British author of Indian descent whose bizarre characters, dark humour, and exuberant, melodramatic communicative approach explore historical and philosophical concerns in his allegorical works. The delicate theological and political topics he addressed made him a divisive figure.On June 19, 1947, British Indian novelist and author Sir Ahmed Salman Rushdie was born. His immediate family had a strong tradition of education.In India, he attended the Cathedral and John Connon School, while in England, he studied at Rugby School. Like his father, he attended King’s College and then Cambridge University for graduate school, where he earned a Master of Arts in History in 1968.Rushdie’s family was a moderate Muslim household, but he eventually abandoned their faith. Rushdie has described himself as a “extreme atheist.”
His publications and writing career:
Salman Rushdie’s works have been described as a blend of magical realism and historical fiction. The Indian subcontinent is the primary setting for his stories, which often deal with topics such as transcontinental migration and the events that occur between two ends of the world.
‘Grimus,’ Rushdie’s debut novel, was released to the public in 1975. The narrative followed an eternal Native American Eagle as he set out on a quest to discover the meaning of life. Rushdie spent over five years of working as a freelancing Ad writer before completing his second book, 1981’s Midnight Children.Rushdie’s third novel, the politically themed Shame (1983), was well received, but his fourth, the more controversial The Satanic Verses, was met with a different reaction. After its published work in the summer of 1988, the novel sparked outrage from Muslim community activists in Britain who denounced it as blasphemous because some of the adventures depicted a character modelled on the Prophet Muhammad and depicted him and his notation of the Quran in a way that they found offensive. Protests against the book reached Pakistan in January of 1989.
Fatwa against Rushdie:
AyatullahRuhollah Khomeini declared a “fatwa” or death sentence against Rushdie. After the main bookstores stopped stocking his book, Rushdie fled into exile. In protest of this book’s offensive portrayal of Islam, book burnings took place in many countries. Those who openly spoke out in support of Rushdie were targeted for death, and Rushdie himself became the punchline to countless jokes. Also, his first wife’s safety concerns led to the end of their marriage. However, Rushdie eventually remarried and was blessed with son by his new wife.Rushdie publicly apologised, converted to Islam, and then spent years in seclusion. Rushdie published another novel in 1990 titled “Haroun and the Sea of Stories.” His work “The Moor’s Last Sigh” was panned by Hindus as well. Published in 1999, “The Ground Beneath Her Feet” is set in a dystopian future.
Awards and recognitions:
Rushdie has had four marriages and two children from each. He was knighted in 2007 for his contributions to writing and now resides in the United States. After the backlash from the public release of The Satanic Verses, he wrote an autobiography about his life and released it in 2012. The death penalty against Rushdie has not been officially supported by the Iranian government since 1998, and the author has experienced increased freedom as a result. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the current Supreme Leader of Iran, famously claimed that the fatwa targeting Rushdie was “shot like a bullet that won’t settle until it reaches its target,” suggesting that the threat to his life was always present.