SAHMAT extends invitation to Salman Rushdie
New Delhi: Alleging that the state exhibited a "cowardly unwillingness" in standing up to communal forces on Salman Rushdie`s India visit, artist-activist group Sahmat today extended an invitation to the controversial writer to attend a function in Delhi.
Sahmat said in a statement that they are ready to host the writer of the ‘Satanic Verses’ under any circumstances along with an exhibition of the works of late artist M F Husain, "who was driven into forced exile by a similar retreat" by the state in its cowardly unwillingness to stand up against communal politics".
Rushdie had to cancel his visit to Jaipur Literature Festival after Muslim organisations protested against his participation in the event.
"We have watched with dismay the unnecessary controversy which erupted over the presence of Salman Rushdie at the Jaipur Literary Festival.
"We strongly disapprove the threats -- real or concocted -- issued against Rushdie`s participation," art curator Ram Rahman said in a statement on behalf of Sahmat.
"We will host him under any circumstances along with an exhibition of the works of the late M F Husain, driven into forced exile by the similar retreat by the state in its cowardly unwillingness to stand up against communal politics,"
Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (SAHMAT) had previously defied an unofficial ban on Rushdie`s novel ‘The Moor`s Last Sigh’ by conducting readings from the text on the streets of Delhi in 1995.
"The state has once again succumbed to retrogressive forces using works of creative expression for their own narrow, partisan and divisive political agendas," Rahman said in the statement.