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 on Monday 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.