In the Aftermath of Jaipur Literary Jamboree there has been lot of brouhaha about Salaman Rushdie & Co...Most of the Talks/Articles/Discussions have compared this to the miasma about M F Hussain's paintings. No One repeat not a single soul has tried to analyze the distinctions between these two Fiascos. I would begin with a caveat that I neither support any vandalism of the so called Artistic portrayal of Hindu Goddesses nor the fatwa of Deoband's against Rushdie. I took my time to respond as i wanted to familiarize myself with the epicenter of this brouhaha i.e. The Satanic Verses. This book is available in PDF form easily downloadable free of cost. There are certain major differences in the ground realities of these two fiascos.
1) M F Hussain a Muslim and an Indian citizen living in India, a Hindu majority (80% plus) nation painted Hindu goddesses in a manner that could cause hurt to the sensibilities of a large segment of the majority community.
2) Now to understand the situation better let us extrapolate the Names,Nation and Religion. Let us presume one Mr.M F Sharma living in any of the 57 Muslim majority nations creates a few portraits or writes a book that could hurt the religious sentiments of Muslims. The probability of this Mr. M F Sharma living till 95 would be extremely remote.
3) Mr Rushdie is an Indian Origin British national Muslim writer.He wrote a book supposedly lampooning Prophet and his wives. Most of it is Metaphorical and in the words of the author, the book is not about Muslims or Prophet. Rushdie’s interpretation of his book, is that “it was not about Islam, but about migration, metamorphosis, divided selves, love, death, London and Bombay”. He has also said "It’s a novel which happened to contain a castigation of Western materialism. The tone is comic”. Yet Government of India was the first State to Ban the book (Import and selling of it) most probably without anyone reading it. It was obviously a ‘Knee Jerk’ reaction to placate the Deoband like elements.
4) The State i.e. Government of India never banned M F Hussain’s painting.The people vandalizing paintings were prosecuted for criminal offence. The state did not Kow Tow the line of Sri Ram Sene.
5) Sri Ram Sene is a fringe body with no support from any of the mainstream groups. State has taken action against the so called supremos of Sri Ram Sene. Deoband is a lot more main stream Islamic organization and has following in the whole of South Asia and Middle East. All Indian Ulema & Mashaikh Board (AIUMB) a Sufi group, had alleged that seminaries like Darul Uloom Deoband get funds from Saudi Arab.
6) In the recent Brouhaha of Rushdie, state did “kow tow” to the Darul Uloom’s wishes of not allowing Rushdie step foot in India. Even his video link was not permitted in difference to the noise emanating from the Deoband Darul Uloom.
7) The commentators said that the state did not provide security to Mr M F Hussain. The senior most functionary of the state Union Home Secretary, GK Pillai, had said that MF Husain was free to come back and would be provided security if he requested it. No one caused him any physical harm,nor was he threatened with any Fatwa by any of the “Rightist” organizations. Certain cases were filed against him, Even this could be a despicable act yet perfectly within legal parameters. Several cases in Delhi High Court were dismissed in 1998. He migrated in 2006.
8) M F Hussain migrated to Qatar IN 2006. The Income Tax rate in Qatar is ZERO. .Mr Hussain struck a deal with Mr Guru Swarup Srivastav an industrialist to sell his 100 paintings for Rs.100 Crores in 2004.The total Income of Mr G S Srivastav’s company was little over Rs.One Lakh in the previous year as stated by IT authorities. Mr Guru Swarup Srivastav has been arrested several times and intensely investigated by Enforcement Directorate and IT authorities since 2005. Mr Hussain migrated in 2006 to Qatar. I do not know of any connection in these facts/ incidents.