Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Salman Rushdie dropped from Jaipur Lit Fest?

Salman Rushdie is an unwanted writer right now in India. The Rajasthan Government does not want him to attend the Jaipur Lit Fest (20 -24 January, 2012). Nor do the powers-that-be in Delhi. Do the organizers of the fest want him? Perhaps not, at this moment. So the unstoppable Rushdie has no other option but to skip the fest.

The government says that Rushdie's visit may cause a law and order problem. But if you dig  it a little, there is a series of things that lead to this decision. First, the head of a Muslim group protests against Rushdie joining the fest. Then a Congress leader in Delhi echoes him more or less along the same line. Now it is the turn of the state government to pick up the thread and go ahead with the request to the organizers that Rushdie be persuaded to stay away from the festival. And what do you expect from the organizers? They would go with their jamboree anyway - with or without Rushdie.

But how Rushdie could be a law and order problem? He's a serious writer and thinker. You may not like him for your primitive instincts or lack of intellectual capacities, but how can a government bar him from attending  a lit fest? India is where Rushdie was born, and he has visited India a number of times. And we all know he has always promoted pluralism.

So, what do you read in this Rushdie visit ban decision? First, the Government has scant regard for  writers or artists.Remember how it behaved with Taslima Nasreen or Makbul Fida Hossain in the past?

Secondly,  those in power can bend over to just do anything to appease the minority community - in the interest of keeping its vote-bank intact and unchallenged, literature/art be damned. And now is really election time in five states in India.

And lastly, can we say that  its secularism is a fakery (to borrow a word from Rushdie) of the highest order?

I would like to see what Rushdie tweets on this.

No comments:

Search This Blog

My Blog List