1.58 AM Wednesday, 6 December 2023
  • City Fajr Shuruq Duhr Asr Magrib Isha
  • Dubai 05:28 06:47 12:13 15:10 17:33 18:51
06 December 2023

It's Chetan Bhagat vs Salman Rushdie

Author Salman Rushdie. (REUTERS)

By Ajanta Paul

The five day long Jaipur Literature Festival is the largest literary festival in Asia-Pacific.

But sadly this January the fest filled more net space and print space not because it is the most prestigious celebration of national and international literature but because one author was banned from travelling to India and represent what he writes and believes in.

Salman Rushdie was banned from coming to his own country, India, because he wrote a booked called 'The Satanic Verses'. His book was banned in India in 1988 for offending religious communities.

That was not the end of the story that's where everything started.

The media went berserk holding debates whether he should come, defy death threats, whether the government was lame indirectly supporting the right-wing extremist calling the ban.

There were writers/authors in the fest who quietly wanted to show their solidarity by reading some of the 'verses'.  Four authors were sent home packing after they read from the book.

British novelist Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar-New York based writer, Indian poet Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi writer and filmmaker were "advised" by the organizers to leave the city.

While there were supports for Rushdie there were also detractors. Writer Chetan Bhagat has criticised the support leant to the author. Bhagat has condemned the banning of texts at the Fest, but at the same time he criticised those who take their writers to be heroes for upholding the right to free speech.

Well how Chetan Bhagat could let Rushdie take away all the limelight.

Ever since the ruckus of Rushdie 'attending, not attending' started the author voiced his view through micro-blogging website Twitter.

Bhagat's views didn't go down well with Rushdie, he tweeted: "Chetan Bhagat: people like me are liberal extremists & as bad as the fundos. I'm being Bhaggered!! It's like being molested by Dan Brown!"

Bhagat was quick to respond this jibe: "Someone's feeling neglected as the controversy died down and the country moved on. Hence the personal attacks. Will pass. Peace."

But everyone took notice of the exchange of darts and Bhagats tweet was retweeted by 100's within hours.

Editor and writer Nilanjana Roy wrote a piece where she said the only difference between Chetan Bhagat and Salman Rushdie - the reason why we should pay attention to Rushdie, is that Chetan Bhagat has never offended anyone. That's an entitlement of a writer. That is the most disturbing thing about Chetan Bhagat.

Rushdie might have not given the apt reply to Bhagat but Roy did.

For now it seems the twitter war is over but 'The Satanic Verses' still remains banned in the largest democratic nation of the World.

Times of India reports that Nilanjana Roy has drafted a petition and is to move court against the ban on Salman Rushdie's 'The Satanic Verses.'