Sunil's Blog – Mistico Indio

Ruminations of a poet and philosopher


Posted by Sunil on December 4, 2008

By Sunil Kumar

“The past and the future is where we spend most of our lives. In fact what you are going through in this small microcosm of ours is the disorienting feeling of having stepped for a few hours into the present”… Salman Rushdie, The Moor’s Last Sigh.

Salman Rushdie once said, “I hate admitting my enemies have a point.” Growing up in a newly independent India in the 50s and the 60s, Rushdie is very much like the midnight’s children he won the Booker prize for.

Mixing Indian metaphors with global abstraction comes easy to Rushdie. Not easily accessible at first, Rushdie is a writer who captivates the reader with the broad sweep of his imagination and the sheer audacity of challenging the fundamentalist establishment. Another interesting facet is the eclectic mix of ideas that he draws from and projects in his fiction. Shades of Don Quixote, magic realism and caricatures of a living breathing reality.

The fatwa made him famous. Rajiv Gandhi’s India banned him instantly and the Ayatollah Khomeini made him a pariah in the Islamic world. How did Rushdie live through those traumatic times?

Sir Salman Rushdie said in a Telegraph interview that he plunged into despair when the fatwa was declared and says that it “erased” his personality.

He adds, “The thing about hitting the bottom is then you know where the bottom is…And after that, it cleared things up in my head… One of the things it cleared up was an urge in my mind, which is that everybody should like me.”


“That was the moment at which I stopped being the prisoner of that thing, because I thought, OK, there are people who are not going to like me and do you know what, I don’t like them.”

Rushdie always reminisces about Bombay post-independence when he thought the city was going through a kind of golden age, an Indian Camelot, where he was the knight in shining armour.

The city and its multiple identities inspire Rushdie – a miasma of illusions, the mecca of Indian dreams, sleaze lightnin’!!!

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