While the main story featured in the Times of India on Sunday night focused on Oprah’s presence at the Jaipur Literature Festival, it was not able to overshadow the buzzing commotion that has surrounded the festival and noted writer Salman Rushdie.
No surprise there, of course. The legendary Rushdie is the author of Satanic Verses, a highly controversial novel accused of blasphemy and the mocking of Islam. It is banned in several countries and has been banned in India for 23 years. Rushdie had initially been invited to the festival by organizers but had to back out when Rajasthan authorities informed him that they had received a call threatening his life.
The author’s tweets on the social media network Twitter expressed rather negative sentiments against the police. In one recent twitter blast, he said “Rajasthan police invented plot to keep away Rushdie. I’ve investigated, & believe that I was indeed lied to. I am outraged and very angry.” For their part, the police “refused to comment.”
Many others, including Oprah herself and spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, believe that keeping the author away from the festival isn’t acceptable, and is, in fact, violating the right of free speech. Four authors proceeded to take their protests a step further and read excerpts from Rushdie’s novel at the event. Although measures were taken and they were asked to leave the venue –and did — some, like Member of Parliament, Asaduddin Owaisi, have demanded their immediate arrest for “vitiating the peaceful atmosphere”; others want more drastic action to be taken. This all seems semi-satanic to us.
For more information, please visit: