“Salman Rushdie must be handed over to British Muslims to be killed for committing blasphemy, and that would solve the problems between the United Kingdom and Iran,” recalls Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie in his latest book.
The 633 page book-Joseph Anton, a Memoir- is a story on Rushdie’s post Ayatollah Khomeini’s ‘Fatwa’ period and how he turned around after having lived under terror,losing his name and identity and had to move under cover to get going.
Khomeini had preferred the Valentine’s Day to issue ’Fatwa’ on the author of the Midnight’s Children.The author says that on this day,a BBC journalist had called him,informing he had been ‘sentenced to death’ by Ayatollah Khomeini, giving a ‘nasty’ surprise to Rushdie who heard the word ‘fatwa’ for the first time.
His ‘crime’ was writing ‘Satanic Verses’, which was accused of being ‘against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran’.
In the newbook he discusses how do a writer and his family live with the threat of death for over nine years? And yet how he managed to keep working;how he fell in and out of love during this period; how Fatwa impacted his thoughts and actions and how he learnt to fight back?
Published by Jonathan Cape, the book talks about the freedom of speech.It dwells on comic realities of living with armed policemen, and of the close bonds he formed with his protectors; of his struggle for support and understanding from governments, intelligence chiefs, publishers, journalists, and fellow writers; and most of all how he regained his freedom.
He also talks about one Nalini Mehta of New Delhi, whom he did not know, “but she was certain she knew him, not just socially,but pornographically, biblically”.