Angry authors read 'Satanic Verses' at Jaipur Literature Festival;

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Angry authors read 'Satanic Verses' at Jaipur Literature Festival; Salman Rushdie feels 'very sad

JAIPUR: Two prominent authors on Friday read out portions from Salman Rushdie's banned book "Satanic Verses" at the Jaipur Literature Festival as a mark of protest after the India-born author had to pull out of the event over security concerns.

As the literary community expressed outrage over Rushdie not being able to make the trip, Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar used their session at the festival to read from "Satanic Verses". The controversial book was banned in the country shortly after it was published in 1988, for allegedly hurting the sentiments of Muslims.

The two authors referred to the book during their own readings and discussions and actually went on to read out portions from the book.

In fact just before his reading, Kunzru tweeted: "About to defy bigots and shoe throwers, reading @SalmanRushdie Satanic Verses on stage with @amitavakumar at #jaipur #jlf (sic)."

They also read out Rushdie's tweet to the audience in which he had thanked the two for reading from his work to a loud applause.

The organizers later asked Kumar not to go ahead with his reading. Kumar initially agreed to the suggestion but later continued reading from Rushdie's work.

Later, authors Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi also read from the Satanic Verses.

A perturbed Rushdie later tweeted: "@amitavakumar says organizers asked him not to continue reading from Satanic Verses." Willie, Sanjoy: why did this happen?". He was referring to William Dalrymple and Sanjoy K Roy, the festival organizers.

Rushdie again tweeted: "Joshi too said they would be reading from the Satanic Verses."

"Very Sad"

After cancelling his visit to India citing threats to his life, author Salman Rushdie on Friday said he was "very sad" not to be in Jaipur for the literature festival and was "sorry" if people felt that he let them down.

Immediately after festival organisers read out a statement by Rushdie announcing his decision to not travel to Jaipur as planned, the author expressed dismay on the microblogging site twitter.

"Very sad not to be at jaipur. I was told bombay mafia don issued weapons to 2 hitmen to "eliminate" me. Will do video link instead. Damn (sic)," posted Rushdie.

Within minutes, the twitterspace was flooded with reactions expressing outrage at the author's decision.

In response, Rushdie posted another tweet. "Much support and sympathy: thanks,everyone. Some say I let people down: sorry you feel that. Some Muslim hate tweets: pathetic," he said.

The Booker-Prize winning author also reacted to a post by novelist Hari Kunzru and Amitava Kumar who tweeted that Rushdie's absence from the festival is "a stain on India's international reputation" and suggested holding a reading of the Satanic Verses at the Jaipur Durbar Hall.

"About to defy the bigots and shoe throwers, reading @SalmanRushdie Satanic Verses with @amitavakumar on stage at #jlf," posted Kunzru.

Rushdie wrote a thank you message to both of them. "@harikunzru @amitavakumar Thank you both very much."

Journalist Vikas Bajaj tweeted that Amitav Kumar had read out "some bits from the Satanic Verses on how to turn London into a tropical city".

In an angry comment targeted at a tweeter who posted an offensive post, Rushdie wrote,"@samirumisamir:to even consider visiting India, housing many faithful Muslims, shows how insensitive, empty headed u r! Go preach in Israel."

Angry authors read 'Satanic Verses' at Jaipur Literature Festival; Salman Rushdie feels 'very sad' - The Times of India
This is another issue that shows the religious intolerance that has been brought to the fore by Vote Bank politics practised in this unfortunate country by the self serving politics.

While it is fine to exercise freedom of action and speech, yet one can also think of its adverse effect.

And likewise, it is silly to resurrect an issue that is dead and the bones interned!
 

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