SAHMAT invites Salman Rushdie to Delhi

This release comes from SAHMAT, the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust, Delhi

We have watched with dismay the unnecessary controversy which erupted over the presence of Salman Rushdie at the Jaipur Literary Festival. We strongly disapprove of the threats – real or perceived – issued against the participation of Rushdie. The state has once again succumbed to retrogressive forces using works of creative expression for their own narrow, partisan and divisive political agendas. SAHMAT has stood by Rushdie in the past, when we defied an unofficial ban on The Moor’s Last Sigh by readings on the street in Delhi in 1995. Rushdie has been a frequent visitor to India in the last few years with no problems being raised. Indeed, he visited us at SAHMAT and was serenaded by chance by some of the greatest singers of the Rajasthani Manganiyar tradition.

SAHMAT is issuing an open invitation to Salman Rushdie to come to Delhi to deliver a lecture or participate in a discussion on literature at any time of his choosing. We will host him under any circumstances along with an exhibition of the works of the late MF Husain, driven into forced exile by the similar retreat by the state in it’s cowardly unwillingness to stand up against communal politics.

New Delhi

12 thoughts on “SAHMAT invites Salman Rushdie to Delhi”

  1. I am ashmed that freedom of expression a treasured aspect of our national life is being goaded by some unruly groups ,stifling free speech and human freedom in a land wher all religions and polits are one ..single sentence..freedom to say what one desires with out chains ..or religious backwardness..I thank Sahmat on their support and invertation to a great writer of India be he muslim hindu or dalit or a woman all are equal before god and after god ..


  2. Under the fake threat of disrupt in law and order, the government is trying to play the communal card; this is highly deprecable.The elected representatives are becoming rulers. The ruling class needs ignorant cowards as their subjects; and not the thinkers or creative writers.Their conduct was just as expected.Time has come for all right minded Indians to join hands and stand together against such kinds of censorships, and bans.


  3. while I am happy that sahmat stands by its ommitment to non communal politics am surprised they dont notice the manipulation in the whole controversy.


  4. ‘SEHMAT’ invites Salman Rushdie. Enough of a comment from the majority us. The new coin term ought to be ‘the majority minority’. That is India. The bigger tragedy of India is that the cultural space of the ‘Indian Left’ has been abdicated by the ‘Left’.


  5. Congratulations.Please go ahead.All secular Indians will welcome the move and come forward to support Sahmat to rally against the ugly politicians who kneel down before the theocrats who take the nation to ransom.


  6. Very heartening to see SAHMAT take a clear and un-ambiguous stand on this important question.


  7. When CPI(M) has not come out openly in support of Rushdie SAHMAT’s position is heartening. But the fact that both CPI&CPI(M) and the intellectuals associated with them did not even come out a statement in support of Rushdie indicates that something is certainly wrong with them. I hope that even if there is a pressure from CPI(M) to go soft on this, SAHMAT will stick to its stand.


  8. i am particularly happy that SAHMAT has invited salman rushdie to a talk in delhi. it is a very frustrating feeling if one is not even allowed space to express one’s point of view, even if it may not be the final truth.there are many other institutions in similar situation, which could follow SAHMAT’s path and contribute to more communication and peace between rivalling groups.i say this in the context of the Kashmiri Pundits and Kashmiri Muslims, particularly those asking for azadi. and earlier in case of Taslima Nasreen, there should and could have been more open solidarity shown for her. if more intellectual muslims take the courageous path of confronting their fundamentalists, we could have silenced the atankwadi religious heads to some extent.


  9. MF Hussain, who deliberately wounded the feelings of religious Hindus, by drawing and exhibiting vulgar, nudist figures of revered Hindu goddesses, which figures are not banned and which are there to see by everybody on the net, and Salman Rushdie, a liberal Islamic critic in his writings, cannot be measured on the same scales. While SAHMAT’s invitation to Rushdie is no doubt libertarian and laudable, its linking that to depiction of Hussain’s obscene and vulgar paintings is not. Nobody prevented Husain from returning to India and justifying his ‘innocence’ (if that was so) in a court of law and if there were too many cases getting an order from Supreme Court to get bundled all of them into one set to be tried at one place. But Rushdie is tried and convicted and sentenced by Islamic fanatics and his book banned (not on merits) by Rajiv Gandhi government even without reading it and out of personal revenge sentiments by the Gandhi family.


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