Sir Salman Rushdie: Controversial Writer.................!!

Sir Salman Rushdie was born in Bombay (now Mumbai) on 19 June 1947. He is coming from a middle-class Moslem family. His paternal grandfather was an Urdu poet, and his father a Cambridge-educated businessman. 

At the age of fourteen Rushdie was sent to Rugby School in England. In 1964 Rushdie's parents moved to Karachi, Pakistan, joining reluctantly the Muslim exodus - during these years there was a war between India and Pakistan, and the choosing of sides and divided loyalties burdened Rushdie heavily.

Rushdie continued his studies at King's College, Cambridge, where he read history. After graduating in 1968 he worked for a time in television in Pakistan. He was an actor in a theatre group at the Oval House in Kennington and from 1971 to 1981 he worked intermittently as a freelance advertising copywriter for Ogilvy and Mather and Charles Barker. 

Rushdie has been married four times. He was married to his first wife Clarissa Luard from 1976 to 1987 and fathered a son, Zafar. His second wife was the American novelist Marianne Wiggins; they were married in 1988 and divorced in 1993. His third wife, from 1997 to 2004, was Elizabeth West; they have a son, Milan. In 2004, he married the Indian American actress and model Padma Lakshmi, the host of the American reality-television show "Top Chef". The marriage ended on 2 July 2007, with Lakshmi indicating that it was her desire to end the marriage.

In 2008 the Bollywood press romantically linked him to the Indian model Riya Sen, with whom he was otherwise a friend. In response to the media speculation about their friendship, she simply stated "I think when you are Salman Rushdie, you must get bored with people who always want to talk to you about literature."

Salman Rushdie is Honorary Professor in the Humanities at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was made Distinguished Fellow in Literature at the University of East Anglia in 1995. He was awarded the Austrian State Prize for European Literature in 1993 and the Aristeion Literary Prize in 1996, and has received eight honorary doctorates. He was elected to the Board of American PEN in 2002. 

As a novelist Rushdie made his debut with GRIMUS in 1975, an exercise in fantastical science fiction, which draws on the 12th-century Sufi poem The Conference of Birds. The title of the novel is an anagram of the name 'Simurg', the immense, all-wise, fabled bird of pre-Islamic Persian mythology. 

Rushdie's the next novel, MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN (1981), won the Booker Prize and brought him international fame. Written in exuberant style, the comic allegory of Indian history revolves around the lives of the narrator Saleem Sinai and the 1000 children born after the Declaration of Independence. All of the children are given some magical property. Saleem has a very large nose, which grants him the ability to see "into the hearts and minds of men." His chief rival is Shiva, who has the power of war. Saleem, dying in a pickle factory near Bombay, tells his tragic story with special interest in its comical aspects. 

The work aroused a great deal of controversy in India because of its unflattering portrait of Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay, who was involved in a controversial sterilization campaign. Midnight's Children took its title from Nehru's speech delivered at the stroke of midnight, 14 August 1947, as India gained its independence from England.

SHAME (1983) centered on a well-to-do Pakistani family, using the family history as a metaphor for the country. The story included two thinly veiled historical characters - Iskander Harappa, a playboy turned politician, modeled on the former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and General Raza Hyder, Iskander's associate and later his executioner. HAROUN AND THE SEA OF STORIES (1990) was written for children, and wove into the story an affable robot, genies, talking fish, dark illains, and an Arabian princess in need of saving. LUCA AND THE FIRE OF LIFE (2010), the sequel, told about the younger brother of Haroun, who enters into adventures in the World of Magic.

Rushdie won in 1988 the Whitbread Award with his fourth novel, The Satanic Verses. The story opens spectacularly. Gibreel Farishta and Saladin Chamcha, two Indian actors, fall to earth after an Air India jumbo jet explodes 30,000 feet above the English Channel. This refers to a real act of terrorism, when an Air India Boeing 747 was blown up in 1985 - supposedly by Sikh terrorist. 

Gibreel Farishta in Urdu, means Gabriel Angel, which makes him the archangel whom Islamic tradition regards as "bringing down" the Qur'an from God to Muhammad. "'To be born again,' sang Gibreel Farishta tumbling from the heavens, 'first you have to die. Ho ji! To land upon the bosomy earth, first one needs to fly. Tat-taa! Taka-thun! How to ever smile again, if first you won't cry? How to win the darling's love, mister, without a sigh? Baba, if you want to get born again...' Just before dawn one winter's morning, New Year's Day or thereabouts, two real, full-grown, living men fell from a great height, twenty-nine thousand and two feet, towards the English Channel, without benefit of parachutes or wings, out of a clear sky." (from The Satanic Verses) Gibreel Farishta and Saladin are miraculously saved, and chosen as protagonist in the fight between Good and Evil. 
In the following cycle of bizarre adventures, dreams, and tales of past and future, the reader meets Mahound, the Prophet of Jahilia, the recipient of a revelation in which satanic verses mingle with divine. "'I told you a long time back,' Gibreel Farishta quietly said, 'that if I thought the sickness would never leave me, that it would always return, I would not be able to bear up to it.' Then, very quickly, before Salahuddin could move a finger, Gobreel put the barrel of the gun into his own mouth; and pulled the trigger; and was free." The character modelled on the Prophet Muhammad and his transcription of the Quran is portrayed in an unconventional light. The quotations from the Quran are composites of the English version of N.J. Dawood and of Maulana Muhammad Ali, with a few touches of Rushdie's own.

The novel was banned in India and South Africa and burned on the streets of Bradford, Yorkshire. When Ayatollah Khomeini called on all zealous Muslims to execute the writer and the publishers of the book, Rushdie was forced into hiding. Also an aide to Khomeini offered a million-dollar reward for Rushdie's death. In 1993 Rushdie's Norwegian publisher William Nygaard was wounded in an attack outside his house. In 1997 the reward was doubled, and the next year the highest Iranian state prosecutor Morteza Moqtadale renewed the death sentence. During this period of fatwa violent protest in India, Pakistan, and Egypt caused several deaths. In 1990 Rushdie published an essay In Good Faith to appease his critics and issued an apology in which he reaffirmed his respect for Islam. However, Iranian clerics did not repudiate their death threat.

Since the religious decree, Rushdie has shunned publicity, hiding from assassins, but he has continued to write and publish books. THE MOORS LAST SIGHT (1995) focused on contemporary India, and explored those activities, directed at Indian Muslims and lower castes, of right-wing Hindu terrorists. THE GROUND BENEATH HER FEET (1999) was set in the world of hedonistic rock stars, a mixture of mythology and elements from the repertoire of science fiction. 

In FURY (2001) Malik Solanka, a former Cambridge professor, tries to find a new life in New York City. He has left his wife and son and created an animated philosophising doll, Little Brain, which has its own successful TV series. In New York he has blackouts and violent rages and becomes involved with two women, Mila, who looks like Little Brain, and a beautiful freedom fighter named Neela Mahendra. "Though Mr. Rushdie weaves his favorite themes - of exile, metamorphosis and rootlessness - around Solanka's story, though he tries hard to lend his hero's experiences an allegorical weight, Fury lacks the fierce, visionary magic of The Moor's Last Sigh and Midnight's Children." (Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times, August 31, 2001) In Newsweek (September 17, 2001) STEP ACROSS THIS LINE (2003) was a collection of non-fiction from 1992-2002. Most of its articles were written while the fatwa was in place.

After Rushdie was made a knight by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II in 2007, demonstrations broke out across the Islamic world. A government minister in Pakistan declared that Rushdie's knighthood justifies suicide bombing. THE ENCHANTRESS OF FLORENCE (2008), finished in the aftermath of divorce, was a historical romance about the mutual suspicion and mistrust between East and West, in this case Renaissance Florence and India's Mughal Empire. From 1982, Rushdie has played himself in several television films. In 2007 he appeared as Dr. Masani, a gynecologist, in Helen Hunt's comedy "Then She Found Me".

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