Saturday, January 21, 2012

Go back Rushdie, You are not welcome here

Dear Mr. Salman Rushdie:

You are not welcome in our country. 

Though we are the ‘greatest country’ with the ‘greatest culture’ we are an insecure lot.  Please don’t try to analyze why the greatest culture can be so insecure – you will not understand that.  In our country, most of the ‘greatest’ men and women happen to be extremely insecure.  They constantly pay their deities money and donations to keep their greatness intact.  If they do not pay obeisance to the gods or the godmen, they will lose that greatness instantly, thanks to the wrath of our unpredictable gods. 

Though we believe that our morals, dietary habits and family values are the 'greatest' on the planet, we also happen to be very peevish.  We tend to get hurt easily.  More than the people of this country, our religions, which have been in existence for hundreds of years, spreading and thriving, with more than billion followers around the world, get hurt far more easily.  Our greatest religions need constant protection from all those who criticize us, ridicule us, poke questions into our theories and mysteries. 

You don’t seem to understand the concept of ‘individual rights’ as it is interpreted in our country.  We have a right to believe in blind theories, gobbledygook stories, and mystical interpretations of the working of the nature.  We also have a right to apply these theories in our daily working, as a dam constructor or rocket scientist. And if for some reason, you seem to question them or speak against them, we have a right to threaten you, shut you up, and if needed, throw you in prison.

We happen to be the world’s largest secular democracy but we differ with you on the definitions of ‘secularism’ and ‘democracy’.  In our versions, any group of more than ten people armed with religion can force the state to stifle the individual freedom at any point of time, with impunity, being answerable to none but God himself.  We routinely stifle freedom of the writers, critics, authors, bloggers, artists, activists, whenever and wherever we can.  

You may find this disturbing, that a ‘free country’ should stifle the freedoms of its people.  We don’t see anything wrong in this.  For us, ensuring social harmony, ensuring the integrity of our moral fiber, keeping our cultural ethos, maintaining religious order, are far more important than ensuring freedom of expression and safeguarding individual rights.  What you have achieved in Europe and Americas fighting for individual rights against the state or religious oppression is unknown to us.  You see, most of us have not read histories, and even if we read them, we vomit them out during our exams and therefore do not remember anything after we write them on our answer sheets.  

You may never understand this, but here in India, the land of the 'greatest culture', we need to protect our culture against the onslaught of others who are bent on corrupting us with their immoral practices and attitudes of asking us to think and judge on our own, by forcing us into critical and rational thinking.    

Dear Mr. Rushdie, we also happen to be the most tolerant of the nations – in fact, tolerance is a part of our history, religion and culture; we lay claim to it when the West was still living in the caves.  Just take a look at the number of religions and idiosyncratic superstitions we have in this country, just take a look at the number of rich godmen, and take a look at the number of temples and mosques.  Is it wrong if we have consciously chosen to be intolerant of those who question our culture, our esteemed religions or our belief systems?  We are entitled to this small narrowness given our credentials of magnanimity and generosity - don't forget that we gave zero away for free so that the whole world can benefit from it.

You surely must remember that day when, before any reader even heard of what you wrote in Satanic Verses, we set an exemplar precedent by banning your book, even before other theocracies woke up to ban it.  You see, in this 'greatest country' called Bharat or Hindustan, we take proactive action to ban things which we don’t even understand or comprehend, before even reading a syllable of the work, because we take immense care to protect our people from immoral influences of reason, from thinking on their own, and from dealing with controversial issues.  We in India take pride in deciding what is right for our people without giving them even the choice of trying to find it out on their own.

You see, unlike modern nations who believe that all individuals above eighteen are adults, we in India continue to think of all our citizens as tiny babies with itsy-bitsy brains, incapable of understanding why it is not a good idea to put hand in the fire, or touch a snake in the bushes.  We continue to believe that our citizens will remain babies forever, and it is our duty and responsibility, as self-proclaimed adults, to protect them from all dangers of enlightenment, rationalization, ideation, creation, logical thinking, judicious choice making, empiricism and scientific study.  

You must be wondering who are these Indian adults, right?  We are the government, the babus and politicians, which the most Indians look down upon, in cahoots with the mullahs and priests, which the most Indians look up to.   We adults in India decide what is good for our people and what is not.

And we have decided, without understanding a single word you wrote in that arcane and esoteric fiction of yours, called Satanic Verses, that it is not desirable for our people to read it, lest they lose faith in their strongest and most prolific religion.  You need to understand why our religion survived the last thousand years and continued to grow in numbers.  Not because it could influence the smartest of the people with sound logic and reasoning, but because it could be imposed upon the dumbest of the people with silly illogic and idiocy of stories about supernatural beings, supernatural laws and unnatural habits.  Our people believe in miracles, genies, angels, heaven and hell.  If the Lord of the Rings was written thousand years ago, we would have made it our holy book. 

You have no appreciation for the gargantuan task we have here in India.  Our people need utmost care and protection, on a daily basis.  The day they read a good book, get enlightened and start questioning the illogic in our theories and scriptures, they will grow up and stop being babies.  And we cannot have that.  Therefore, it is our duty and responsibility to shun all such questioning, critical thinking and dissemination of working theories of the world before it even reaches the eyes and ears of our people.

We hope you will understand why we need to ensure you don’t come to India.  We don’t see any hypocrisy in holding one of the largest literary festivals on the planet, and then go about instructing on who can attend and who cannot, on what you can read in the festival and what you cannot.  In India, freedom comes with conditions.  The conditions are simple – don’t criticize our blind beliefs, our superstitions, our idiotic notions, our crazy habits and insane rituals.  Don’t criticize our elected leaders, our godmen, our religions, our ancient heroes.  Don’t question our policies or laws.  That basically sums up everything the Enlightenment and Scientific Revolution fought and overthrew in the last five hundred years to create the concept of a modern nation with secular laws and protecting individual freedoms.  

We don’t want Enlightenment here; we don’t want modern theories on freedoms here.  We don’t want anyone telling us how we should treat our women folk, or how we should apply rule of law, or how we should tolerate dissent.   We know better.  Because our scriptures, written hundreds of years ago, have all the answers to all the problems written down in a very small book that you can carry in your pocket.

Mr. Rushdie, why do you keep insisting that you will come to our country?  Don’t you know that we will ensure you will never land in this place?  We are the greatest country with third largest army in the world and we are ready to defend it against a puny individual like yourself.  When needed, we will coerce our local politicians and police to issue warnings, and send you death threats.  You are not safe here. 

Your presence will unnecessarily make our baby citizens grow up and we don’t want that.  So please stay away.  Don’t come here.  Don’t force us to abandon our pet theories on how Santa Clause comes to every home to give our presents, or how tooth fairy works wonders, or how Lord Rama built land bridges with the help of monkeys millions of years ago, or how we get 72 virgins when we go to heaven.

Thank you and stay away.


  1. To be fair, Indians (non-Muslim) and the government of India are not against Salman Rushdie participating in Jaipur literary meet. I understand that as a OCI card holder he does not need a visa to visit his birth country. It feels like the blog is putting the blame/guilt on all sections of Indians. Did I miss something?

  2. >>> Though we believe that our morals, dietary habits and family values are the 'greatest' on the planet, we also happen to be very peevish.


    I think it is better you your words.
    First and foremost, you lack guts to use words Muslim or Islam in your blog.
    Why you are including our religions (I stress the plural)?

    This all-Muslim conflict with no involvement of any Hindu groups/sections.

    >>> You may never understand this, but here in India, the land of the 'greatest culture'

    Greater part of this "greatest culture" is Indianism not Islam. Which has no objection to Salamn.

    Do not expose your hatred against a particular religion in the name of every event.

  3. @anonymous-why did he put emphasis on religions is that if you can recall artist late mf hussian portrayed sarasvati in her birth suit there was a lot of decry/moral panic from hindu groups and finally this leads to his exile till his death.
    so is the same case with rushdie.

  4. Sujai i like your blog even though i disagree on few points. we indians are super sensitive and take things emotionally and personally on public domain issues. we are afraid for healthy debates. same goes to T issue


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