|Rushdie's Verses: Good vs. Evil Misundertood (standard:non fiction, 2257 words)|
|Author: Bobby Zaman||Added: Nov 07 2002||Views/Reads: 10340/1554||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|An essay on Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses, distanced from the "Anti-Islamic" rhetoric and accusations of "blasphemy" with which the novel has been charged.|
Rushdie’s Verses: Good vs. Evil Misunderstood By Bobby Zaman Sifting through the mountain of essays and criticism that have risen from the desks of scholars on Salman Rushdie’s 1988 novel The Satanic Verses could very well be an exercise in futility, deciphering the myriad allegations that question his credibility as a writer, a considerable waste of time. Before going on, let it be stated here that Rushdie is first and foremost a storyteller and a reservoir of staggering imagination, having successfully sunk his quill into the jugular of the English language from whence pours a new stream of consciousness, a new lingo, and English as we know it succumbs to his pen like a confused actor in the hands of a seasoned director. The tragedy has been embedded and continues to linger in the literary world by no means shaped by it that TSV is a novel that “blasphemed Islam.” The time has come and gone to get over taking such shortcuts to thinking. The Ayatollah is dead, fundamentalism is still an active poison coursing through the veins of humanity a necessary evil some may surmise and somewhere in some hole in the nether regions of society, some dreg looking for a reason for his or her existence might have it out for Rushdie, thinking it a duty in the name of Islam. TSV is a story of good vs. evil. It is no more satirizing and blasphemous than an episode of The Simpsons. Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha are Bart and Lisa Simpson fiercely competitive, retelling myths and history, and poking jabs at everything that crosses their young perceptions. The principal players in TSV - Farishta and Chamcha maintain obvious differences with the spawn of Homer and Marge: they are not young schoolchildren, they aren’t infused in the bloodline of popular culture to the extent of having a cult-like following, and Rushdie does not imply anywhere that they are animated characters for the sole purpose of entertainment, no matter how socially relevant the subject matter of a Simpsons episode; they are, however, actors, thereby being the emissaries of the world of suspending disbelief to the sphere where disbelief awakens to fascinating mistakes. Wrapping up this Simpsons analogy, it may be said that nothing is sacred to the dysfunctional family from Springfield that has become a commentary on the American psyche in more than a decade of its successful run. Little is seldom sacred in literature. As in life, so in print, nobody that cares seriously about being stimulated in the slightest manner, wants to read about endings that invoke the image of starry eyed protagonists running through fields and ushering in a hammed up happy ending. Without realizing, many a time have people called such books cheesy. The good stuff will always cause a ruckus, be it positive or negative; and that is where the pen reconfirms its might over the sword. On Valentine’s Day 1989 Salman Rushdie received a message that redefined in his world this sacred day for lovers around the world. It was not from a loved one nor was it a missive of passion. It was a threat against his life from Iran’s erstwhile ruling cleric the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and he wanted Rushdie’s head on a platter for allegedly desecrating Islam in TSV. Since then, the mayhem over the book proliferated masses in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, of course Iran, inciting riots and book burnings. Lost in the hurly-burly was the actual book, the story, the novel about the perpetual battle between good and evil that has been part and parcel of literature from the Greeks to the Mahbharata, from Shakespeare to Milton, from Goethe to Shaw and the list goes on. If one were to look to Kurt Vonnegut for a quick second, Cat’s Cradle could be brought off the shelf for a scan of the religious commentary it poses. Religions are a pack of lies to lure the masses into belief of anything that comes from the mouth of someone who sounds like they know a thing or two. Thus is constructed the cat’s cradle with faith covering under its name a false existence. In his career-making book, Vonnegut uses Bokononism as the example, the religion of the island of San Lorenzo. Bokonon, founder and embodiment of Bokononism, came to the island, saw its uncivilized and needy masses, brought them the doctrine of Bokononism in a series of songs, and converted the populace to his invention. Vonnegut does not feel the need to make any reference to a particular religion that is being “mocked” by this Click here to read the rest of this story (144 more lines)
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