This time Jaipur literature fest is getting bigger than ever, normally books and literature is not given that attention in media coverage, but this time it’s different, Rushdie controversy has created a vast space for media stories and greater publicity for the fest.
As told by festival producer ‘Sanjoy Roy’, aimed” video addressing by Salman Rushdie” will take place tomorrow afternoon at the front lawns of Diggi Palace. It has generated a new wave of contestation as various Muslim forums and organizations are planning to oppose it. Rajasthan Police commissioner ‘B.L Soni’ said, “Until now we don’t have any official confirmation for the conference and no permission has been taken by the organizers, but if something of this sort happens, we will look into the matter and legally examine it before taking any action”.
Salim Engineer, national secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami –Hind, diplomatically answered on whether they will protest or not, he said, “If an unlawful thing will happen and people have right to protest peacefully and democratically, and if readings from the banned book will be done surely people will oppose it”. He also said,” for now Rajasthan Muslim Forum has not taken any decision yet.”
Four authors Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi who read from the banned book ‘The Satanic Verses’, have left Jaipur the same day on the advice of organizers. In an article which published in ‘The Guardian’ Hari Kunzru defended himself and Amitava, saying what he did was right. Last evening The ‘Unban the Verses’ petition was initiated by writer Nilanjana Roy to lift the ban from the Book. A handful of authors have also joined the campaign to unban the book.
Agnivesh Supports Salman, Javed not willing to comment on the festival premises.
As the day progressed, contention over Salman Rushdie advanced as Swami Agnivesh who was here today on the 3rd day of Jaipur Literature Festival, 2012, spoke on Salman Rushdie controversy, he said:
“Some sort of probe should be initiated to find out who gave this perception to Mr Rushdie. This kind of controversy is ridiculous and unbecoming of a democracy.
I have just now signed the petition that seeks to lift the 24-year-old ban on his book. I remember when it happened; I had even then condemned the ban and had sought some kind of contact with Rushdie to seek his permission to be able to translate his book in Hindi.
All this banning under pressure of fundamentalists groups— be it Hindus or Muslims – should be stopped, and dialogue should be resorted to as it is the best way out. I have also told my friends in Jamaat-e-Islam-e Hind that it is unbecoming of you as a Muslim to act in such a way when the life and teachings of Prophet Mohammad are so full of compassion.
I also ask people here why no one raised a voice when I was attacked for my comments on Amarnath shrine. I still believe it is superstitious. Even Anna and Kejriwal did not condemn the attack. “
During the book launch of Manoj Sharma by Javed Akhtar, Javed refused to speak on the Rushdie controversy, though he said,” he is willing to speak about it, but not here in the literature festival, he will be pleased to give an interview at his place or anywhere else outside the premises of the festival venue.” He stated that any comment on such sensitive topics like of Salman’s can be misinterpreted and can create further problems.