I have been thinking about it lately and thought of writing about it. I read a bit of Salman Rushdie while being here in DC. My first Rushdie book was the Midnight’s Children, that I read a few years ago in Pakistan. Magical realism being one of my favorite literary genres, I decided to read the forbidden book “Satanic Verses” by Rushdie. I always wanted to read it and see why were so many people offended by it back home. As it is banned in Pakistan I thought this is my chance to read that book and I picked up the book. I read the book and loved the way it is written. The writer has been extremely creative and left me in awe. I wish I could think his thoughts and write something equally amazing. Later on I did some informal research on the book and found out that a huge majority of the people offended by the book are the ones who have not even read it. It was very disappointing in the sense that people are so ready to believe what others tell them. Anyways the book is fiction and fiction can be anything the writer wants it to be. Its not historical so I don’t see any point in people getting offended by it. I loved the book for its literary merit and for its beautiful imagery and of course the language. I picked up ‘Shame’ by the same author and couldn’t help loving it.
Had I not been here I wouldn’t have been able to read the first book. I realized that regimes ban books with some critical, alternative ways of thinking to maintain the status quo and stop people from thinking logically or questioning things. The same thought led me to read another book about book burning. I have been thinking, what would happen if all the banned literature, media sites, print are unbanned and people are trusted with their adult choice to either read or access them and make their own opinion. It makes me sad thinking that we are not trusted with our adult choices and are not considered adult enough to think for ourselves and form our opinion about something and a standard, status quo maintaining choice (for the lack of a better word) is thrust upon us and we are expected to conform to that or we risk becoming ‘others’ and ‘deviants’. I wish we had a certain degree of freedom that would ensure we can make choices for ourselves.
I made the best use of my time here in DC by reading stuff that I was not allowed to read and forming my own opinion about it.