27 September, 2020

Nimble-nibbed Arsonist ...

...Or is Rushdie too liberal for Indian liberals?

Nimble-nibbed Arsonist ...

SO, what's the Indian verdict on Salman Rushdie? A redundant question, one might be tempted to say, considering that his latest offering, The Moor's Last Sigh, has already made it to the Booker shortlist and has had more than its fair share of rave reviews. But Indian assessments of Rushdie's works have always been based on more than just their literary merit, with reactions to his swipes at the Establishment being the focus of much public debate.

In 1981, Midnight's Children raised Indira Gandhi's hackles, but sparked a new era in Indian writing in English. In 1989, The Satanic Verses unleashed a global storm that has yet to blow over. Now, six years on, Last Sigh, which lampoons Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray and has a dog named Jawaharlal, is waist-deep in controversy even as it becomes the frontrunner for this year's Booker Prize.

Opinion on the writer-in-hiding has as many shades as there are layers in his storytelling. "Rushdie is a writer who says, 'I will go as far as this and even more, even if it means falling over the edge'," says poet Adil...



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