rediff.com

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » News » Freedom is not a tea party, it is a WAR: Rushdie

Freedom is not a tea party, it is a WAR: Rushdie

Last updated on: March 17, 2012 23:39 IST

'Rahul, electoral calculations did not work'

     Next

Next

Two months after being forced to skip the Jaipur Literary Festival, controversial author Salman Rushdie on Saturday hit out the Congress, suggesting that his presence there was blocked because of "useless electoral calculations".

The renowned author, who has been castigated by fundamentalist Muslim groups for his book The Satanic Verses, claimed that blocking his presence in Jaipur "led the Congress party down the road" in the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections.

Participating in the India Today Conclave, he said India "deserves to be led by better leaders".

Referring to the controversy which surrounded the Jaipur Festival in January which forced him to skip the event, he said, "What happened there is not Deobandi bigotry. It was pretty useless electoral calculations. It did not work, Rahul (Gandhi)."

Click on NEXT for more...


Image: Salman Rushdie


     Next

'Indian electorate is smarter than these politicians'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

He suggested that this "led to the debacle" of Congress in Uttar Pradesh.

"Indian electorate is smarter than these politicians, People can be whipped as in Jaipur Literary Festival," Rushdie said, adding that 95 per cent of Muslims are not interested in violence and that would be true for Hindus too.

Rushdie, who spoke at a session on the theme 'Liberty versus: I am what I am and that is all that I am', said the culture of "offendedness is growing" in India.

Citing the opposition by fundamentalists to late artist M F Hussain and other artistes and writers, he said, "It seems everyday there is a piece of bullying by groups of Muslims, Hindus. Voices are being silenced. The chilling effect of violence is telling and it is growing in this country."

Click on NEXT for more...


Image: Rahul Gandhi


Prev     Next

'Freedom is not a tea party; freedom is a war'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Regretting the public apathy against such measures to silence free expression, the renowned author contended, "People are asleep. You need to wake up."

He underlined, "Freedom is not a tea party; freedom is a war. Freedom is not absolute, it is something which somebody is there to take away. If you don't defend it, you will lose it."

On his presence in India again as promised by him two months ago, he said, "It seems normal that a writer of Indian birth, who loves this country, turns up to speak. This is normal. But it is abnormal that he is prevented. That danger is growing".

Talking about the stiff opposition by some fundamentalists to The Satanic Verses written 24 years ago, the London-based writer questioned, "Who gives the people the right to attack me?"

Click on NEXT for more...


Image: The cover of 'The Satanic Verses'

Tags: , India

Prev     Next

'They suddenly discovered they had overcrowded schedules'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

He said he was extremely shocked that the writers who read from The Satanic Verses at the Jaipur Festival to express solidarity with him were not defended and were still in the danger of being prosecuted.

He took a dig at Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav, besides Pakistan's cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, for not turning up at the event reportedly because of his presence.

"Some politicians suddenly discovered that they had ridiculously overcrowded schedules," he said.

Rushdie focused much of his attack on Imran Khan, who openly declared that he was boycotting the event because of his presence, and accused him of taking the backing of mullahs and the army.

"Immeasurable hurt is caused to the way in which Muslims are seen by the terrorists based in Pakistan to act in the name of Islam, including those who attacked this country from Pakistan, backed by LeT, with whom Imran Khan wants India to sit down and talk," he said.

Click on NEXT for more...


Image: Salman Rushdie


Prev     Next

'Imran is afraid of facing my bouncers'

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

"Immeasurable hurt is caused to Islam by the presence in Pakistan of Osama bin Laden for so long. Recent evidence provided by Wikileaks show Pakistan Army and officers of ISI were in regular contact with Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad (near Islamabad)," said the London-based author.

He said Imran should talk about the immeasurable hurt caused by such acts rather than demonising a book written 24 years ago.

Taking a dig at Imram for refusing to share the dais with him, Rushdie said, "There was a time when I would feel scared of Imran Khan on the cricket field... Times have changed and it seems it is Imran who is afraid of facing my bouncers now. May be his hook shots are no more what they used be."

He said Imran had a "playboy" image in London about two decades back and added, "The Satanic Verses is something I would put a substantial bet that Imran Khan has not read even."

Rushdie said "If Imran really wants to have a debate on Satanic Verses, I am ready to discuss it with him any time, anywhere."

However, after a pause, he added, "but not anywhere, that would be dangerous."

The world-acclaimed author was also sarcastic about Imran opting out of the conclave because of which the author was given the dinner-session.

"I thank Imran Khan for vacating this slot and allowing me to occupy it," he said while observing that he had earlier been given a "less-important session"

Click on NEXT for more...


Image: Imran Khan


Prev     Next

TOP photo features of the week

Prev     More
Click on MORE to see another set of PHOTO features...


Tags: PHOTO , MORE , TOP

Prev     More