Artist: Salman Rushdie
Confronting Bodies: Indian Muslim Community
Date of Action: 1988
Specific Location: India
Description of Artwork: Salman Rushdie's novel "The Satanic Verses" addresses "... the foundation of Islam, Britain in the Era of Thatcherism, the Asian immigrant community and a variety of allied concerns..." (Jonathon Green, "The Encyclopedia of Censorship", pg. 269) The novel contains passages which the Islamic community claimed blasphemed Islam and the Koran.
Description of Incident: "... The Home Ministry order came in the wake of petitions from a number of representatives of the Indian Muslim community, including former union minister Khursheed Alam Khan and several members of parliament, requesting the government not to allow the book to enter the country because parts of it were offensive to Islamic sensibilities. "A government spokesman, stressing the ban was 'not intended to cast any aspersion on the literary merit of the book,' said the step had been taken from the limited point of view of avoiding trouble and communal tension... " "... Most of the critics of the novel make no bones about the fact that they have not read the book, but only its reviews - largely favourable ones from a literary viewpoint. They also have focused their attention on comments by the noted author, historian, and columnist Khush want Singh who... had vetted the book and deemed that it contained 'several derogatory references to the Prophet and the Koran and portrayed Muhammad as a small time impostor....'"
Results of Incident: The novel is still banned.
Source: Jagdish Bhatia, "India Bans a Novel of the Sacred and Profane", Far Eastern Economic Review, Oct. 27, 1988, Pg. 50-51
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