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.