Whatever happened at the Jaipur Literature Festival is most shocking. It seems we haven't learnt from the past mistakes and that is why four authors chose to read from a banned book, an act that could have stoked the communal tensions. We love literature but not at the cost of hurting the sentiments of any community.
THE JAIPUR Literature Festival controversy is history repeating itself in the most grotesque manner. We haven't learnt from our past experiences. In the name of freedom of expression of the writer we are actually hurting and brutalising sensitivities - in this case that of religious minorities. When Rushdie's novel was banned it was done with an express purpose of not exacerbating tension when passions were running high in different parts of the world. Rushdie himself was in hiding for years and then as we all know the decree on him was lifted. Rushdie and the world sighed in relief. So did India. So did all of us, lovers of literature.
After the call of the Islamic scholars not to invite Rushdie for the Jaipur Literature Festival, there seemed to be a backlash of sorts with a defensible writer moving the Supreme Court to lift the ban on the book. Why did she choose such a time when the matter was embroiled in controversy? Why was she silent all these days? Was it not adding fuel to fire?
And why, pray did the four writers think it an opportune time to read excerpts from the book? When tact and prudence was needed we did it again. We have carved out a niche for animosity once again.