POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 15, 2012 AT 16:16 IST ,  Edited At: Sep 15, 2012 16:16 IST

Salman Rushdie to BBC Radio 4 Today on the recent protests in the Muslim world against a video clip posted on Youtube:

...means a number of things. In the case of Satanic Verses, it meant that we stood up for what needed to be defended and we managed to defend it. In a larger sense, it's more problematic. The events surrounding the Satanic Verses created a climate of fear that has not dissipated that makes it harder for books -- not even books critical of Islam -- books, anything about Islam, to be published.

This idea of respect, which is a code word for fear is something we have to overcome And I very much felt that what happened to me was a harbinger of many things that followed. And I think you can draw a direct line of connection from the entire Satanic Verses controversy to the 9/11 attacks, to the 7/7 attacks in England to what's happening today across the Muslim world -- this extraordinary thin-skinned, paranoid reaction to a piece of garbage, which any rational person would say, yes, that is a piece of garbage and we can ignore it...

Today presenter James Naughtie: You mean the film?

Salman Rushdie: ....this video or clip from an alleged film which may or may not exist. Any reasonable person would say, yes, that's crap, it's an ugly crap, and we should just dismiss it as unimportant and proceed with our day. But the idea that you react to that by holding an entire nation and its diplomatic representatives responsible, when they weren't remotely aware of, is ugly and wrong.

I think what we have to do is to insist -- all of us, all of us -- that the culture of this country is one of open discourse and the point about open discourse is that people will constantly say things you don't like. But if you can't defend the right of people to say things you don't like, then you don't believe in free speech. And often in the free speech lobby you find yourself defending things you detest. But you know there is no trick to defend stuff you agree with or stuff that particularly doesn't get up your nose. It's when somebody does something that you really despise and loathe, when somebody says something like that, that's when you discover if you believe in free speech.

And I think we do believe in free speech and maybe we need to stand up for it more clearly.

I think there is certain confusion. I think what happened in Libya -- the attack on the embassy, the killing of the ambassador -- may not have been related to this idiotic video but may have been a pre-planned Salafi attack, an indication of this is that the flag that was put out on the embassy in Libya is the flag that is very frequently used by Al-Qaeda. I think that's a different thing. I think that today is Friday and today across the Muslim world there is this absurdly hysterical protest about a piece of garbage that really needs to be named as such. And I think the Muslim world needs to learn that to react every single time to pathetic, deliberate provocation -- not even impressive provocation -- in this way, to believe that in the face of this minor, little pinprick that it is ok to attack property, to threaten people, maybe even take life, that is not acceptable. It is not acceptable, it is an ugly reaction and it needs to be named as ugly.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Sep 15, 2012 AT 16:16 IST, Edited At: Sep 15, 2012 16:16 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON May 06, 2012 AT 22:16 IST ,  Edited At: May 06, 2012 22:16 IST

And now the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, whose president Tajinder Pal Singh had violently assaulted advocate Prashant Bhushan last year, but has been active on Twiitter and Facebook with virulent outpourings, has now threatened to create a controversy over a song from Dibakar Banerjee's eagerly awaited forthcoming film, Shanghai:

On Thursday, May 3, @tajinderbagga tweeted:

We are giving open warning to Shanghai Directer to remove Bharat Mata Ki Jai Song from his Movie Shanghai.otherwise Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena ban/stop the movie in whole nation in Prashant Bhushan way. We strongly condemn the Lines
Bharat Mata ki jai
Sone ki Chidiya, DENGU,MALERIA
GUD HAI,GOBAR HAI
Bharat Mata Ki jai

And he's not stopped tweeting about it since. Watch this space as yet another controversy is sought to be created.

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POSTED BY Buzz ON May 06, 2012 AT 22:16 IST, Edited At: May 06, 2012 22:16 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 31, 2012 AT 23:43 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 31, 2012 23:43 IST

First, ABVP goons managed to prevent Sanjay Kak's documentary Jashn-e-Azadi from being screened at Pune's Symbiosis University — ironically known for its communications department. And then, today, the seminar that was proposed to be held instead, ‘Speaking about Kashmir ’, where the blocked documentary's maker Sanjay Kak was to speak, was also "postponed".

While the muscle-flexing by the BJP's student wing and Panun Kashmir was blatant, the university authorities now claim that they have not cravenly caved in to the ABVP fatwa -- they now cite, just as the organisers of JLF did, the fear of violence and the advice of Police of the ‘secular’ Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra , and claim that the seminar has only been "postponed" and not cancelled.

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Jan 31, 2012 AT 23:43 IST, Edited At: Jan 31, 2012 23:43 IST
POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 29, 2012 AT 18:59 IST ,  Edited At: Jan 29, 2012 18:59 IST

Amruta Byatnal reports in the Hindu

Symbiosis University has cancelled the screening of documentary filmmaker Sanjay Kak's Jashn-e-Azadi on Kashmir, after the right-wing student organisation, Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), raised objections to its ‘separatist' nature. The film was supposed to be screened at a three-day national seminar called ‘Voices of Kashmir' at the Symbiosis College of Arts and Commerce, organised in association with the University Grants Commission (UGC) on February 3, 4 and 5.

The organisation now wants the entire seminar cancelled, ABVP Pune unit Secretary Shailendra Dalvi told The Hindu on Saturday evening. “The content of the seminar, like the film, is anti-India, and against the Indian Army. We will not stand for anything that divides the country. Symbiosis has agreed to cancel the film screening, and we are giving them three days' time to think about the event, too,” Mr. Dalvi stated.

Read on at the Hindu: In Jaipur replay, university bows to ABVP film fatwa

 

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POSTED BY Buzz ON Jan 29, 2012 AT 18:59 IST, Edited At: Jan 29, 2012 18:59 IST
POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 11, 2011 AT 22:19 IST ,  Edited At: Aug 11, 2011 22:19 IST

It has been difficult not to be reminded of Satanic Verses since news items started trickling out —first, a few days back, about demands for a ban on Aarakshan and then, even more bizarrely, about actual bans being imposed in UP, Punjab and now AP — ruled respectively by the BSP, the Akalis and the BJP, and the Congress.

Needless to say, none of the worthies demanding or deciding on the ban have seen the film. In fact, they have been boasting on TV that they haven't.

Initially, when self-appointed spokespersons of various groups had got up to demand a ban on the grounds that the film was likely to be anti-reservations and therefore likely to lead to disturbances in law and order, cynics among us thought the film could not possibly have asked for a better publicity campaign.

One thought that bodies like the NCSC would be quietly told that their demands were outside their remit. The CBFC stand was exemplary and the fact that Mr Prakash Jha still decided to edit the "objectionable scenes" has more to do with the economics of film-making which make it necessary for film-makers bend to the politicians' unreasonable diktats than anything else. 

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POSTED BY Sundeep Dougal ON Aug 11, 2011 AT 22:19 IST, Edited At: Aug 11, 2011 22:19 IST
     
 
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