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Rooted in the sense of loss and alienation, Salman Rushdie's novels were a new light on the diasporic and immigrant life since its genesis. According to reports, during a literary event in New York, USA, the author was stabbed in the neck and abdomen. He was on ventilator for a few days, and may lose an eye. His attacker, Hadi Matar, has pleaded not guilty in court.
In the decades following the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988, Salman Rushdie has been subjected to threats and fatwa (legal opinion).
Who is Salman Rushdie?
- Ahmed Salman Rushdie was born in 1947 to a Kashmiri Muslim Indian family in Bombay during the British Raj.
- As a child, Rushdie lived in Bombay before moving to England. After graduating from Cambridge, Rushdie briefly lived in Pakistan with his family (who had moved there from Bombay, India) before relocating permanently to England.
- Rushdie's first work, Grimus (1975), combined elements of science fiction and fantasy and was generally overlooked by the public and literary critics. However, Midnight's Children (1981), his next novel, launched him into literary prominence.
- Although he has written 14 novels, The Satanic Verses is his best-known work, which was banned in a few countries and a fatwa was issued against Rushdie. The author has also published a number of short stories in addition to his books.
- Rushdie was knighted in the UK in 2007 for his contributions to literature.
- Five of his works have been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and he won the award in 1981.
- In his 2012 memoir, Rushdie explained that his father adopted the name Rushdie in honour of Averroes (an Andalusian polymath and jurist).
- In the summer of 1988, Muslim community leaders in Britain denounced The Satanic Verses as blasphemous after its publication.
- Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the spiritual leader of revolutionary Iran, publicly condemned Rushdie's book The Satanic Verses on 14 February and issued a fatwa against him; a bounty was offered for anyone who would execute Rushdie. Despite occasionally emerging unexpectedly in other countries, he was compelled to limit his movements under the protection of Scotland Yard.
- Although Salman Rushdie enjoys writing, he says he would have become an actor if his writing career had not been successful. As early as childhood, he dreamed of appearing in Hollywood films.
- Rushdie is a member of the advisory board of The Lunchbox Fund, a non-profit organisation providing daily meals to students in township schools in Soweto, South Africa.
- In 2010, Anwar al-Awlaki published an Al-Qaeda hit list in Inspire magazine that included Rushdie and other alleged individuals who insulted Islam.
- In January 2012, Rushdie was scheduled to appear at the Jaipur Literature Festival in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India. Later, however, he cancelled his appearance at the event and a subsequent tour of India, citing the possibility of being attacked.
- After filmmaker Roman Polanski was arrested in Switzerland in 1977 on charges that he drugged and raped a 13-year-old girl, Rushdie signed a petition calling for his release.
- Among Rushdie's many honours is the Aristeion Prize for Literature awarded by the European Union, the Premio Grinzane Cavour (Italy), the Writer of the Year Award in Germany, and many others.
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