He is both a sexagenarian and charming; his exquisite French cut beard is enough to earn the envy of young machos and to make him a heartthrob among the teenage girls even. He, at one fell swoop, is both a novelist and essayist and what can make him a duckie of India is his identity – he is a British Indian. But what places him above all is his defiance, the insubordination that shocked the globe when his fourth novel “The Satanic Verses” was launched in 1988 and earned condemnation from the worldwide Islamic populace in no time.
Now the man can surely be identified – he is Salman Rushdie, the man who became focal point of violent protests, death threats and also a fatwa, calling for his death, by none other than Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the then Supreme Leader of Iran, on February 14, 1989, for his alleged impudent depiction of Mohammed, the Arab Prophet of Islam.
Salman Rushdie is in the news again owing to his budding visit to India to attend a literature festival later this month in Jaipur and vociferous protests of Muslims demanding forbiddance against his impending visit. It has been learnt that accomplished authors like Lionel Shriver and Richard Dawkins will also grace the occasion.
The protestation, at the moment, is being spearheaded by Darululoom Deoband seminary, an imperative Islamic university across the globe stationed in India, well-known for its conformist teachings and accused time and again for being the foremost mentor of various radical Islamic groups like Taliban. On the word of Maulana Qasim Nomani, Vice Chancellor of Deoband, "the man whose blasphemous writings have hurt the sentiments of Muslims all over the world must not be allowed to set foot on Indian soil."
What is more interesting, ever since the controversy this celebrated writer has visited India twice thus far and even if there were Islamic protests in those times, those fail to equal the vociferation at the moment.
But Rushdie remains nonchalant to all these and this can be found from his recent tweet, “my Indian visit, for the record, I don’t need a visa.”
What is in the future can’t be envisaged now but it’s clear that no force can derail Rushdie’s visit to India. And if the present Union Government of India dares to do the same, it will be perceived as the worst capitulation to partisan claims – a concept that fails to match the true secularist character.
Salman Rushdie has become perfect insignia of defiance – the rebelliousness that is indispensable to fight against global Islamic supremacism.
Each Hindu warrior fighting tooth and nail against Islamic bigots can learn from Rushdie’s stance. Rushide-like defiance is the need of the hour.