14 May, 2021

Delhi Diary

I wonder why Sir Salman was so harsh on poor Imran. Could it be that Mr Rushdie is a trifle jealous of Mr Khan?

Delhi Diary

Alpha Malevolence?

Although India Today did not invite me for its conclave, I caught Salman Rushdie on television. Dressed nattily in a Nehru jacket, laughing at his own jokes (always a bad sign for an aspiring humorist), fiddling with an incipient goatee, he delivered an eloquent, profound, passionate and sardonic oration on the theme he is rightly obsessed with: freedom of expression. There is very little in what he said that one can argue or disagree with. Free speech must be protected, nourished and cherished in our land—and writers like Salman Rushdie must be allowed to come and go as and when they wish.

Yet, I find Sir Salman an increasingly polarising figure. He was mild on Pranab Mukherjee, Akhilesh Yadav and Omar Abdullah for refusing to share a platform on which he was the marquee speaker. He was less mild on Imran Khan (who also refused),...

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