21 January, 2012

What's SO Satanic About It?

I have *NOT* read the The Satanic Verses. The ban being that of a socio-political nature I doubt I will ever get my hands on the book. Be as that may, the question does crop up, " what is so pejorative in that book"?

Is it possibly the choice of the word " satanic"? Well Wikipedia (whom more than half of the world trusts) has this to say about the source of Rushdie's choice of name for his novel.
I wonder if half the people who rail against him have read his work. Whatever synopsis and reviews I read (one of them by a Muslim no less) speak about the metaphors, imagery and symbolism employed. None of them talk about it being an Islam bashing book.

To be honest, I don't particularly care about Salman Rushdie or his writing. Too damn long and meandering by half! My mind is still fogged up about Midnight's Children and to think it won the Booker of Bookers; but that's just me. I firmly believe in respecting peoples' thoughts and attitudes simply by up holding that they have a right to espouse what they want. But when their thoughts and beliefs are challenged by the multitude as being wrong simply because another leader (now deceased) in another country decried as being blasphemous and it leads to worldwide uproar and threats to a person's life come into the picture; by all means let's examine such an allegedly offending piece of work so the decade -long debate can come to an end.

People have lashed out at M.F Hussain about painting Indian deities in a "vulgar" manner. Did the junta actually see the pictures on their own and get outraged about a partially clothed devi or did they just follow the lead of the rabble rouser who did see it and found a new platform to gain attention for him/herself?

Religion is a deeply personal matter. When something is personal people become sensitive towards it. But take a look at the person who's created that work of art (book or painting or sculpture). Are they those figures of debauchery who would defile something that millions of people hold holy just to give their expressions an outlet? Does Rushdie like living under a fatwa that some overzealous nut might actually carry out someday without even knowing the essence of the book?
Or for that matter is it even justified that Taslima Nasrin couldn't portray the incidences that women in her country, including she herself, face just because it shone a less than favorable light on the situation? What's the result? The lady lives on Indian soil, on Indian tax payers' money and is still courting controversy as per what wiki tells me.

See, that's the part of the problem- we're getting out information on "how" things are from other sources. Be it reliable or not is not being considered much. The reaction to that information is often severe and not thought out well.

If these fatwas or for that matter any death threat is carried out against an individual because they voiced their opinion about topics that others held dear and found derogatory, what kind of result would that be? I doubt the world at large would applaud "death to the infidels". It would be shameful indeed and inhumane. Satanic even.

So the next time you don't like someone's artistic rendition- consider if it offends your sensibilities or whether someone else is telling you that it does. If you find yourself offended, there are plenty of avenues of expressing yourself. Trying to annihilate the source is ridiculous and quite like being in a video game.
We switch tv channels when nothing good is on, well simply move onto the next painting or put down the book.

It offers more peace of mind and keeps things from becoming a major issue. After all, don't we have a gazillion things to do before "world peace" is attained?

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