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Archive for January 24th, 2012

JAIPUR, India (AP) — An Indian literary festival canceled a video conference with author Salman Rushdie days after he called off a personal appearance due to protests and threats.
“Festival organizers decided to cancel the video address to avoid violence by Muslim activists gathered at the Jaipur Literary Festival, an organizer, Sanjoy Roy, said.
“We have been pushed to the wall. … Earlier today, a number of organisations came to us and threatened violence,” Roy said.
Rushdie said he called off his trip after police told him of a possible assassination threat. He planned a video conference instead, but Roy said the organizers had been threatened with violence if they went ahead with the video link.
Rushdie’s works include the Booker Prize-winning “Midnight’s Children” and “The Satanic Verses,” which some Muslims consider blasphemous.
Scores of protesters crowded the tent where hundreds of festival participants had gathered for the video conference.
The controversy over Rushdie’s attendance cast its shadow over the five-day festival, which was attended by tens of thousands of people who came to this city to see Oprah Winfrey and literary stars, such as Michael Ondaatje, Tom Stoppard and Tiger Mom Amy Chua.”
If India cannot appreciate freedom of speech or writers who have drawn their sap from the soil and who dare to break the narrow mold of do’s and don’t set down by some illiterate monkeys, shut down all the schools and spend the money to sing bhajans from temple grounds. If these anger the Muslim sentiments let the powers- that- be appease them with half the money. Fine example of secular India where the finest article of a free man to be shortchanged thus. Mind you these busybodies are those who take their orders from their masters in Saudi Arabia or in Tehran. If some Mad Ayatollah issue a fatwa they think archangel Gabriel had spoken and crush the man as a beetle!
I am ashamed at this cowardly appeasement. First it was MF Hussain and now it is Rushdie. This kind of cowardly spirit that makes Congress pretend as though it is a small matter( Demolition of Babri Masjid in 1992 to them was something of this sort)and during the hijacking of IC 184 from Nepal to Kandahar it was the BJP government(1999) who showed their yellow streak. Political parties serve their own compulsions of the hour and blow whichever way the wind blows. No wonder India shows it time and time again.
Tailpiece: China and India both aspire to the future. How different are they? China may tread on the corns of human dignity and say the Party has no need to apologize to anyone. The other Asian ‘giant’ kisses the feet of the man many times and praises him sky high even as the ground under his feet is cut off.
benny

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