Sir Salman Rushdie has again managed to bring out a yawn. By ‘confessing’ that he pretended to “embrace Islam” in the hope that it would reduce the threat of Muslims acting on the fatwa to kill him.
One, it is not a confession because no one really believed him the first time. Two, it wasn’t pretence; it was marketing. As it is now. His new novel The Enchantress of Florence is to be out and although it is supposed to be full of erotic stuff, he still needs Islam to sell it. Allah khush hua…
Now let us look at a few of his quotes:
“It was deranged thinking. I was more off-balance than I ever had been, but you can’t imagine the pressure I was under. I simply thought I was making a statement of fellowship. As soon as I said it I felt as if I had ripped my own tongue out. It became the moment I hit rock bottom. I realised that my only survival mechanism was my own integrity. People, my friends, were angry with me, and that was the reaction I cared about.”
Wow, so he waited all these years to rip of that tongue of his? What integrity is he talking about? He was begging to visit India at a time when the Hindutva parties were ruling. If he cared about democracy and non-religious regimes, he ought to have applied the same standards to India, instead of that bullshit about exile.
The British government was spending a load of money to keep him secure and what did he do? Went off to the US and called them “bitchy”. That’s what he likes doing.
“I had spent five years writing this book. It was my best effort. To have it hated and dismissed, and for me to be considered a person of no worth and value, was terrible. I thought that if this is what you get, then why write? I might as well become a bus conductor.”
One can fully understand and empathise with the dismissal of one’s work, and many of us do think that his mastery and inventiveness with the language are indeed tremendously beguiling. Was it his best effort? According to him, yes. Not according to some others. He knows how he got the flak and why and the undercurrents. And there really is no need to make bus conductors seem like lesser human beings. I thought he talked about integrity. Integrity is not dependent on how others react to your work but how you feel about your own work and yourself.
(On being to therapists):
“The first time I felt total contempt for the man. With the second person I came away more miserable.”
I suspect both the fellows felt the same way. However, this is not uncommon. One does feel contempt when someone becomes privy to our innermost self.
Now I only wish Sir Salman would get over this fatwa thing and ‘lying’ on the public couch for a bit of media attention. He does not need it. Or does he?