From The Oxford Companion to English Literature:
Rushdie, [Ahmed] Salman, (1947-), novelist and short story writer, born in Bombay to a Muslim family, educated at the Cathedral School, Rugby, and King's College, Cambridge. He worked for a time in television in Pakistan, as an actor in London, and as an advertising copywriter. Rushdie's bicultural upbringing informs all his work. He draws on the allegorical fable-making traditions of both East and West and is often classed amongst the exponents of magic realism—the narrative style in which the realistic mingles with the fantastic and the inexplicable. His first novel, Grimus (1975), was a fantasy based on a medieval Sufi poem and was followed byMidnight's Children (1981), the book that brought him to literary prominence and which won the Booker Prize. It tells the story of Saleem Sinai, born on the stroke of midnight on the day India was granted independence and whose life becomes emblematic of the political and social destiny of the new nation. In Shame (1983) the subject is Pakistan, the struggle between military and civilian rule, and the culture of shame and honour which oppresses women; the historical figures wear satirical and allegorical disguise, but the narrative is interrupted by direct autobiographical interventions from the author. The Satanic Verses (1988) is a jet-propelled panoramic novel shich moves with dizzying speed from the streets and film studios of Bombay to multicultural Britain, from Argentina to Mount Everest, as Rushdie questions illusion, reality, and the power of faith and tradition in a world of hijackings, religious pilgrimages and warfare, and celluloid fantasy. Certain passages were interpreted by some Muslims as blasphemous and brought upon Rushdie the notorious sentence of death, or fatwa, invoked by the Ayatollah Khomeini in February 1989, which obliged him to seek police protection. Haroun and the Sea of Stories, a novel for children about a boy-hero who has to combat the enemy of storytelling, Prince Kahttam-Shud, was published in 1990 (adapted for the stage at the National Theatre, 1998), and Imaginary Homelands, a collection of critical journalism and interviews, in 19921. In 1994 Rushdie published his first collection of short stories, East, West,which, written on the cultural cusp between two traditions, also confronts the conflicting claims of the real and the imagined. The Moor's Last Sigh (1995) is a dense and exuberant study of cultural and personal inheritance narrated in the first person by Moraes Zogoiby—the 'Moor' of the title—who ages at twice the normal rate.
From Michael Gorra in The Columbia History of the British Novel, ed. John Richetti:
Rushdie's novels are as keenly attuned as Naipaul's to issues of cultural fracture, of worlds and histories and values in collision. Yet his work suggests not a tragic awareness but a ready acceptance of the fact that cultures are never inviolate. "Perhaps we are all," he writes, "black and brown and white, leaking into one another . . . like flavours when you cook." Hence his gloriously ramshackle sentences, in which Bombay street slang flirts with Oxbridge English, a style in which, as in the poems of Baal in The Satanic Verses, "the demotic force[s] its way into lines of classical purity and images of love [are] constantly degraded by the intrusions of elements of farce." That style grows from Rushdie's attempt in Midnight's Children to use the English language as a way of imagining a from for India itself, "that 5000 year old country that has never before existed." But to do that he must first free English from its colonial past, remaking it into a new Indian language called Angrezi, the master's tongue appropriated for his own subversive purposes. Yet Angrezi's essential impurity contests not just the ideology of colonialism but that of India's "folkloristic straitjacket" as well. For Rushdie's refashioning of the language puts English at the heart of modern India's national identity in a way that challenges the nativist assumption that one can be perfectly non-Western. His style is an attempt to acknowledge India's heterogeneous history and complex heritage, to envision a structure in which all its multiple divisions of region and religion and language and caste can be contained. And his work as a whole stands as a model of what Mikhail Bakhtin calls the "dialogic" novel: a linguistic carnival, a polyphony of voices that turns all ideological certainties upside down, a quite literally heteroglot forum for an encounter not just between opposing characters but between different beliefs, languages, levels of discourse, and indeed whole cultures.
The Satanic Verses takes up such issues through its critique of the idea of cultural purity, the "terrifying singularity" of Islam, in a way that enacts within the novel itself the very storm that has grown up around it. It recasts Midnight's Children in terms of the individual migrant whom Rushdie takes as the emblematic figure of our times. Migration makes the self indeterminate. For the migrant has chosen to translate one identity into another, and in doing so has set out "to make himself up." What Rushdie suggests is that such postcolonial selves should actively choose the hand that history has dealt them. If for Naipaul mimicry is a sign of cultural violation, for Rushdie a self-concious mimicry becomes a way to shuttle between the hybrid selves of the postcolonial condition, to acknowledge that one lives in two worlds at once. And in that acceptance of discontinuity he sees not tragedy but liberation. It does not help the postcolonial man or woman surmount dependency so much as it denies its relevance, for without an ideal of culturl purity against which to measure the self, there can be no mimicry per se. Instead Rushdie posits a self that is rather like one of his own sentences, Indian and yet English too. And indeed he suggests that we all reject what Lawrence called "the old stable ego of the character" and learn instead to revel in its instability, even as we do in his style. The self becomes a pastiche, like the India Rushdie describes as "borrowing whatever clothes seemed to fit," a collage, a set of masks improvised for different occasions. It is the point at which the postcolonial and the postmodern coalesce.
Where Naipaul sees a cultural violation, Rushdies sees at least the possibility of freedom from an imprisoning authenticity. The pursuit of such an authenticity has led, in India, to the rise of linguistic and religious separatism on the one hand, and Hindu fundamentalism on the other. It has led, most famously, to the Ayatollah Khomeini'sfatwa against The Satanic Verses, to demands for its author's death, and to Rushdie's continued life in hiding. And in England it has led to the nativism of the National Front, with its cries of "Wogs out!" Throughout this chapter we have seen the ways in which English writers drew, blurred, and insisted on the lines of racial difference that separated them from the subject peoples of their empire. Rushdie's work challenges those barriers, and in doing so helps construct an identity for a kind of man or woman that Kipling could not have imagined. Along with several other writers of his generation—Timothy Mo, Hanif Kureishi, Caryl Phillips—he shows the ways in which it is possible to be English and yet not white. And that is even one of naipaul's themes in The Enigma of Arrival, an account of how he finally came to see himself at home in the chalk hills of Wiltshire.
"They have the power of description," a tiger-headed character in The Satanic Verses says of the white society in which he lives, "and we succumb to the pictures they construct." For seeing India, or Africa, or the Caribbean is indeed a way of ruling them. One consequence of the end of the British Empire is that they have started to describe themselves.
From Michael Wood's chapter, "The Contemporary Novel" in The Columbia History of the British Novel:
"London is full of short stories walking round hand in hand," the narrator says in Martin Amis's Money (1984). And not just London. The 1980s witnessed an astonishing rebirth of storytelling in British fiction. The stories might be desolate, or even insane, but there were plenty of them, and they were full of emotional or intellectual energy, untapped for generations while novelists attended to more serious matters. "Oh dear, yes," Forster had said, "the novel tells a story"—a regrettable necessity rather than any sort of challenge. What vanishes in recent British writing is the note of polite regret, to be replaced by a slightly febrile excitement: everyone has a story, always has had, what we are waiting for.
This shift cannot be attributed to a single writer, but if it could that writer would be Salman Rushdie, whoseMidnight's Children (1980) effected a massive, garrulous liberation in British fiction—the tall tales of Waterland, for instance, are scarcely imaginable without it. Rushdie himself declared his debt to Günter Grass ("he opened doors in my mind"), and wrote appreciatively of García Márquez, and has predictably been labeled a magic realist. The debts are real enough, but the label is misleading. Fiction for Rushdie, in Midnight's Children as in Shame (1983) and The Satanic Verses (1988) is a means of interrogating the real rather than celebrating its variety.
The central fable of the early novel, a telepathic generation of 1,001 children born in the first hour of India's independence in 1947, which is also the first hour of the partition of India and Pakistan, is a metaphor for missed possibilities rather than found marvels. They are the India that might have been, the promise that difficult midnight was unable to keep. This is what the narrator calls "the fantastic heart" of his story:
Reality can have a metaphorical content; that does not make it less real. A thousand and one children were born; there were a thousand and one possibilities which had never been present in one place at one time before; and there were a thousand and one dead ends. Midnight's children can be made to represent many things . . .
And again: "Who am I? Who were we? We were are shall be the gods you never had." That, despairing as it may seem, is the optimistic reading, and at other times Rushdie's generally cheery narrator has darker thoughts: "Midnight has many children; the offspring of Independence were not all human. Violence, corruption, poverty, generals, chaos, greed . . . I had to go into exile to learn that the children of midnight were more varied than I—even I—had dreamed."
India itself is imaginary for Rushdie, "a country which would never exist except by the efforts of a phenomenal collective will—except in a dream we all agreed to dream." But then the imaginary is not opposed to the real, it is a large part of it. Agreed dreams are just what countries are, India is exemplary but not exceptional, and Rushdie's later work, addressing the dictatorship in an imaginary nation that much resembles Pakistan, and the crazed redrawings of the world in which fundamentalisms of all kinds indulge, continues to mingle fiction and history, or rather to confront those two forms of narative with each other, revealing the (rather tawdry) novels that pass for historical fact, and the deep historicity of what seem to be wild imaginings.
The terrible fate of The Satanic Verses, banned in India and many other countries, burned by Muslims inBradford, England, announces the even worse fate of its author, sentenced to death by an outraged Iranian government, and at the time of this writing still living in hiding, with round-the-clock police protection. Such a situation confirms Rushdie's own darkest intuitions. In this sprawling and bustling novel, which takes us from Bombay to South London, from Argentina to Everest, a group of monsters, humans half-turned into tigers, demons, snakes, wolves, water buffalo, meet up in a hospital, and offer a simple explanation of their monstrosity. "They describer us," them monsters say. They: the others, the white, the normal, the officers of a homogenized culture. We might add: the tyrants, the bigots, all who care more for their own mythologies than for the discernible reality of others. "That's all. They have the power of description, and we succumb to the pictures they construct." We succumb. There is passivity here and Rushdie is implicitly arguing against it, but there is also a precise evocation of how description works when it becomes effective currency, or the only currency; how diffeicult it is to escape even the most fantastic and unlikely identity once it is firmly ascribed to you. And once someone has astake in the ascription.
Rushdie's fiction tells a story, but it allso tells the story's story; the narrator narrates his narrating. It could not be otherwise in a world so saturated with stories, and yet Martin Amis manages to go Rushdie one better. His Moneyis subtitled "A Suicide Note," and the idea, it seems, is that the narrator, the boisterous, violent, drunken, unlovable John Self, will be dead by the time we get to the end of the text. "You can never tell, though, with suicide notes, can you?" Amis writes in a preface, and sure enough John Self seems to survive, a beneficiary of life's kindness to bastards. But then within this rambling, pushy, often very funny tale, a tribute to Amiss's ability to find an English that is not mid-Atlantic but transatlantic, and amazing mixture of American slang and Britishsnot, there is tis writer, a fellow called . . . Martin Amis. Does he survive along with Self? What would Self have made of Flaubert's parrot?
Money is probably the strongest of all Amis's very clever novels, because the sheer nastiness of the central character fuels a seemingly inexhaustible wit. John Self on the tennis court, John Self trying (in vain) to rape his girlfriend, John Self exploring pornography, John Self throwing up in various choice locations—these are all set pieces that argue a kind of dark love for the horrors of the contemporary world, as if its very tackiness made it a candidate for affection. And the prose has fine, fulsome metaphors: "I am still a high-risk zone. I am still inner city."
My head is a city, and various pains have now taken up residence in various parts of my face. A gum-and-bone ache has launched a cooperative on my upper west side. Across the park, neruralgia has rented a duplex in my fashionable east seventies. Downtown, my chin throbs with lofts of jaw-loss. As for my brain, my hundreds, it's Harlem up there, expanding in the summer fires.
There are cities and cities, though. Glasgow is described in Alasdair Gray's Lanark (1981) as "the sort of industrial city where most people live nowadays but nobody imagines living." It would be hard to imagine. The gloom and drabness of Gray's Glasgow is paralleled only by that of the same city seen by his grimly amused companion James Kelman. Both Glasgows make Amis's sleazy London and Ne York seem perfectly pastoral places by comparison. Yet, gloomy as the scene is, it provokes some of the most stylish and imaginative writing to have appeared in Britain recently. Gray and Kelman, like Rushdie and Amis, are writers for whom literature exists; they don't hide their reading as a previous generation was wont to do. Indeed they flaunt their allusions with a carelessness that is the reverse of the pretention British writers have always so feared. "To be alone and without gods is death says Hölderlin," we read in Kelman's Dissafection (1989), "but Hölderlin was wrong and is a poor bastard . . . Fuck Hölderlin he's deid and buried." Lanark has a long mock note of its own "plagiarisms," runing from Anon and Borges to Xenophon and Zoraster. Hamlet is an influence, we learn, because it is a play "in which heavy-handed paternalism forces a weak-minded youth into dread of existence, hallucinations and crime." The story of Lanark, no less.
Apart from their Glasgow and their wit and their literayr resources Gray and Kelman are quite different; Gray an experimentalist, juggling time and tones, starting his book at a late stage of his story, placing his prologue in the middle, Kelman a sort of dour, demotic Kafka, dryly observing the follies of terminally bewildered people. Patrick Doyle, in A Disaffection, is a Latin teacher in a bleak school, worrying a little about his age, and Kelman's language catches Patrick's complicated awareness of his own comic status, the self-mockery amid the gloom: "He did not wish to dwell continually on the passing years. Here he was turning thirty years of age. Thirty years of age is regarded as a landmark, a watershed, a stage of departure. At that age Jesus Christ entered the teaching profession and Joseph K. worked out his guilt."
Fiction in these novels is not an alternative to history, it is a reading of history's failures, a mode of irony. From Rushdie's teeming India through Amis's hustling England and America to Gray and Kelman's northern dampnesses, the imagination asks us to think about what is missing from these worlds, what strange losses have occurred in what ought to be human. In a lighter though not less brilliant vein the early novels of Peter Ackroyd (and indeed Ackroyd's biographies of Eliot and Dickens) explore a similar question through travels to the past, whether in the impeccable Wildean pastiche of The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde (1983), the historical crime-world of Hawksmoor (1985), or the intricate literary fakeries of Chatterton (1987). It's not that the past is another country, as L. P. Hartley memorably said in The Go-Between. The past is our country, scarcely disguised, the angled mirror of our diffuse and distressed present.
Some works by Salman Rushdie
Rushdie, Salman. Grimus. Novel. London: Gollancz, 1975.
_____. Midnight's Children. Novel. London: Cape, 1981. (Booker Prize for 1981; Booker of Bookers awarded 1993)
_____. Shame.Novel. London: Cape, 1983
_____. The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey. London: Viking, 1987.
_____. The Satanic Verses. Novel. London: Viking, 1988.
_____. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. London: Granta/Penguin, 1990.
_____. In Good Faith. New York: Viking Penguin, 1990.
_____. Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991. London: Granta/Penguin, 1991.
_____. East, West. Stories. London: Jonathan Cape, 1994.
_____. The Moor's Last Sigh. Novel. London: Cape, 1995.
_____. Fury. Novel. London: Random House-Jonathan Cape, 2001.
_____. Shalimar the Clown. Novel. London: Jonathan Cape, 2005.
_____. The Enchantress of Florence. Vintage, 2009.
_____. Luka and the Fire of Life. Children's book. 2010.
_____. Joseph Anton: A Memoir. New York: Random House, 2012.
The Satanic Verses
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|The Satanic Verses|
First edition cover
|Genre(s)||Magic Realism, Novel|
|Media type||Print (Hardback andpaperback)|
|LC Classification||PR6068.U757 S27 1988|
|Followed by||Haroun and the Sea of Stories|
The Satanic Verses is Salman Rushdie's fourth novel, first published in 1988 and inspired in part by the life ofMuhammad. As with his previous books, Rushdie used magical realism and relied on contemporary events and people to create his characters. The title refers to the satanic verses, a group of alleged Quranic verses that allow intercessory prayers to be made to three Pagan Meccan goddesses: Allāt, Uzza, and Manāt. The part of the story that deals with the "satanic verses" was based on accounts from the historians al-Waqidi and al-Tabari.
In the United Kingdom, The Satanic Verses received positive reviews, was a 1988 Booker Prize Finalist (losing toPeter Carey's Oscar and Lucinda) and won the 1988 Whitbread Award for novel of the year. However, major controversy ensued as conservative Muslims accused it of blasphemy and mocking their faith. The outrage among some Muslims resulted in a fatwā calling for Rushdie's death issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, theSupreme Leader of Iran, on 14 February 1989. Although Rushdie himself has never been attacked as a result of the book's creation, extremists have attacked several connected individuals such as translator Hitoshi Igarashi(leading to, in Igarashi's case, death).
PLOTThe Satanic Verses consists of a frame narrative, using elements of magical realism, interlaced with a series of sub-plots that are narrated as dream visions experienced by one of the protagonists. The frame narrative, like many other stories by Rushdie, involves Indian expatriates in contemporary England. The two protagonists, Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, are both actors of Indian Muslim background. Farishta is a Bollywoodsuperstar who specializes in playing Hindu deities. (The character is partly based on Indian film stars Amitabh Bachchan and Rama Rao.) Chamcha is an emigrant who has broken with his Indian identity and works as avoiceover artist in England.
At the beginning of the novel, both are trapped in a hijacked plane flying from India to Britain. The plane explodes over the English Channel, but the two are magically saved. In a miraculous transformation, Farishta takes on the personality of the archangel Gibreel, and Chamcha that of a devil. Chamcha is arrested and passes through an ordeal of police abuse as a suspected illegal immigrant. Farishta's transformation can partly be read on a realistic level as the symptom of the protagonist's developing schizophrenia.
Both characters struggle to piece their lives back together. Farishta seeks and finds his lost love, the English mountaineer Allie Cone, but their relationship is overshadowed by his mental illness. Chamcha, having miraculously regained his human shape, wants to take revenge on Farishta for having forsaken him after their common fall from the hijacked plane. He does so by fostering Farishta's pathological jealousy and thus destroying his relationship with Allie. In another moment of crisis, Farishta realizes what Chamcha has done, but forgives him and even saves his life.
Both return to India. Farishta kills Allie in another outbreak of jealousy and then commits suicide. Chamcha, who has found not only forgiveness from Farishta but also reconciliation with his estranged father and his own Indian identity, decides to remain in India.
Dream sequencesEmbedded in this story is a series of half-magic dream vision narratives, ascribed to the mind of Gibreel Farishta. They are linked together by many thematic details as well as by the common motifs of divine revelation, religious faith and fanaticism, and doubt.
One of these sequences contains most of the elements that have been criticized as offensive to Muslims. It is a transformed re-narration of the life of Muhammad (called "Mahound" or "the Messenger" in the novel) in Mecca("Jahilia"). At its centre is the episode of the so-called satanic verses, in which the prophet first proclaims a revelation in favour of the old polytheistic deities, but later renounces this as an error induced by Shaitan. There are also two opponents of the "Messenger": a demonic heathen priestess, Hind, and an irreverent skeptic and satirical poet, Baal. When the prophet returns to the city in triumph, Baal goes into hiding in an underground brothel, where the prostitutes assume the identities of the prophet's wives. Also, one of the prophet's companions claims that he, doubting the "Messenger"'s authenticity, has subtly altered portions of the Quran as they were dictated to him.
The second sequence tells the story of Ayesha, an Indian peasant girl who claims to be receiving revelations from the Archangel Gibreel. She entices all her village community to embark on a foot pilgrimage to Mecca, claiming that they will be able to walk across the Arabian Sea. The pilgrimage ends in a catastrophic climax as the believers all walk into the water and disappear, amid disturbingly conflicting testimonies from observers about whether they just drowned or were in fact miraculously able to cross the sea.
A third dream sequence presents the figure of a fanatic expatriate religious leader, the "Imam," in a late-20th-century setting. This figure is a transparent allusion to the life of Ayatollah Khomeini in his Parisian exile, but it is also linked through various recurrent narrative motifs to the figure of the "Messenger".
LITERARY CRITICISM AND ANALYSISOverall, the book received favourable reviews from literary critics. In a 2003 volume of criticism of Rushdie's career, influential critic Harold Bloom named The Satanic Verses "Rushdie's largest aesthetic achievement".
Timothy Brennan called the work "the most ambitious novel yet published to deal with the immigrant experience in Britain" that captures the immigrants' dream-like disorientation and their process of "union-by-hybridization". The book is seen as "fundamentally a study in alienation."
Muhammd Mashuq ibn Ally wrote that "The Satanic Verses is about identity, alienation, rootlessness, brutality, compromise, and conformity. These concepts confront all migrants, disillusioned with both cultures: the one they are in and the one they join. Yet knowing they cannot live a life of anonymity, they mediate between them both.The Satanic Verses is a reflection of the author’s dilemmas." The work is an "albeit surreal, record of its own author's continuing identity crisis." Ally said that the book reveals the author ultimately as "the victim of nineteenth-century British colonialism." Rushdie himself spoke confirming this interpretation of his book, saying that it was not about Islam, "but about migration, metamorphosis, divided selves, love, death, London andBombay." He has also said "It’s a novel which happened to contain a castigation of Western materialism. The tone is comic."
After the Satanic Verses controversy developed, some scholars familiar with the book and the whole of Rushdie's work, like M. D. Fletcher, saw the reaction as ironic. Fletcher wrote "It is perhaps a relevant irony that some of the major expressions of hostility toward Rushdie came from those about whom and (in some sense) for whom he wrote." He said the manifestations of the controversy in Britain "embodied an anger arising in part from the frustrations of the migrant experience and generally reflected failures of multicultural integration, both significant Rushdie themes. Clearly, Rushdie's interests centrally include explorations of how migration heightens one's awareness that perceptions of reality are relative and fragile, and of the nature of religious faith and revelation, not to mention the political manipulation of religion. Rushdie's own assumptions about the importance of literature parallel in the literal value accorded the written word in Islamic tradition to some degree. But Rushdie seems to have assumed that diverse communities and cultures share some degree of common moral ground on the basis of which dialogue can be pieced together, and it is perhaps for this reason that he underestimated the implacable nature of the hostility evoked by The Satanic Verses, even though a major theme of that novel is the dangerous nature of closed, absolutist belief systems."
Rushdie's influences have long been a point of interest to scholars examining his work. According to W. J. Weatherby, influences on The Satanic Verses were listed as Joyce, Italo Calvino, Kafka, Frank Herbert, Pynchon, Mervyn Peake, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jean-Luc Godard, J. G. Ballard, and William Burroughs.Chandrabhanu Pattanayak notes the influence of William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell and Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita (influences Rushdie admitted to). M. Keith Booker likens the book toJames Joyce's Finnegans Wake. Al-'Azm notes the influence of François Rabelais' works. Others have noted an influence of Indian classics such as the Mahabharata and the Arabic Arabian Nights. Angela Carter writes that the novel contains "inventions such as the city of Jahilia, 'built entirely of sand,' that gives a nod to Calvino and a wink to Frank Herbert".
Srinivas Aravamudan’s analysis of The Satanic Verses was perceived by other scholars as hailing the book as a proof "demonstrating the compatibility of postmodernism and post-colonialism in the one novel." Aravamudan himself stressed the satiric nature of the work and held that while it and Midnight's Children may appear to be more "comic epic", "clearly those works are highly satirical" in a similar vein of postmodern satire pioneered byJoseph Heller in Catch-22.
The Satanic Verses continued to exhibit Rushdie's penchant for organizing his work in terms of parallel stories. Within the book "there are major parallel stories, alternating dream and reality sequences, tied together by the recurring names of the characters in each; this provides intertexts within each novel which comment on the other stories." The Satanic Verses also exhibits Rushdie's common practice of using allusions in order to invoke connotative links. Within the book he referenced everything from mythology to "one-liners invoking recent popular culture" sometimes using several per page. Chapter VII was especially noted by for such usage.
CONTROVERSYThe novel caused great controversy in the Muslim community for what some Muslims believed wereblasphemous references. Rushdie was accused of misusing freedom of speech. As the controversy spread, the import of the book was banned in India and it was burned in demonstrations in the United Kingdom. In mid February 1989, following a violent riot against the book in Pakistan, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Supreme Leader of Iran and a Shi'a Muslim scholar, issued a fatwa calling on all good Muslims to kill Rushdie and his publishers, or to point him out to those who can kill him if they cannot themselves. Although the British Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher gave Rushdie round-the-clock police protection, many politicians on both sides were hostile to the author. British Labour MP Keith Vaz led a march through Leicestershortly after he was elected in 1989 calling for the book to be banned, while Conservative MP Norman Tebbit, the party's former chairman, called Rushdie an "outstanding villain" whose "public life has been a record of despicable acts of betrayal of his upbringing, religion, adopted home and nationality". Meanwhile the Commission for Racial Equality and a liberal think tank, the Policy Studies Institute held seminars on the Rushdie affair. They did not invite the author Fay Weldon who spoke out against burning books, but did invite Shabbir Akhtar, a Cambridge philosophy graduate who called for "a negotiated compromise" which "would protect Muslim sensibilities against gratuitous provocation". The journalist and author Andy McSmith wrote at the time "We are witnessing, I fear, the birth of a new and dangerously illiberal "liberal" orthodoxy designed to accommodate Dr Akhtar and his fundamentalist friends."
Following the fatwa, Rushdie was put under police protection by the British government. Despite a conciliatory statement by Iran in 1998, and Rushdie's declaration that he would stop living in hiding, the Iranian state news agency reported in 2006 that the fatwa would remain in place permanently since fatwas can only be rescinded by the person who first issued them, and Khomeini had since died.
Violence, assassinations and attempts to harmRushdie has never been physically harmed for the book, but others associated with it have suffered violent attacks. Hitoshi Igarashi, its Japanese translator, was stabbed to death on 11 July 1991. Ettore Capriolo, theItalian translator, was seriously injured in a stabbing the same month. William Nygaard, the publisher inNorway, was shot three times in an attempted assassination in Oslo in October 1993, but survived. Aziz Nesin, the Turkish translator, was the intended target in the events that led to the Sivas massacre on 2 July 1993 inSivas, Turkey, which resulted in the deaths of 37 people. Individual purchasers of the book have not been harmed. The only nation with a predominantly Muslim population where the novel remains legal is Turkey.
In September 2012, Rushdie expressed doubt that The Satanic Verses would be published today because of a climate of "fear and nervousness".