Salman Rushdie is known as one of the most controversial writers of our time. He is known for his unique artistic style. Most of his works are based on magical surrealism. A very new type of writing where the characters are stuck between dreams and reality. It looks like a fantasy dream with fantastic imagination and very rich depiction of fictional characters. Having said that, what is so special about The Satanic Verses has sparked controversy around the world with many leaders condemning his writing and advocating the death penalty for Salman Rushdie.
Salman Rushdie who has been living in America for the past 20 years, who faced threats over his book ‘The Satanic Verses’. Since 1988, Iran has banned the book for blasphemy against Islam. Because of this, Iran’s top leader placed a $2.8 million dollar bounty on his head.
He touched upon the basic concept of religion. The underlying background of a small group of 3-4 members turns into a cult and then forms a larger cult religion. In the book, the author discusses the origins of religion and how traditions, superstitious practices followed which led to the practice of blind and established faith in religion. It also discusses how the literal interpretation of such a thing as God or a higher power is blindly followed, even though it is a fictional work and used blindly by followers. Take a look at some of the most widely followed religious texts around the world. They claim that the world is flat, that the earth is 10,000 years old or that man was created from a woman’s rib. Although all these claims are anti-science, people actually believe them without any facts. There are people who are willing to die to prove the literal interpretation of their Prophet as real.
This book questions the origins of that ideology. There is no such thing as sacred. As soon as something is considered sacred, it becomes free from criticism. What we may think is glory to one person may seem insignificant to another. This book questions dogmatic beliefs that have been ingrained for years. As an atheist, some would find this book very amusing. They bake their bread under this religion, they found it wrong. It should be taken in a light note. But people were very angry and demanded to ban the book. They called it blasphemy because it was referring to their religion.
Another aspect, it also discusses the identity crisis that migrants face when they move to another country mostly people who move from eastern countries like India to western countries. The author himself has lived in three different places, such as India, Pakistan and UK. grew up in There are immigrants who have problems with assimilation when moving to liberal countries in Europe or America. It explores the dichotomy and conflict between the older generation and the younger generation, the West and the East, the traditional versus the modern world. If you have a strong belief in something, please make sure this book is not for you. If you are an open-minded person, you will enjoy it. Modernity is the will to offend. It is a rare quality these days to be sarcastic in a sarcastic tone and not take personal offense. After all, we are all social creatures who love to poke fun at each other and laugh at our absurdities and mistakes. By spreading happiness, you have nothing to lose.
Salman Rushdie has long advocated absolute freedom of expression, and most of his interviews reinforce his view that nothing is beyond criticism. All of her works contain fictional critiques of concepts or individuals that people hold sacred or are too afraid to attack, such as Indira Gandhi in The Emergency and Midnight’s Children, Pakistani politics in Shame, or the story of the origins of Islam and Its Prophet in it. Satanic Verses etc.
Most of his novels cover a wide range of subjects, or what he refers to as “the bazaar of stories”, but some resent criticism of what they consider sacred. Shame was given by the same Iran that issued the fatwa against the Satanic Verses.
His first novel came out in 1975. He also won the Booker Prize for his novel Midnight’s Children (1981). This novel is about modern India. He has remained out of the public eye since the controversy over his fourth book, The Satanic Verses (1988). However, despite the threats, he wrote several novels in the 1990s. In 2007, he was awarded the title of “Sir” by Queen Elizabeth of England for services to literature.
But Rushdie’s case began after the publication of Rushdie’s novel The Satanic Verses, which claimed to have defamed the Prophet Muhammad in several ways. These include using a derogatory name for Muhammad that was used by Christian crusaders; Being prostitutes whose names were those of Muhammad’s wives; Calling Abraham a scoundrel; and explaining how Muhammad failed to notice that one of his clerics had subtly done so.
After the bombings, the book was banned in many Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Middle East and even large parts of South Africa.
Many British Muslims were ready to carry out the assassination of Salman Rushdie after the horrific incident of the fatwa (decree) being issued to do so. Cat Stevens, the famous British singer-songwriter known for such classics as “Father and Son” and “Peace Train”, was reportedly among those who supported Rushdie’s assassination.
He had taken asylum in America saying that this country is very safe, where no one can attack anyone very easily but attack on Rushdie prompts questions over security at New York, powerful country like the US has failed to protect him, which begs the question, if America is not safe, then no corner of the world is safe for any one who seeks asylum for any country. He was living and receiving protection in the US since 1989. But from 2001, Rushdie publicly complained about having too much security around him and he need some free space, and this free space gave chance to his enemy to attacked on him.
If other systems of worship can be criticized, why not Islam? The killing of critics of Islam began in the seventh century. The same is happening in the 21st century. We all believe in freedom of expression for all. We all fight for everyone. In the Indian subcontinent, riots continue to occur in the name of hurting religious sentiments. Arson, vandalism, fatwa, murder, nothing stopped. By citing hurt feelings, extremists want to take away the freedom of expression of critics of their religion. Not only this, but they also want to erase their existence.
In a world where the moral concepts of religions are pointing in the wrong direction, something as basic as freedom of speech can make you controversial. Religions can insult everything and demand that the world bow to them. However, freedom of expression includes the right to offend. If you disagree with a book, you should write a rebuttal.
We all always need to realize that the only answer to a book is another book. Use pen against pen. The issue is that “believers” have no intellectual counterargument; Their conscious mind is unable to use reason or logic; And so, they resort to violence like thugs.
Salman Rushdie’s works should not have been controversial in a normal society. Neither should Raja Ravi Verma, Dan Brown, MF Hussain, Copernicus, Galileo, or any other writer, cartoonist, musician, painter or filmmaker for that matter.
However, as long as the mindless, irrational superstitious masses do not control their minds, many more Salman Rushdie will continue to be victims of this kind of violence attacks.
Surjit Singh Flora is a veteran journalist and freelance writer based in Brampton Canada