THE SATANIC VERSES is
Salman Rushdie 's fourth novel, first published
in 1988 and inspired in part by the life of
In the United Kingdom, The
Satanic Verses received positive reviews,
was a 1988
The book was banned in the Republic of India as hate speech directed towards a specific religious group.
* 1 Plot
* 1.1 Dream sequences
* 2 Literary criticism and analysis
* 3 Controversy
* 3.1 Fatwah * 3.2 Violence, assassinations and attempts to harm
* 4 See also * 5 References * 6 Further reading * 7 External links
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
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 Gabriel 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 realises 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.
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Embedded in this story is a series of half-magic dream vision narratives, ascribed to the mind of 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
criticised as offensive to Muslims. It is a transformed re-narration
of the life of
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
LITERARY CRITICISM AND ANALYSIS
Overall, the book received favourable reviews from literary critics. In a 2003 volume of criticism of Rushdie's career, the 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.
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 and
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
Srinivas Aravamudan 's analysis of The
Satanic Verses 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 by
Joseph Heller in
The Satanic Verses continued to exhibit Rushdie's penchant for organising 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 to invoke connotative links. Within the book he referenced everything from mythology to "one-liners invoking recent popular culture".
Main article: The Satanic Verses controversy
The novel provoked great controversy in the
Commission for Racial Equality and a liberal think
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
In mid-February 1989, following a violent riot against the book in
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 HARM
With police protection, Rushdie escaped direct physical harm, but
others associated with his book have suffered violent attacks. Hitoshi
Igarashi , his Japanese translator, was stabbed to death on 11 July
Ettore Capriolo , the Italian translator, was seriously injured
in a stabbing in
In September 2012, Rushdie expressed doubt that The Satanic Verses would be published today because of a climate of "fear and nervousness".
In March 2016, PEN America reported that the bounty for the Rushdie fatwa was raised by $600,000 (£430,000). Top Iranian media contributed this sum, adding to the existing $2.8m already offered. In response to this, the Swedish Academy which awards the Nobel prize for literature denounced the death sentence and called it 'a serious violation of free speech', this was the first time they had commented on the issue since publication.
* Novels portal
* ^ A B John D. Erickson (1998). Islam and Postcolonial Narrative.
Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
* ^ A B C D E F Ian Richard Netton (1996). Text and Trauma: An
East-West Primer. Richmond, UK: Routledge Curzon.
* ^ Manoj Mitta (25 January 2012). "Reading ‘Satanic Verses\'
The Times Of India
* Nicholas J. Karolides, Margaret Bald & Dawn B. Sova (1999). 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. New York: Checkmark Books. ISBN 0-8160-4059-1 . * Pipes, Daniel (2003). The Rushdie Affair: The Novel, the Ayatollah, and the West (1990). Transaction Publishers. ISBN 0-7658-0996-6 . * Elst, Koenraad (June 1998). "The Rushdie Rules". Middle East Quarterly .