person who stabbed Rushdie seems to be of Lebanese descent.

So sure, Salman Rushdie is a author of Indian origin with a deep affection for this nation. However, no, the menace to his life didn’t come from India.

I shouldn’t actually must repeat all this. Any idiot with entry to Wikipedia can test it out. However you’d be shocked by the misinformation floating round on social media.

It’s value remembering that just about all of these protesting about Salman Rushdie and his ‘insult to Islam’ don’t know if any insult truly occurred. To know that you would need to learn the e-book. And hardly any of those that say that they’ve been damage by the disrespectful references to the Prophet can actually have been damage as a result of they haven’t learn the e-book.

In actual fact, all the controversy over the ban on The Satanic Verses was based mostly on ignorance and illiteracy. The MP Syed Shabhuddin, who had by no means learn the e-book, referred to as for it to be banned on the idea of interviews with Rushdie in India At the moment and Sunday. This name was echoed by many Muslim our bodies whose members had additionally not learn the e-book as a result of it had not but been printed. The house ministry, headed by Buta Singh, who had not learn the e-book, really helpful a ban. And Rajiv Gandhi who had additionally not learn the e-book, agreed to ban it.

One of the vital ironic elements of this entire saga is that individuals who couldn’t probably have been offended by the e-book as a result of that they had by no means learn it mentioned they have been, nonetheless, offended. That scenario persists to this present day. All of the indignant Muslims on social media who recommend that Rushdie had it coming as a result of he insulted the Prophet don’t know the way he insulted the Prophet or, even, if there was truly any insult contained in The Satanic Verses, as a result of they’ve by no means learn the e-book.

I blame the Indian authorities of Rajiv Gandhi for agreeing to ban the e-book with out studying it on the idea of complaints from individuals who had additionally by no means learn it. (When you care sufficient, the entire saga is handled at size in my memoir A Impolite Life.)

Why did the Indian authorities ban the e-book? Properly, in response to Rajiv Gandhi, as a result of the house ministry believed that the protests might flip violent and lives can be misplaced. No e-book, the federal government mentioned, was definitely worth the lack of lives.

It was an odd argument to make in a liberal democracy that claimed to respect free speech. The reality is that somebody will all the time get offended by one thing or the opposite. The second you begin limiting free expression on the idea of some actual or imagined slight or anyone’s declare that he was offended, you strike on the coronary heart of a free society.

Which takes us again to the themes of a lot of the social media commentary. Varied pro-BJP handles ask: Why are folks defending Salman Rushdie once they refuse to defend Nupur Sharma? Properly, to start with, this argument is predicated on lies.

When The Satanic Verses was banned, a lot of the media (most, truly) supported the ban on the e-book on the grounds that it helped hold the peace. Rushdie by no means obtained the assist he deserved.

Neither is there an awesome parallel between Rushdie, one of many world’s pre-eminent writers, and Nupur Sharma who is just a fringe factor who tried to create bother between India and West Asia and in opposition to whom motion must be taken. (Not my view, that is the view of the BJP authorities.)

However talking for myself, I don’t imagine Nupur Sharma did something unsuitable. She has a proper to free speech. She exercised it. I mentioned so on this column in June. It’s the BJP that didn’t agree with me and took motion in opposition to her. So, the individual to direct these inquiries to is JP Nadda who suspended her from his get together.

Judging by the tone of the social media marketing campaign, it’s clearly coming from some IT cell and is supported by the acquainted skilled Muslim haters. For these folks, the assault on Salman Rushdie is not more than one other alternative to assault Muslims or to boost communal tensions.

Equally, Muslims ought to realise that the actions of a harmful minority harm world Islam. It isn’t Islamophobic to level out that the rationale Rushdie is in hospital right this moment is due to violent Islamic fanaticism. Sadly, this fanaticism is inspired by some world leaders and, in India, by non secular and political leaders who, once they supply bounties on the heads of these they declare have offended their God truly perform as recruiting brokers for the RSS.

And at last, I get a little bit bored with all this insult-to-God stuff utilized by fanatics from all religions. If God is de facto so omniscient and all-powerful, then he can maintain himself. He can punish individuals who insult him in his personal approach in his personal time. He has no want in your fatwas, your bounties, your threats and your knives.

Every time you act as if it’s as much as you to defend God, you make your God appear small and ineffectual.

And which may be the largest insult of all of them.


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