“No more of that, Saladin Chamcha told himself firmly. No more of thinking myself evil. Appearances deceive; the cover is not the best guide to the book. Devil, Goat, Shaitan? Not I. Not I: another. Who?”
None infact, except the written letters itself but alas these silent authorities neither conceived nor be treated as par their appearance while hatching the literary degradation up to the extreme. A super performing literaturer, Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses was among those unfortunate works which was evaluated through super reactionary angle and denied the basic allowance of fantasies, which a fiction writer essentially bound to require.
Late 1980’s was a proven age of follies in the history of modern India. In those phases, nation’s Supreme Court was appeared as wretched clown with morally defeated in Shah Bano case from Islamic fundamentalists. Further, opening of temples gate in Ayodhya and banning of The Satanic Verses were the two final decisions taken by the Rajiv Gandhi that made virulent campaigning much alive among the both Islamic and Hindu fundamentalists in anytime after the bloody partition in 1947. Little earlier, another terrible precedent was the eruption of 1984riot against the Sikhs following the unfortunate assassination by her two Sikh bodyguards. 1980’s revived the narrow personification within the forts of religions where the blowing of free air was ceased to stop and nasty symbolism grew unprecedentedly high!
Under those testing time of blind fundamental believers, I am afraid, this banned book was read by few who found them eligible of offence with Rushdie’s hyper metaphoric fiction. I strongly thought it after passing through these lines that demonstrate conversation in a mingled state of imagination and dreaming.
“It's not unknown for literary--theatrical exegetes, defeated by the character, to ascribe his actions to "motiveless malignity". Evil is evil and will do evil, and that's that; the serpent's poison is his very
definition. -- Well, such shruggings-off will not pass muster here. My Chamcha may be no Ancient of Venice, my Allie no smothered Desdemona, Farishta no match for the Moor, but they will, at least, be
costumed in such explanations as my understanding will allow. – And so, now, Gibreel waves in greeting; Chamcha approaches; the curtain rises on a darkening stage.”
There is need to know in a work like this or James Joyce Ulysses that dominant themes as fantasies must not be seen in hard rigid terms, otherwise things would be appear frequently as between the clash of wisdom and stark ignorance. With a functional liberal tradition, if Europe could trust the criticism of church within its literary writings, then why not the peoples of other geography should be more pragmatic with handling the criticism on their faith? Indian Constitution which is indeed a broad set of pragmatic rules gives ample chances to protect even the adverse views to float, but on this particular issue its capacities were severely minimized under the bawdy political plays!
Salahuddin could be “Chamcha” or Gibreel a “Farishta” in a writer’s imagination. Even the fantasies on Prophet Muhammad’s life could be a possible thing under someone’s dream…Rushdie displayed and shared it for finding mileage in his writing career and many others doesn’t do this. That’s the basic difference in narratives and intent. But in any circumstances, a writer must not be taken as an authoritarian force, if his/her conviction defies the convention and challenges its controlling authorities, then the only decent way out is to maintain a fair debate over it instead sabotaging the challenging voices.
No denying the fact, Salman Rushdie ever had any clear intentions to express on the Islam, he over performed with The Satanic Verses and given a blind section to fall in his woven trap of sensationalism-much before the outbreak of social media and never ending noises of news channels. It’s utterly shocking to see little depth is his contempt for the ills of Islam and infusing of subversive elements more closely than reasons or way out in foreground. Here everyone excepts the author could be a lost traveler, who can feel vulnerability of an obstinate plot where the single aim is to intertwine the minds with Islamic ills but not with its reasons, whatever it has! This paras shows the single sided application of weird imagination…
“Long before the Flood, he remembered -- now that he had reassumed the role of archangel, the full range of archangelic memory and wisdom was apparently being restored to him, little by little -- a number ofangels (the names Semjaza and Azazel came first to mind) had been flung out of Heaven because they had been lusting after the daughters of men, who in due course gave birth to an evil race of giants. Hebegan to understand the degree of the danger from which he had been saved when he departed from the vicinity of Alleluia Cone. O most false of creatures! O princess of the powers of the air!”
Somewhere in his inner thought, Rushdie must be gone through a similar state of contradiction like his characters in the novel. The revelation are less coherent and entirely pressured with the power of unknown, that power is of religious brokers not of direct god who has always been an absent entity. The very existences of god have always been recognised in “incarnation “and not as the mortal who did something unusual and different to be followed by millions, irrespective of time and period. That’s the basic gulf to be deconstructed but concentrations are non-existent on this particular aspect. Here the inner tussle exudes through this paras…
"Little things at first. If Mahound recited a verse in which God was described as all-hearing, all knowing, I would write, all-knowing, all-wise. Here's the point: Mahound did not notice the alterations. So there I was, actually writing the Book, or rewriting, anyway, polluting the word of God with my own profane language. But, good heavens, if my poor words could not be distinguished from the Revelation by God's own Messenger, then what did that mean? What did that say about the quality of the divine poetry?
The points Rushdie has made in his sarcastic heavy tones would have little resisted today than the two decades back. He missed the timing and special style of narratives that suits the collective minds. He always had a literary point of views but never a deep insight of commentary on a truly sensitive domain of “faith”. From almost the end of book, it seems Rushdie is doing justice with his literary merit but committing a big chance of personal normalcy ended forever-which is painful and unjustifiable on any counts…
“The moon was almost full; moonlight, stretching from the rocks of Scandal Point out to the far horizon, created the illusion of a silver pathway, like a parting in the water's shining hair, like a road to miraculous lands.”
Times is now to end the cheap consideration of pleasing or displeasing some sections, peoples have thought it and government too should make a way forward…better essentially and worst if optionally!
Atul Kumar Thakur
February 21, 2012, Tuesday, New Delhi