Provoking people is in my DNA: Rushdie
London, Dec 30: Author Salman Rushdie, who was once condemned to death by a former Iranian spiritual leader, has said that provoking people “is in his DNA”.
Rushdie’s fourth novel, The Satanic Verses (1988), was at the center of protests from Muslims in several countries. Some of the protests were violent and Rushdie faced death threats and a fatwa issued by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, then Supreme Leader of Iran.
According to Khomeini, he had portrayed the prophet Mohammed in irreverent terms – and by doing so had forfeited the right to life.
In response to the call for him to be killed, Rushdie spent nearly a decade largely underground, appearing in public only sporadically.
Now, while in his interview with The Telegraph, ‘The Enchantress of Florence’ author says he “can’t avoid making enemies.”
When asked why he provokes such dramatic reactions, Rushdie says he can``t avoid it, as if it`s somehow stamped on his DNA.
“There`s a quote by Robert Browning that I`m particularly fond of - "Our interest`s on the dangerous edge of things." Something in me, not consciously willed, takes me to those edges. But, at the same time, part of the nature of the artist, at least as I see it, is to increase – by however little – the sum total of what it is possible for us to understand. Nothing of great interest for me is done sitting safely in the middle of the room. You want to push the boundaries as much as possible. But I suppose if you do that then people are going to push back,” he said.