UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

The satanic verses and the occidentalism of Salman Rushdie Sobhan, Zafar 1995

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-ubc_1995-0408.pdf [ 2.71MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0087008.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0087008-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0087008-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0087008-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0087008-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0087008-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0087008-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0087008-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0087008.ris

Full Text

THE SATANIC VERSES AND THE OCCIDENTALISM OF SALMAN RUSHDIE by ZAFAR SOBHAN B.A.(Honours), Pomona College, 1992 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of English L i t e r a t u r e We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1995 © Zafar Sobhan, 1995 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of Edsusn u i T E E . f i T O R E The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date a 3 ( 5 ) 1 ^ 5 DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT T h i s p a p e r i s a n i n q u i r y i n t o t h e c r i t i c a l t e n a b i l i t y o f t h e p o s i t i o n i n g o f S a l m a n R u s h d i e a s b r o w n s a h i b a n d t h e c o i n c i d e n t r e a d i n g o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s an O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k o n I s l a m . The p a p e r o p e n s w i t h a n e x p o s i t i o n o f R u s h d i e ' s t h e m a t i c p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n a n d o f how i d e a s f r o m h i s e a r l i e r w r i t i n g a r e d e v e l o p e d i n t o a r e a p p r a i s a l a n d r e p o s i t i o n i n g o f t h i s i d e n t i t y i n t h e n o v e l . R u s h d i e ' s p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e s e t h e m e s a n d his., d e p i c t i o n o f L o n d o n a n d i t s B r i t i s h I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y , d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t he d o e s n o t i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e c o l o n i a l c u l t u r e a n d t h a t t h e p o s i t i o n i n g o f h i m a s b r o w n s a h i b i s u n t e n a b l e . The r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l a s O r i e n t a l i s t i s d e p e n d e n t on t h e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f R u s h d i e w i t h t h e W e s t . H a v i n g e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t t h e p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e a s b r o w n s a h i b i s i n v a l i d , t h e p a p e r p r o c e e d s t o d i s m a n t l e t h e r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l a s O r i e n t a l i s t w h i c h t a k e s s u c h a p o s i t i o n i n g a s i t s b a s i c p r e m i s e . H a v i n g d i s m a n t l e d t h e f r a m e w o r k o f O r i e n t a l i s m w i t h i n w h i c h t h e n o v e l i s u n d e r s t o o d , t h e p a p e r t h e n d e m o n s t r a t e s how s u c h a p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e a n d t h e d i s c r e d i t i n g o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s a n O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k o n I s l a m c a n be u n d e r s t o o d a s a r h e t o r i c a l d e v i c e c o n s t r u c t e d t o s u b v e r t R u s h d i e ' s a u t h o r i t y a n d t o o b s c u r e t h e a c t u a l c r i t i q u e o f I s l a m t h a t i s o f f e r e d i n t h e n o v e l . TABLE OF CONTENTS A b s t r a c t i i T a b l e o f C o n t e n t s i i i INTRODUCTION 1 C h a p t e r One I n d i a n I d e n t i t y i n R u s h d i e ' s W r i t i n g 4 I n d i a n I d e n t i t y i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s 7 B r i t i s h I n d i a n s 1 3 B a b y l o n d o n 1 6 C h a p t e r Two The B r o w n S a h i b 21 O r i e n t a l i s m 30 C h a p t e r T h r e e The G o d - s h a p e d H o l e 36 G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a 37 The Dream S e q u e n c e s 41 C h a p t e r F o u r I n t e n t i o n 51 C o n c l u s i o n 55 B i b l i o g r a p h y iii I s l a m c a n n o t be t h r e a t e n e d by t h e d i s c o v e r i e s o f a s t r o n o m y , s u c h a s t h e o b s e r v a t i o n o f new g a l a x i e s , b e c a u s e i t s v i s i o n i s o f a c o s m o s i n movement. T h r e a t s t o i t s a u t h o r i t y do n o t come f r o m o u t s i d e , b u t f r o m w i t h i n human b e i n g s . I t i s i m a g i n a t i o n a n d t h e i r r e d u c i b l e s o v e r e i g n t y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l w h i c h e n g e n d e r d i s e q u i l i b r i u m a n d t e n s i o n . A G a l i l e o c h a l l e n g i n g t h e a u t h o r i t y o f I s l a m m u s t be n o t a s c i e n t i s t b u t an e s s a y i s t o r n o v e l i s t , a S a l m a n R u s h d i e , a n d e x p l o r a t i o n o f t h e p s y c h e w i l l s u r e l y be t h e a r e n a o f a l l f u t u r e s e d i t i o n . — F a t i m a M e r n i s s i E v e n t h e s u n I l l u m i n a t e s o n l y w h at c a n r e c e i v e i t s l i g h t . - - A d o n i s A man h e a r s w h a t he w a n t s t o h e a r And d i s r e g a r d s t h e r e s t . — P a u l S i m o n INTRODUCTION What i s n o t e w o r t h y a b o u t t h e d i a l e c t i c o f t h e p r i n c i p a l d i s c o u r s e c o n c e r n i n g S a l m a n R u s h d i e ' s n o v e l The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s t h a t w h i l e a r e o p a g i t i c a a f t e r a r e o p a g i t i c a h a s b e e n w r i t t e n d e f e n d i n g t h e n o v e l u n d e r t h e b a n n e r o f f r e e d o m o f e x p r e s s i o n , t h e f r a m e w o r k d r a w n up f o r t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e n o v e l b y t h o s e who r e a d i t a s a n O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k on I s l a m h a s r e m a i n e d l a r g e l y u n c h a l l e n g e d . T h i s c o n t e x t u a l i z a t i o n o f t h e n o v e l a n d t h e p a r a m e t e r s w i t h i n w h i c h t h e n o v e l h a s come t o be u n d e r s t o o d h a v e r e c e i v e d l i t t l e c r i t i c a l a t t e n t i o n - - a n d t h u s t h e r e a d i n g o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s O r i e n t a l i s t a n d t h e c o i n c i d e n t p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e a s "brown s a h i b " h a s , b y v i r t u e o f r h e t o r i c a n d r e p e t i t i o n , g a i n e d w i d e s p r e a d a c c e p t a n c e . D i s t o r t e d I m a g i n a t i o n : L e s s o n s f r o m t h e R u s h d i e A f f a i r b y Z i a u d d i n S a r d a r a n d M e r r y l Wyn D a v i e s i s p e r h a p s t h e m o s t c o m p l e t e a t t e m p t to c o n t e x t u a l i z e t h e n o v e l a s an O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k on I s l a m . T h i s b o o k p o s i t i o n s R u s h d i e a s a w r i t e r f o r whom c u l t u r e s a r e p a c k e d i n a n h i e r a r c h i c a l o r d e r : e v e r y c u l t u r e i s w a l k i n g t h e i n c l i n e o f h i s t o r y , s l i g h t l y o u t o f b r e a t h , t r y i n g t o r e a c h up t o become l i k e t h e c u l t u r e o f m o d e r n i t y , t h e z e n i t h o f W e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n . (87) R u s h d i e i s p o s i t i o n e d b y t h e i r d i s c o u r s e a s a b r o w n s a h i b - - a n d The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s r e a d a s t h e p r o d u c t o f R u s h d i e ' s i n t e r n a l i z a t i o n o f O r i e n t a l i s t p r e j u d i c e s i n h i s a t t e m p t t o i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e c o l o n i a l c u l t u r e : I n h i s d e s p e r a t e a t t e m p t t o o b l i t e r a t e h i s i n d i g e n o u s i d e n t i t y a n d s u b m e r g e i t i n t o t h e E u r o p e a n s e l f , t h e b r o w n s a h i b s e e k s t o p r e s e n t h i s o r i g i n a l c u l t u r e a n d c i v i l i z a t i o n a s a p r e - m o d e r n e x t e n s i o n o f t h e c u l t u r e a n d c i v i l i z a t i o n o f t h e m o t h e r c o u n t r y [ . . . ] The l i t e r a r y e n d e a v o u r s o f t h e b r o w n s a h i b a r e t h e p r o d u c t o f t h i s g r a n d W e s t e r n p r o j e c t . H i s b r o w n c o l o u r 1 e n s u r e s t h e e a g e r n e s s o f many E u r o p e a n s t o l i s t e n t o h i s a u t h e n t i c v o i c e a n d t h u s h a v e t h e i r own p r e j u d i c e s c o n f i r m e d . (86) T h i s p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e i s t h e f r a m e w o r k t h r o u g h w h i c h S a r d a r a n d Wyn D a v i e s r e a d The S a t a n i c V e r s e s , w h i c h t h e y c o n t e n d " r e a d s l i k e a r e - r u n o f a c u l de s a c o f h i s t o r y . O r i e n t a l i s m " ( 5 ) . I n Be C a r e f u l W i t h Muhammad! S h a b b i r A k h t a r o f t h e B r a d f o r d C o u n c i l o f M o s q u e s a t t e m p t s t o o u t l i n e t h e i n t e l l e c t u a l p o s i t i o n o f h i s o r g a n i z a t i o n a n d o t h e r s t h a t w e r e u n i t e d i n t h e i r o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h e n o v e l . A k h t a r a l s o t i e s t h e n o v e l t o t h e h i s t o r i c W e s t e r n a n i m u s a g a i n s t I s l a m a n d c o n t e n d s t h a t "The p a r o d y o f Muhammad a n d t h e M u s l i m t r a d i t i o n i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s h a s c l e a r e c h o e s o f t h e w o r s t b r a n d o f O r i e n t a l i s t s e n t i m e n t " ( 8 ) . W h i l e A k h t a r w a v e r s b e t w e e n r e a d i n g t h e two c h a p t e r s o f t h e n o v e l t h a t p r i n c i p a l l y r a i s e h i s i r e a s p a r o d y o r a s R u s h d i e ' s r e v i s i o n i s t a c c o u n t o f t h e e a r l y h i s t o r y o f I s l a m , h i s a r g u m e n t a g a i n s t t h e n o v e l - - t h a t i t i s an O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k on I s l a m — r e m a i n s c o n s t a n t . I n a l e c t u r e d e l i v e r e d a t C o r n e l l U n i v e r s i t y on M a r c h 1 s t 1989, A l i M a z r u i mused: " i s S a l m a n R u s h d i e s i m p l y c o n t i n u i n g h i s b a s i c c o n t e m p t f o r h i s own r o o t s ? " (85) T h a t R u s h d i e p o s s e s s e s t h i s b a s i c c o n t e m p t f o r h i s own r o o t s i s a s s u m e d b y M a z r u i i n h i s l e c t u r e . M a z r u i a c c u s e s R u s h d i e o f c u l t u r a l t r e a s o n f o r h a v i n g w r i t t e n a n o v e l t h a t i s d i s r e s p e c t f u l o f I s l a m f o r t h e " t i t i l l a t i o n o f h i s W e s t e r n r e a d e r s " ( 8 6 ) . T h i s p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e a s b r o w n s a h i b o r c u l t u r a l t r a i t o r a n d t h e r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l a s a n O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k o n I s l a m i s s o w i d e s p r e a d i t h a s g i v e n r i s e t o a c o l l e c t i o n o f e s s a y s a n d a r t i c l e s - - T h e K i s s o f J u d a s : A f f a i r s o f a B r o w n S a h i b - - t h a t n o t o n l y p r o p a g a t e t h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g b u t t a k e i t a s t h e b a s i c p r e m i s e f o r t h e i r r e s p o n s e t o t h e n o v e l . T h i s p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e p r o v i d e s t h e f r a m e w o r k f o r t h e r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l a s O r i e n t a l i s t , a n d t h e r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l a s O r i e n t a l i s t r e i n f o r c e s t h e p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e , e a c h c o n c e p t v a l i d a t i n g t h e 2 o t h e r . I n t h i s p a p e r I h o p e t o d i s m a n t l e t h e f r a m e w o r k o f O r i e n t a l i s m w i t h i n w h i c h t h e n o v e l h a s b e e n u n d e r s t o o d , a n d t o c a l l i n t o q u e s t i o n t h e p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e a s b r o w n s a h i b . M o r e t h a n m e r e l y s h o w i n g t h a t t h e a c c u s a t i o n o f O r i e n t a l i s m t h a t i s made a g a i n s t R u s h d i e i s c r i t i c a l l y u n t e n a b l e , t h i s p a p e r i n t e n d s t o d e m o n s t r a t e how s u c h a p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e c a n be u n d e r s t o o d a s a r h e t o r i c a l d e v i c e c o n s t r u c t e d t o s u b v e r t R u s h d i e ' s a u t h o r i t y a n d t o o b s c u r e t h e a c t u a l c r i t i q u e o f I s l a m t h a t i s o f f e r e d i n t h e n o v e l . 3 I N D I A N I D E N T I T Y I N RUSHDIE'S WRITING The i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n i s a r e c u r r i n g theme i n R u s h d i e ' s w r i t i n g . I n " I m a g i n a r y H o m e l a n d s , " an e s s a y he w r o t e i n 1982, R u s h d i e e x p l o r e s t h e i d e n t i t y o f a n d c o n f l i c t s f a c e d b y I n d i a n w r i t e r s b a s e d i n t h e W e s t , a n d b y e x t e n s i o n , h i m s e l f : The I n d i a n w r i t e r , l o o k i n g b a c k a t I n d i a , d o e s s o t h r o u g h g u i l t - t i n g e d s p e c t a c l e s . ( I am o f c o u r s e , o n c e more, t a l k i n g a b o u t m y s e l f . ) I am s p e a k i n g now o f t h o s e o f u s who e m i g r a t e d [ . . . ] a n d I s u s p e c t t h a t t h e r e a r e t i m e s when t h e move seems w r o n g t o u s a l l , when we seem, t o o u r s e l v e s , p o s t - l a p s a r i a n men a n d women. We a r e H i n d u s who h a v e c r o s s e d t h e b l a c k w a t e r ; we a r e M u s l i m s who e a t p o r k . A n d a s a r e s u l t — a s my u s e o f t h e C h r i s t i a n n o t i o n o f t h e F a l l i n d i c a t e s - - w e a r e now p a r t l y o f t h e W e s t . (15) B u t R u s h d i e saw more t o m i g r a t i o n t h a n m e r e l y l o s s a n d d i s p l a c e m e n t - - f o r h i m t h i s t r a n s l a t i o n c o u l d be a m a g n i f i c e n t e x p e r i e n c e a n d c o u l d c r e a t e new p l u r a l h y b r i d i d e n t i t i e s : The w o r d " t r a n s l a t i o n " comes, e t y m o l o g i c a l l y , f r o m t h e L a t i n f o r " b e a r i n g a c r o s s " . H a v i n g b e e n b o r n e a c r o s s t h e w o r l d , we a r e t r a n s l a t e d men. I t i s n o r m a l l y s u p p o s e d t h a t s o m e t h i n g a l w a y s g e t s l o s t i n t r a n s l a t i o n ; I c l i n g o b s t i n a t e l y t o t h e n o t i o n t h a t s o m e t h i n g c a n a l s o be g a i n e d . (17) T h i s q u e s t i o n o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n was e x p l o r e d by R u s h d i e i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n t h r o u g h t h e c h a r a c t e r o f D r . Aadam A z i z , t h e n a r r a t o r S a l e e m S i n a i ' s g r a n d f a t h e r . The n o v e l b e g i n s w i t h t h e s t o r y o f D r . A z i z who r e t u r n e d f r o m f i v e y e a r s o f s t u d y i n g m e d i c i n e a t H e i d e l b e r g t o s e e t h e v a l l e y o f h i s b i r t h t h r o u g h d i f f e r e n t , t r a v e l l e d e y e s : " I n s t e a d o f t h e b e a u t y o f t h e t i n y v a l l e y c i r c l e d b y g i a n t t e e t h , he n o t i c e d t h e n a r r o w n e s s , t h e p r o x i m i t y o f t h e h o r i z o n " ( 5 ) . N o t o n l y d i d D r . A z i z s e e t h e v a l l e y d i f f e r e n t l y , b u t he f e l t t h a t t h e v a l l e y a l s o saw h i m d i f f e r e n t l y : " a s t h o u g h t h e o l d p l a c e r e s e n t e d 4 h i s e d u c a t e d , s t e t h o s c o p e d r e t u r n " ( 5 ) . The s t o r y o f D r . A z i z ' s r e t u r n f r o m H e i d e l b e r g , a n d how he i s f o r c e d f r o m t h e v a l l e y b y t h e d i s p l e a s u r e o f T a i t h e shikara, who h a s b r a n d e d h i m an o u t s i d e r , i s R u s h d i e ' s i n t r o d u c t i o n t o t h e q u e s t i o n o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n . The s t o r y c a p t u r e s t h e t e n s i o n w i t h i n D r . A z i z h i m s e l f , a s w e l l a s t h e t e n s i o n b e t w e e n h i m a n d t h o s e who c o n s i d e r e d h i m somehow l e s s I n d i a n due t o h i s W e s t e r n e d u c a t i o n . G i v e n t h e c o l o n i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e B r i t i s h a n d t h e I n d i a n s , t h e s e n t i m e n t s on b o t h s i d e s w e r e p e r h a p s u n s u r p r i s i n g . R u s h d i e t o u c h e s o n t h e q u e s t i o n o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n o n l y t a n g e n t i a l l y i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n , y e t t h e n o v e l ' s c o n s t a n t r e t u r n t o t h e theme o f I n d i a n n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y p r o v i d e s many c l u e s t o t h e d i r e c t i o n o f R u s h d i e ' s t h i n k i n g o n t h i s s u b j e c t - - w h i c h he w o u l d d e v e l o p more f u l l y i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . R u s h d i e ' s i d e a o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s p l u r a l , e c l e c t i c a n d h y b r i d - - a n d he s e e s I n d i a a s a n a t i o n f i l l e d w i t h e n d l e s s p o t e n t i a l a n d p o s s i b i l i t y . The c o n f u s e d p a r e n t a g e o f S a l e e m S i n a i (who i s h a n d c u f f e d t o I n d i a ' s h i s t o r y ) m i r r o r s R u s h d i e ' s i d e a s a b o u t t h e c o n f u s e d a n d h y b r i d n a t u r e o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y . The m i d n i g h t ' s c h i l d r e n t h e m s e l v e s a r e a m e t a p h o r f o r t h e p l u r a l i t y , t h e m u l t i p l i c i t y , t h e s u p e r a b u n d a n c e , a n d most i m p o r t a n t l y , t h e p o t e n t i a l o f I n d i a . I t i s t h e e n d l e s s p o s s i b i l i t y a n d p o t e n t i a l t h a t i s t h e p r o d u c t o f t h i s p l u r a l e c l e c t i c h y b r i d i t y t h a t d e f i n e s I n d i a f o r R u s h d i e . I n h i s t h i r d n o v e l . Shame. R u s h d i e o n c e a g a i n t o u c h e d on t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n t o t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t . I n Shame. R u s h d i e i s w r i t i n g a s t o r y s e t i n a l o o k i n g - g l a s s P a k i s t a n - - a n a t i o n t h a t he h a s come t o know i n s l i c e s - - a n d he r e c o n c i l e s h i m s e l f t o t h e f a c t t h a t " h o w e v e r I c h o o s e t o w r i t e a b o u t o v e r - t h e r e , I am f o r c e d t o r e f l e c t t h a t w o r l d i n f r a g m e n t s o f b r o k e n m i r r o r s " ( 6 9 ) . R u s h d i e a n t i c i p a t e s h i s own p o s i t i o n i n g a n d t h e a c c u s a t i o n s t h a t w i l l be made a g a i n s t h i s l e g i t i m a c y t o r e p r e s e n t t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t : 5 O u t s i d e r ! T r e s p a s s e r ! Y o u h a v e no r i g h t t o t h i s s u b j e c t ! P o a c h e r ! P i r a t e ! We r e j e c t y o u r a u t h o r i t y . We know y o u w i t h y o u r f o r e i g n l a n g u a g e w r a p p e d a r o u n d y o u l i k e a f l a g : s p e a k i n g a b o u t u s i n y o u r f o r k e d t o n g u e , w h a t c a n y o u t e l l b u t l i e s ? (28) B u t o n c e a g a i n , t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n , a n d h i s o r h e r c r e d e n t i a l s , r e m a i n s a t a n g e n t i a l a n d u n r e s o l v e d i s s u e . I n a d o c u m e n t a r y made i n 1987, e n t i t l e d t h e R i d d l e o f M i d n i g h t . R u s h d i e e x p l o r e d t h e n a t u r e o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y a s he u n d e r s t o o d i t , a n d e x a m i n e d w h e r e I n d i a h a d come t o i n t h e f o r t y y e a r s s i n c e i n d e p e n d e n c e : I come f r o m Bombay a n d a M u s l i m f a m i l y , t o o . My I n d i a h a s a l w a y s b e e n b a s e d o n i d e a s o f m u l t i p l i c i t y , p l u t r a l i s m , h y b r i d i t y . To my m i n d , t h e d e f i n i n g i m a g e o f I n d i a i s t h e c r o w d , a n d a c r o w d i s b y i t s v e r y n a t u r e s u p e r a b u n d a n t , h e t e r o g e n o u s , many t h i n g s a t o n c e . ( I m a g i n a r y H o m e l a n d s , 32) T h i s q u e s t i o n o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s one t h a t r e c u r s i n R u s h d i e ' s w r i t i n g . I t i s o n l y i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s t h a t he e x p o u n d s a f u l l a n d c o m p r e h e n s i v e p h i l o s o p h y o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y a n d i n d o i n g s o p r e s e n t s u s w i t h new ways o f u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d a p p r e c i a t i n g t h e p o s i t i o n a n d p e r s p e c t i v e o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n . 6 I N D I A N I D E N T I T Y I N THE SATANIC VERSES I t i s i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s t h a t R u s h d i e p u t s f o r t h h i s m ost c o m p r e h e n s i v e v i s i o n o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n a n d o f how h e / s h e i s b e s t u n d e r s t o o d . R u s h d i e i s h i m s e l f a W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n , a n d i t i s c l e a r f r o m h i s e a r l i e r w r i t i n g t h a t t h e q u e s t i o n s o f i d e n t i t y f a c e d b y W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n s a r e c e n t r a l t o h i s t h i n k i n g : To be an I n d i a n w r i t e r i n t h i s s o c i e t y i s t o f a c e , e v e r y d a y , p r o b l e m s o f d e f i n i t i o n . What d o e s i t mean t o be I n d i a n o u t s i d e I n d i a ? How c a n c u l t u r e be p r e s e r v e d w i t h o u t b e i n g o s s i f i e d ? How s h o u l d we d i s c u s s t h e n e e d f o r c h a n g e w i t h i n o u r s e l v e s a n d o u r c o m m u n i t y w i t h o u t s e e m i n g t o p l a y i n t o t h e h a n d s o f o u r r a c i a l e n e m i e s ? What a r e t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s , b o t h s p i r i t u a l a n d p r a c t i c a l , o f r e f u s i n g t o make c o n c e s s i o n s t o W e s t e r n i d e a s a n d p r a c t i c e s ? What a r e t h e c o n s e q u e n c e s o f e m b r a c i n g t h o s e i d e a s a n d p r a c t i c e s a n d t u r n i n g away f r o m t h e o n e s t h a t came h e r e w i t h u s ? T h e s e q u e s t i o n s a r e a l l a s i n g l e , e x i s t e n t i a l q u e s t i o n : How a r e we t o l i v e i n t h e w o r l d ? ( I m a g i n a r y H o m e l a n d s . 17-18) The mere f a c t t h a t R u s h d i e i s W e s t e r n i z e d a n d t h a t he w r i t e s a b o u t t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t f r o m t h i s p e r s p e c t i v e i s a c o m p l i c a t e d i s s u e f o r h i m . I n " I m a g i n a r y H o m e l a n d s " he s u g g e s t s t h a t h i s d u a l p e r s p e c t i v e a s b o t h a n i n s i d e r a n d a n o u t s i d e r t o I n d i a n s o c i e t y ( a s w e l l as B r i t i s h ) m i g h t p r o v i d e h i m w i t h i n t e r e s t i n g a n d i l l u m i n a t i n g a n g l e s o n t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n o f t r u t h a n d r e a l i t y , a n d he a r g u e s p e r s u a s i v e l y f o r t h e b e n e f i t s o f t r a n s l a t i o n . N e v e r t h e l e s s , h i s p e r s p e c t i v e o n t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t i s n o t a n u n c o m p l i c a t e d o r u n p r o b l e m a t i c one f o r h i m , a n d t h i s i s a n i s s u e t h a t he f e e l s t h e n e c e s s i t y t o f a c e w i t h i n a l l h i s w r i t i n g on t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t . I n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n a n d Shame t h i s t e n s i o n i s a l l u d e d t o t a n g e n t i a l l y , b u t n o t r e s o l v e d . I n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s , h o w e v e r , t h i s i s s u e o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n t a k e s c e n t r e s t a g e , a n d i s o n e o f t h e p r i n c i p a l t h e m e s o f t h e n o v e l . 7 I n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s • R u s h d i e a r g u e s t h a t I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s e s s e n t i a l l y p l u r a l a n d h y b r i d , a h o t c h - p o t c h o f many many d i f f e r e n t c u l t u r e s , some i n d i g e n o u s a n d some a l i e n . He a r g u e s t h a t I n d i a n c u l t u r e a n d i d e n t i t y i s a m e l a n g e o f , among o t h e r s , A r y a n , P e r s i a n a n d M u g h a l i n f l u e n c e s . T h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s an e l a b o r a t i o n o f h i s c o n t e n t i o n i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n a n d t h e d o c u m e n t a r y t h e R i d d l e o f M i d n i g h t • a n d a p p e a r s a s a p r i n c i p a l theme i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . I t i s t h r o u g h t h i s e l a b o r a t i o n o f h i s t h e o r y o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y , t h a t R u s h d i e i s a b l e t o o f f e r some k i n d o f r e s o l u t i o n t o t h e c r i s i s o f i d e n t i t y f a c e d b y t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n , w h i c h h a s l o o m e d i n t h e b a c k g r o u n d o f h i s p r e v i o u s w r i t i n g o n t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t . I n t h e n o v e l , we a r e f i r s t i n t r o d u c e d t o R u s h d i e ' s c o n c e p t i o n o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y v i a Z e e n a t V a k i l ' s b o o k o f a r t c r i t i c i s m : [ h e r b o o k was] on t h e c o n f i n i n g m y t h o f a u t h e n t i c i t y , t h a t f o l k l o r i s t s t r a i g h t j a c k e t w h i c h s h e h a d s o u g h t t o r e p l a c e b y a n e t h i c o f h i s t o r i c a l l y v a l i d a t e d e c l e c t i c i s m , f o r was n o t t h e e n t i r e n a t i o n a l c u l t u r e b a s e d o n t h e p r i n c i p l e o f b o r r o w i n g w h a t e v e r c l o t h e s s eemed t o f i t , A r y a n , M u g h a l , B r i t i s h , t a k e - t h e - b e s t -a n d - l e a v e - t h e - r e s t ? [...] She h a d c a l l e d i t The Only Good Indian. " M e a n i n g , i s a d e a d , " s h e t o l d Chamcha when s h e g a v e h i m a c o p y . "Why s h o u l d t h e r e be a g o o d , r i g h t way o f b e i n g a wog? T h a t ' s H i n d u f u n d a m e n t a l i s m . A c t u a l l y , w e ' r e a l l b a d I n d i a n s . Some w o r s e t h a n o t h e r s . " (52) The p h i l o s o p h y p u t f o r t h b y Z e e n a t ' s b o o k e c h o e s R u s h d i e ' s own w r i t i n g on t h e s u b j e c t . She e x p l o r e s t h e n a t u r e o f I n d i a n a r t , a n d t h r o u g h t h i s e x p l o r a t i o n comes t o t h e c o n c l u s i o n t h a t I n d i a n a r t r e f l e c t s I n d i a n c u l t u r a l i d e n t i t y , i n t h a t i t i s h u g e l y e c l e c t i c a n d m u l t i f a c e t e d a n d t h a t i t h a s b e e n b o r n o u t o f c e n t u r i e s o f c r o s s - p o l l i n a t i o n . T h i s i s n o t a p a r t i c u l a r l y d i f f i c u l t c o n c l u s i o n t o a g r e e w i t h , e s p e c i a l l y when one c o n s i d e r s t h a t I n d i a i t s e l f i s more o f a c o n t i n e n t t h a n a c o u n t r y 8 ( t h r e e c o u n t r i e s t h e s e d a y s t o be p r e c i s e , a n d t h a t ' s n o t e v e n i n c l u d i n g S r i L a n k a , B h u t a n o r N e p a l ) . I n t h e f i r s t p l a c e , a s R u s h d i e h a s i n f a c t p o i n t e d o u t i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n . I n d i a n i d e n t i t y v a r i e s f r o m r e g i o n t o r e g i o n - - f o r i n s t a n c e a G u j u r a t i n o t i o n o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y m i g h t be v e r y d i f f e r e n t f r o m a B e n g a l i o r a P u n j a b i n o t i o n , a n d m i g h t h a v e v e r y l i t t l e i n common w i t h T a m i l n o t i o n s o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y . N o t o n l y i s I n d i a v e r y h e t e r o g e n o u s o n t h e i n s i d e , a s a c o u n t r y s h e h a s b e e n s h a p e d by many d i f f e r e n t o u t s i d e i n f l u e n c e s , b e g i n n i n g w i t h t h e A r y a n c i v i l i z a t i o n w h i c h o r i g i n a t e d i n c e n t r a l A s i a ( o r c e n t r a l E u r o p e d e p e n d i n g on w h i c h h i s t o r i a n s y o u r e a d ) b u t was c e r t a i n l y n o t a c u l t u r e i n d i g e n o u s t o t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t . N e i t h e r M u g h a l , B r i t i s h n o r P e r s i a n c u l t u r e was i n d i g e n o u s t o t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t , b u t e a c h h a d a p r o f o u n d e f f e c t on t h e g r o w t h a n d d e v e l o p m e n t o f what i s now g e n e r a l l y a c c e p t e d a s I n d i a n c u l t u r e . The l o g i c a l c o n c l u s i o n t o t h e a r g u m e n t t h a t W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n s a r e somehow l e s s " I n d i a n " t h a n o t h e r I n d i a n s w o u l d be t o s u g g e s t t h a t M u s l i m c u l t u r e a s i t e x i s t s among U r d u s p e a k e r s i n N o r t h e r n I n d i a a n d P a k i s t a n a n d d a t i n g b a c k t o t h e t i m e o f t h e M u g h a l s , i s n o t t r u l y I n d i a n - - w h i c h Z e e n a t V a k i l p o i n t s o u t i s p r e c i s e l y t h e c r e e d o f H i n d u f u n d a m e n t a l i s m . M u s l i m s a r e no l e s s I n d i a n t h e n H i n d u s , r e g a r d l e s s o f t h e f a c t t h a t t h e y t r a c e t h e i r h e r i t a g e , c u l t u r e a n d r e l i g i o n t o r o o t s o u t s i d e o f I n d i a - - p f c o u r s e , t h e r e a r e some who w o u l d c l a i m t h a t p r e c i s e l y f o r t h i s r e a s o n M u s l i m s a r e l e s s I n d i a n t h a n H i n d u s , b u t t h i s i s , f o r t u n a t e l y , a m i n o r i t y p o i n t o f v i e w . We s e e t h i s c o n c e p t o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y r e c u r r i n g t h r o u g h o u t t h e n o v e l . The Hamza-nama i n t h e h o u s e o f C h a n g e z C h a m c h a w a l a b r i n g s u s b a c k t o t h i s p o s i t i n g o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y : The p i c t u r e s a l s o p r o v i d e d e l o q u e n t p r o o f o f Z e e n y V a k i l ' s t h e s i s a b o u t t h e e c l e c t i c , h y b r i d i z e d n a t u r e o f t h e I n d i a n a r t i s t i c t r a d i t i o n . The M u g h a l s h a d b r o u g h t a r t i s t s f r o m e v e r y p a r t o f I n d i a t o w o r k on t h e p a i n t i n g s ; i n d i v i d u a l i d e n t i t y was s u b m e r g e d t o c r e a t e a m a n y - h e a d e d , m a n y - b r u s h e d O v e r a r t i s t who, l i t e r a l l y , was I n d i a n p a i n t i n g . One h a n d w o u l d d r a w t h e m o s a i c f l o o r s , a s e c o n d t h e f i g u r e s , a t h i r d w o u l d p a i n t t h e C h i n e s e - l o o k i n g c l o u d y s k i e s [...] I n t h e Hamza-nama y o u c o u l d s e e t h e P e r s i a n m i n i a t u r e f u s i n g w i t h K a n n a d a a n d K e r a l a n p h i l o s o p h y f o r m i n g t h e i r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y l a t e - M u g h a l s y n t h e s i s . ( 70) T h i s theme o f t h e e c l e c t i c n a t u r e o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s e v e n a l l u d e d t o i n t h e p h i l o s o p h y p r o p o u n d e d b y Muhammad S u f y a n , t h e e x - s c h o o l t e a c h e r f r o m D h a k a , who r u n s t h e t h r i v i n g S h a a n d a a r C a f e : [ h e ] c o u l d q u o t e e f f o r t l e s s l y f r o m R i g - V e d a a s w e l l a s Q u r a n - S h a r i f , f r o m t h e m i l i t a r y a c c o u n t s o f J u l i u s C a e s a r a s w e l l a s t h e R e v e l a t i o n s o f S t . J o h n t h e D i v i n e [ . . . ] s e c u l a r i s t S u f y a n s w a l l o w e d t h e m u l t i p l e c u l t u r e s o f t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t - - " a n d l e t u s n o t p r e t e n d t h a t W e s t e r n c u l t u r e i s n o t p r e s e n t ; a f t e r t h e s e c e n t u r i e s , how c o u l d i t n o t a l s o b e p a r t o f o u r h e r i t a g e ? " ( 2 4 6 ) H e r e R u s h d i e shows how h i s p o s i t i n g o f t h e e c l e c t i c a n d h y b r i d i z e d n a t u r e o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s t i e d t o h i s r e p o s i t i o n i n g a n d r e a p p r a i s a l o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n . R u s h d i e r e j e c t s t h e p o l a r o p p o s i t i o n b e t w e e n t h e West a n d t h e E a s t - - b e t w e e n E n g l a n d a n d I n d i a — t h a t i s b a s e d o n t h e h i s t o r y o f c o l o n i a l o p p o s i t i o n b e t w e e n t h e two c u l t u r e s . R u s h d i e i s no a p o l o g i s t f o r t h e B r i t i s h R a j - - q u i t e t h e o p p o s i t e - - b u t he i n s i s t s t h a t W e s t e r n c u l t u r e , s p e c i f i c a l l y E n g l i s h c u l t u r e , i s now an i n t e g r a l p a r t o f I n d i a n c u l t u r e a n d i d e n t i t y . The p o s i t i o n i n g o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n a s somehow l e s s I n d i a n b y v i r t u e o f h i s / h e r W e s t e r n i z a t i o n p o s i t s a b i n a r y o p p o s i t i o n b e t w e e n E n g l a n d a n d I n d i a , w h i c h u l t i m a t e l y l e a d s t o a p r i v i l e g i n g o f t h e two h u n d r e d y e a r s o f B r i t i s h r u l e o u t o f a l l p r o p o r t i o n w i t h t h e i r t r u e i n f l u e n c e on t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t . I f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s e c l e c t i c a n d h y b r i d i z e d , h o t c h - p o t c h t o u s e R u s h d i e ' s own t e r m i n o l o g y , a b i t o f t h i s a n d a b i t o f t h a t , c o n s t a n t l y r e f a s h i o n i n g i t s e l f , d e t e r m i n e d l y p l u r a l i s t i c a n d n e v e r s i n g u l a r , t h e n why s h o u l d W e s t e r n i z a t i o n b e v i e w e d a s a n y t h i n g more t h a n o n e o f t h e i n f l u e n c e s 10 t h a t m i g h t go t o w a r d s f a s h i o n i n g a p e r s o n ' s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y ? A W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n i s no l e s s a t r u e I n d i a n t h a n a n U r d u s p e a k e r f r o m L u c k n o w s t e e p e d i n M u g h a l t r a d i t i o n s , o r a t r i b a l f r o m A r u n a c h a l o n t h e C h i n e s e b o r d e r , w h e r e t h e i n f l u e n c e s o f C h i n e s e c u l t u r e a n d h e r i t a g e a r e g r e a t l y i n e v i d e n c e . The n o t i o n o f someone b e i n g somehow l e s s I n d i a n due t o h i s / h e r c u l t u r a l i n f l u e n c e s , l a n g u a g e , b e l i e f s o r v a l u e s , i s d e p e n d e n t o n t h e p o s i t i n g o f a s i n g u l a r n o t i o n o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y , w h i c h i s p r e c i s e l y w h at R u s h d i e a r g u e s d o e s n o t e x i s t . T h i s i s R u s h d i e ' s r e s o l u t i o n t o t h e c r i s i s o f i d e n t i t y t h a t h a s p l a g u e d h i s e a r l i e r w r i t i n g o n , I n d i a . I n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s he h a s e l a b o r a t e d h i s c o n c e p t o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y , a n d u s i n g h i s e l a b o r a t i o n a s a b a s e h a s s u g g e s t e d a d a z z l i n g r e p o s i t i o n i n g a n d r e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n : Chamcha d e c i d e d t o g r i n a n d t h e n f i g h t b a c k . " Z e e n y , " he s a i d , " t h e e a r t h i s f u l l o f I n d i a n s , y o u know t h a t , we g e t e v e r y w h e r e , we become t i n k e r s i n A u s t r a l i a a n d o u r h e a d s e n d up i n I d i A m i n ' s f r i d g e . C o l u m b u s was r i g h t , maybe; t h e w o r l d ' s made up o f I n d i e s , E a s t , W e s t , N o r t h . Damn i t , y o u s h o u l d be p r o u d o f u s , o u r e n t e r p r i s e , t h e way we p u s h a g a i n s t f r o n t i e r s . O n l y t h i n g i s , w e ' r e n o t I n d i a n l i k e y o u . Y o u b e t t e r g e t u s e d t o u s . What was t h e name o f t h a t b o o k y o u w r o t e ? " (54) A l t h o u g h Chamcha h i m s e l f i s p e r h a p s n o t t h e b e s t a m b a s s a d o r f o r t h i s p o i n t o f v i e w , h a v i n g a s Z e e n a t p o i n t s o u t , s p e n t h i s e n t i r e l i f e d e n y i n g h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y a n d a t t e m p t i n g t o t u r n w h i t e , t h e a r g u m e n t i s R u s h d i e ' s . One o f t h e t h i n g s t h a t he f i n d s m o s t a t t r a c t i v e a b o u t I n d i a a s a c o u n t r y i s h e r c a p a c i t y f o r r e g e n e r a t i o n , t h e m y r i a d p o s s i b i l i t i e s t h a t r e s u l t f r o m h e r h y b r i d i z e d n a t u r e , t h e e n o r m o u s p o t e n t i a l f o r n e w n e s s a n d o r i g i n a l i t y i n t h i s c o n s t a n t r e c y c l i n g a n d r e n e w a l - - a n d he f i n d s t h a t t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n m i g h t t h e r e f o r e be u n d e r s t o o d t o be g u i n t e s s e n t i a l l y I n d i a n . He d o e s n o t s e e t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n a s a n i m i t a t i o n o f t h e c o l o n i a l i d e n t i t y , b u t a s 11 s o m e t h i n g new a n d e x c i t i n g — a p r i m e e x a m p l e o f t h e r e g e n e r a t i o n o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y o u t o f d i s p a r a t e o n e s . The W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n n e e d n o t be c o n s i d e r e d a mere i m i t a t i o n W e s t e r n e r ( a l t h o u g h i n t h e c a s e o f S a l a d i n Chamcha s u c h a d e s i g n a t i o n m i g h t be q u i t e a p p r o p r i a t e ) . R a t h e r t h a n l o o k a t t h e W e s t e r n i n f l u e n c e o n I n d i a n c u l t u r e t h r o u g h t h e p r i s m o f c o l o n i a l i s m — R u s h d i e s u g g e s t s t h a t how I n d i a n s h a v e t a k e n a s p e c t s o f W e s t e r n c u l t u r e a n d a d a p t e d them t o I n d i a n c u l t u r e r e f l e c t s t h e t a k e -t h e - b e s t - a n d - l e a v e - t h e - r e s t d e v e l o p m e n t o f t h e n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y . N o w a d a y s , I n d i a n s p l a y c r i c k e t a n d p u t m i l k i n t h e i r t e a w i t h o u t t h e s l i g h t e s t t r a c e o f s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s . T h e s e a c t i v i t i e s m i g h t h a v e b e e n i n t r o d u c e d t o t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t b y t h e B r i t i s h - - b u t t h e y a r e no l o n g e r f o r e i g n . The v a r i o u s l a n g u a g e s o f t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t t o o h a v e b e e n i n f l u e n c e d b y t h e E n g l i s h l a n g u a g e . I n many p a r t s o f t h e s u b c o n t i n e n t , one r e f e r s t o o n e ' s s u p e r v i s o r o r b o s s a s t h e incharge. I n a c o u r t o f l a w , t h e d e f e n d a n t i s r e f e r r e d t o a s t h e u n d e r t r i a l . I n d i a n s h a v e t a k e n a s p e c t s o f W e s t e r n c u l t u r e a n d l a n g u a g e , a n d a d a p t e d t hem i n t h e f o r m a t i o n o f I n d i a n c u l t u r e a n d l a n g u a g e s . T h e r e i s no c a u s e t o v i e w t h i s a d a p t a t i o n a s a n y t h i n g o t h e r t h a n I n d i a n . R u s h d i e i s a t t e m p t i n g t o d e m o n s t r a t e how a n I n d i a n c a n be W e s t e r n i z e d w i t h o u t b e i n g a b r o w n s a h i b who i d e n t i f i e s w i t h t h e c o l o n i a l c u l t u r e . 12 B R I T I S H INDIANS The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s , i n many w a y s , a c e l e b r a t i o n o f B r i t i s h I n d i a n i d e n t i t y , a n d b y e x t e n s i o n , t h e i d e n t i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n i z e d I n d i a n . R u s h d i e ' s i d e a s a b o u t how W e s t e r n i z a t i o n c a n c r e a t e a new a n d v i b r a n t s t r a i n o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y a r e r e f l e c t e d i n h i s d e p i c t i o n o f t h e I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y o f B r i c k h a l l . The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s a r e p o s i t i o n i n g a n d r e a p p r a i s a l o f B r i t i s h I n d i a n c u l t u r e a l o n g t h e l i n e s d r a w n up b y R u s h d i e i n h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f I n d i a n i d e n t i t y . I t d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t B r i t i s h I n d i a n c u l t u r e i s n e i t h e r i m i t a t i o n m a i n s t r e a m B r i t i s h c u l t u r e , n o r a d i l u t e d o r t a i n t e d ( a n d t h e r e f o r e l e s s e r ) f o r m o f I n d i a n c u l t u r e - - b u t s o m e t h i n g new a n d e x c i t i n g t h a t h a s g r o w n o u t o f t h e c r o s s - p o l l i n a t i o n o f b o t h . The B r i t i s h I n d i a n i d e n t i t y t h a t R u s h d i e d e p i c t s w i t h i n t h e p a g e s o f h i s n o v e l i s an i l l u s t r a t i o n o f w h a t he t a k e s t o be t h e l i m i t l e s s p o t e n t i a l a n d p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t d e f i n e s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y . I n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . R u s h d i e w r i t e s w i t h g r e a t s y m p a t h y a b o u t t h e t r i a l s o f t h o s e I n d i a n s f o r whom m i g r a t i o n t o E n g l a n d h a s meant n o t h i n g b u t l o s s a n d a l i e n a t i o n . He manages t o c o n v e y t h e s e n s e o f p a i n a n d d i s j u n c t u r e f e l t by t h o s e members o f t h e I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y i n B r i c k h a l l f o r whom E n g l a n d h a s b e e n l e s s o f a p r o m i s e d l a n d t h a n a h o s t i l e a n d u n f a m i l i a r B a b y l o n : E v e r y t h i n g s h e v a l u e d h a d b e e n u p s e t b y t h e c h a n g e ; h a d i n t h i s p r o c e s s o f t r a n s l a t i o n b e e n l o s t . H e r l a n g u a g e : o b l i g e d , now, t o e m i t t h e s e a l i e n s o u n d s t h a t made h e r t o n g u e f e e l t i r e d , was s h e n o t e n t i t l e d t o moan? Where now was t h e c i t y s h e knew? Where t h e v i l l a g e o f h e r y o u t h a n d t h e g r e e n w a t e r w a y s o f home? The c u s t o m s a r o u n d w h i c h s h e h a d b u i l t h e r l i f e w e r e l o s t , t o o , o r a t l e a s t w e r e h a r d t o f i n d . N o b o d y i n t h i s V i l a y e t h a d t i m e f o r t h e s l o w c o u r t e s i e s o f l i f e b a c k home, o r f o r t h e many o b s e r v a n c e s o f f a i t h [...] a n d w o r s t o f a l l , t h e p o i s o n o f t h i s d e v i l - i s l a n d h a d i n f e c t e d h e r b a b y g i r l s , who w e r e g r o w i n g up r e f u s i n g 13 t o s p e a k t h e i r m o t h e r - t o n g u e , e v e n t h o u g h t h e y u n d e r s t o o d e v e r y w o r d , t h e y d i d i t j u s t t o h u r t . ( 2 4 9 - 2 5 0 ) B u t w h i l e t h e n o v e l c h r o n i c l e s t h e d i s c o n t e n t o f t h e t r a n s p l a n t e d I n d i a n , i t i s a l s o a t t h e same t i m e a c e l e b r a t i o n o f t h e new i d e n t i t y t h a t must be f o r g e d o u t o f s u c h s e e m i n g l y i n a u s p i c i o u s s u r r o u n d i n g s . H i n d S u f y a n m i g h t bemoan t h e f a c t t h a t h e r d a u g h t e r s a r e n o t g r o w i n g up t h e way t h a t t h e y w o u l d h a v e d o ne h a d t h e f a m i l y r e m a i n e d i n B a n g l a d e s h - - b u t i t i s i m p o r t a n t t o p e r c e i v e w h at s h e d o e s n o t — t h a t t h e y a r e g r o w i n g up n o t a s i m i t a t i o n E n g l i s h w o m e n b u t a s B r i t i s h I n d i a n s , a n d t h a t t h e i r own p e r s o n a l i d e n t i t y a n d s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n i s i n t e r t w i n e d w i t h t h e i r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n a s s u c h . T h e y may n o t be I n d i a n ( o r s p e c i f i c a l l y , i n t h i s c a s e , B a n g l a d e s h i ) i n a n y way t h a t t h e i r m o t h e r c a n i d e n t i f y - -b u t t h e r e e x i s t s a c r u c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e m a n d t h e m a j o r i t y c u l t u r e . The S a t a n i c V e r s e s makes t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n c l e a r . The n o v e l p r o v i d e s u s w i t h a v i v i d d e p i c t i o n o f B r i t i s h I n d i a n l i f e a n d c u l t u r e a n d makes u s a w a r e o f t h e c r u c i a l f a c t o r t h a t b e i n g I n d i a n p l a y s i n t h e f o r m u l a t i o n o f s u c h an i d e n t i t y : M i s h a l h a d d e v e l o p e d t h e h a b i t o f t a l k i n g a b o u t t h e s t r e e t a s i f i t w e r e a m y t h o l o g i c a l b a t t l e g r o u n d , a n d s h e , on h i g h a t Chamcha's a t t i c w i n d o w , t h e r e c o r d i n g a n g e l , a n d t h e e x t e r m i n a t o r t o o . F r o m h e r Chamcha l e a r n e d t h e f a b l e s o f t h e new K u r u s a n d P a n d a v a s , t h e w h i t e r a c i s t s a n d b l a c k s e l f - h e l p o r v i g i l a n t e p o s s e s s t a r r i n g i n t h i s m o d e r n Mahabharata, o r , more a c c u r a t e l y , Mahavilayet. Up t h e r e , u n d e r t h e r a i l w a y b r i d g e , t h e N a t i o n a l F r o n t u s e d t o do b a t t l e w i t h t h e f e a r l e s s r a d i c a l s o f t h e S o c i a l i s t W o r k e r s P a r t y [...] Down t h a t a l l e y was w h e r e t h e B r i c k h a l l T h r e e w e r e d one o v e r b y t h e p o l i c e a n d t h e n f i t t e d u p , v e r b a l l e d , f r a m e d ; up t h a t s i d e - s t r e e t h e ' d f i n d t h e s c e n e o f t h e m u r d e r o f t h e J a m a i c a n , U l y s s e s E. L e e , a n d i n t h a t p u b l i c h o u s e t h e s t a i n o n t h e c a r p e t m a r k i n g w h e r e J a t i n d e r S i n g h M e h t a b r e a t h e d h i s l a s t [...] T h e s e d a y s t h e p o s s e s r o a m e d t h e n o c t u r n a l S t r e e t , r e a d y f o r 14 a g g r a v a t i o n . " I t ' s o u r t u r f , " s a i d M i s h a l S u f y a n o f t h a t s t r e e t w i t h o u t a b l a d e o f g r a s s i n s i g h t . " L e t 'em come a n d g e t i t i f t h e y c a n . " ( 2 8 3 - 2 8 4 ) The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s a s t r o n g s t a t e m e n t o f B r i t i s h I n d i a n i d e n t i t y . R u s h d i e , i n h i s d e p i c t i o n o f t h e i r c o n c e r n s , t h e i r r e a l i t i e s , a n d t h e i r m y t h o l o g i e s , d e m o n s t r a t e s t h e I n d i a n c o m p o n e n t o f s u c h an i d e n t i t y , o r , i n o t h e r w o r d s , t h e e s s e n t i a l l y I n d i a n n a t u r e o f s u c h a n i d e n t i t y . M i s h a l ' s d e c l a r a t i o n s a r e r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f R u s h d i e ' s v i s i o n o f B r i t i s h I n d i a n y o u t h , s e e m i n g l y d e r a c i n a t e d , b u t i n t r u t h f i e r c e l y l o y a l t o t h e i r own i d e n t i t y , t o t h e i r own d e t e r m i n a t i o n o f s e l f w h i c h i s a c e l e b r a t i o n o f t h e i r o t h e r n e s s — o f t h e i r I n d i a n n e s s — o f t h e i r n o n -w h i t e n e s s . M i s h a l i s a d e m o n s t r a t i o n o f how B r i t i s h I n d i a n y o u t h h a v e c a r v e d o u t an i d e n t i t y f o r t h e m s e l v e s t h a t i s a n y t h i n g b u t a d e n i a l o f t h e i r r a c e a n d r o o t s — a n i d e n t i t y , i n f a c t , t h a t i s d e e p l y c o n n e c t e d t o t h e i r r a c e a n d t h e i r r o o t s . T h e r e i s more t h a n one way o f b e i n g a n I n d i a n — t h i s i s o n e o f t h e c e n t r a l t h e m e s o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s w h i c h r e c u r s a g a i n a n d a g a i n i n t h e t e x t - - a n d c h a r a c t e r s s u c h a s M i s h a l S u f y a n o r H a n i f J o h n s o n o r t h e D J P i n k w a l l a or. e v e n Jumpy J o s h i hammer home t h i s p o i n t o f R u s h d i e ' s . T h e y a r e t h e p e r f e c t e x a m p l e o f w h a t he i s t a l k i n g a b o u t - - a new b r e e d o f I n d i a n - - j u s t a s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y h a s c o n s t a n t l y r e n e w e d a n d r e f a s h i o n e d i t s e l f , a n d i s d o i n g s o , a n d h a s b e e n d o i n g s o c o n s t a n t l y a n d e n d l e s s l y , s o t h e s e B r i t i s h I n d i a n s a r e an e x a m p l e o f t h a t c a p a c i t y f o r e n e w a l a n d r e g e n e r a t i o n . T h i s d e p i c t i o n o f B r i t i s h I n d i a n l i f e a n d i d e n t i t y a n d c u l t u r e makes R u s h d i e ' s p o i n t t h a t new f r a m e w o r k s n e e d t o be d r a w n up u n d e r s t a n d t h i s i d e n t i t y - - a n d t h a t t o m e r e l y d i m i s s i t a s a n i m i t a t i o n o f W e s t e r n i d e n t i t y w o u l d be a c r u d e s i m p l i f i c a t i o n w h i c h w o u l d n o t c a p t u r e t h e e s s e n t i a l I n d i a n n e s s o f s u c h an i d e n t i t y . 15 BABYLONDON Rushdie has been accused of b e i n g a brown s a h i b — a n I n d i a n who i d e n t i f i e s w i t h the c o l o n i a l c u l t u r e . The a c c u s a t i o n made a g a i n s t him by c o u n t l e s s c r i t i c s (some of whom I have mentioned by name e a r l i e r ) i s t h a t he i s n o t h i n g more than the A n g l i c i z e d I n d i a n imagined by Macaulay i n h i s Minute on I n d i a n E d u c a t i o n : We must at p r e s e n t do our b e s t t o form a c l a s s who may be i n t e r p r e t e r s between us and the m i l l i o n s whom we govern; a c l a s s of persons, I n d i a n i n b l o o d and c o l o u r , but E n g l i s h i n t a s t e , i n o p i n i o n , i n morals, and i n i n t e l l e c t . (Sardar and Wyn Dav i e s , 77) L e a v i n g a s i d e the f a c t t h a t t h i s a c c u s a t i o n a g a i n s t Rushdie i s dependant on the acceptance of Macaulay's b e l i e f t h a t t h e r e e x i s t such t h i n g s as E n g l i s h morals and i n t e l l e c t (as opposed, presumably, t o I n d i a n o n e s ) — we p e r c e i v e t h a t Rushdie i s b e i n g accused of i n t e r n a l i z i n g , and i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s r e p r o d u c i n g , the p r e j u d i c e s of the c o l o n i a l c u l t u r e w i t h r e g a r d t o h i s own. In o t h e r words, Rushdie has been accused of p a r r o t i n g the c o l o n i a l i s t p a r t y l i n e w i t h r e g a r d t o the s u p e r i o r i t y of Western c i v i l i z a t i o n and c u l t u r e over t h a t of the E a s t : Because Rushdie i s a brown s a h i b h i s Western r e a d e r s assume he g i v e s them a r t i s t i c t r u t h s u p e r i o r t o the Western p r e o c c u p a t i o n w i t h the O r i e n t . I t takes knowledge of the c o n t e x t , the d i v e r s i t y of the O r i e n t , the wealth and meaning of i t s t r a d i t i o n and h i s t o r y , t o a s s e s s i t s r e a l worth. When examined thus Rushdie emerges as l i t t l e more than the d i s t o r t e d i m a g i n a t i o n w r i t l a r g e [ . . . ] The l o g i c of the brown s a h i b r e q u i r e s d e s t r u c t i o n ; i t s t o o l s are c o n s t a n t r e j e c t i o n , a b n e g a t i o n and d e n i g r a t i o n of i n d i g e n o u s t r a d i t i o n , as a p o s i t i v e means of a c h i e v i n g the end they a c c e p t as good. The o b j e c t i v e i s the remaking of the non-West i n the image of the West. (Sardar and Wyn Dav i e s , 141 & 271 ) These are s e r i o u s a c c u s a t i o n s to make a g a i n s t a . p o s t - c o l o n i a l w r i t e r . I 16 h o p e t o e s t a b l i s h t h a t a c l o s e c o n t e x t u a l r e a d i n g o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t t o a c c u s e R u s h d i e o f p r o p a g a t i n g t h e r e m a k i n g o f t h e n o n - W e s t i n t h e i m a g e o f t h e West i s l u d i c r o u s . S u c h a p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e p r e - s u p p o s e s h i s b e l i e f i n t h e s u p e r i o r i t y o f t h e West t o t h e E a s t - - a b e l i e f t h a t t h e t e x t o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s d e m o n s t r a t e s i s p a t e n t l y u n t e n a b l e . The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s a t l e a s t a s s t r o n g l y c r i t i c a l o f t h e W e s t , a n d i n p a r t i c u l a r , o f E n g l a n d , t h e i m p e r i a l c e n t r e , a s i t i s o f r e l i g i o u s a b s o l u t i s m . I n t h e n o v e l , R u s h d i e e l a b o r a t e s o n many o f t h e c o n c e r n s t h a t he h a d r a i s e d w i t h r e g a r d t o E n g l a n d a s a n e s s a y i s t a n d s o c i a l c r i t i c t h r o u g h o u t t h e n i n e t e e n e i g h t i e s . E s s a y s s u c h a s "The New E m p i r e W i t h i n B r i t a i n , " "An U n i m p o r t a n t F i r e , " a n d " O u t s i d e t h e W h a l e , " w h i c h a r e r e p r o d u c e d i n I m a g i n a r y H o m e l a n d s . i n t r o d u c e t h e t h e m e s t h a t R u s h d i e w o u l d d e v e l o p The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . I n t h e s e e s s a y s , R u s h d i e t a k e s E n g l i s h c u l t u r e t o p i e c e s f o r w hat he r e f e r s t o a s i t s n e o -c o l o n i a l , n e o - i m p e r i a l i s t v a l u e s . He a r g u e s t h a t B r i t i s h r a c i s m h a s c r e a t e d a new e m p i r e w i t h i n B r i t a i n , a n d t h a t t h i s r a c i s m i s i n f a c t l i t t l e more t h a n a r e n e w a l o f B r i t i s h c o l o n i a l a t t i t u d e s t o w a r d s t h e r a c e s t h e y h a d c o l o n i z e d f o r c e n t u r i e s . R u s h d i e a l s o e x p r e s s e s c o n c e r n a b o u t t h e r a c i s m t h a t d o m i n a t e s t h e B r i t i s h p o l i c e a n d i m m i g r a t i o n a u t h o r i t i e s , a n d s u g g e s t s t h a t t h e s e a t t i t u d e s n o t o n l y r e f l e c t t h e a t t i t u d e o f m a i n s t r e a m E n g l a n d t o w a r d s p e o p l e o f o t h e r r a c e s b u t a r e , i n f a c t , o f f i c i a l l y s a n c t i o n e d . And l a s t l y , h i s e s s a y s a r e s t r o n g d e n u n c i a t i o n s o f t h e g r e e d , i n e q u a l i t y a n d i n j u s t i c e t h a t i n h i s j u d g m e n t p e r v a d e s l i f e i n B r i t a i n . T h e s e t h e m e s a r e a l l t o be f o u n d a t t h e h e a r t o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . a n d t h e n o v e l c a n be u n d e r s t o o d a s a s c a t h i n g a t t a c k o n a l l t h a t i s c o r r u p t a n d w r o n g w i t h B r i t i s h c i v i l i z a t i o n a n d c u l t u r e . R u s h d i e i n t r o d u c e s h i s theme o f o f f i c i a l l y s a n c t i o n e d r a c i s m i n t h e o p e n i n g p a g e s o f t h e n o v e l . H i s f i r s t r e f e r e n c e i s n o t h i n g more t h a n a n a s i d e : 17 A l s o — f o r t h e r e h a d b e e n more t h a n a f e w m i g r a n t s a b o a r d , y e s , q u i t e a q u a n t i t y o f w i v e s who h a d b e e n g r i l l e d b y r e a s o n a b l e , d o i n g - t h e i r - j o b o f f i c i a l s a b o u t t h e l e n g t h o f a n d d i s t i n g u i s h i n g m o l e s u p o n t h e i r h u s b a n d s ' g e n i t a l i a , a s u f f i c i e n c y o f c h i l d r e n u p o n whose l e g i t i m a c y t h e B r i t i s h g o v e r n m e n t h a d c a s t i t s e v e r - r e a s o n a b l e d o u b t s . (4) F r o m t h e v e r y o p e n i n g , we p e r c e i v e t h a t t h e n o v e l i s t o be a h a t t a c k on B r i t i s h r a c i s m . R u s h d i e i n t r o d u c e s t h i s theme b y a l l u d i n g , a l m o s t i n p a s s i n g , t o t h e a p p a l l i n g t r e a t m e n t m e t e d o u t b y i m m i g r a t i o n a u t h o r i t i e s t o m i g r a n t s t r a v e l l i n g t o be r e u n i t e d w i t h t h e i r f a m i l i e s . The c a s u a l , a l m o s t o f f - h a n d , a n d c e r t a i n l y i r o n i c t o n e i n w h i c h he m e n t i o n s t h e s e i n c i d e n t s r e i n f o r c e s h i s p o i n t t h a t s u c h o c c u r r e n c e s a r e n o t h i n g u n u s u a l , a n d s u g g e s t s t h e p e r v a s i v e n e s s o f r a c i s t a t t i t u d e s . The b r u t a l i t y o f t h e i m m i g r a t i o n a u t h o r i t i e s i s e l a b o r a t e d i n h i s d e p i c t i o n o f t h e t r e a t m e n t o f S a l a d i n Chamcha a t t h e i r h a n d s . A f t e r he i s a r r e s t e d f o r i l l e g a l e n t r y i n t o c o u n t r y ( i n i t s e l f an i r o n y - - t h e p l a n e he was i n i s b l o w n up b y a t e r r o r i s t bomb) he i s b r u t a l i z e d b y t h e i m m i g r a t i o n p o l i c e , who p h y s i c a l l y a b u s e h i m a n d f o r c e h i m t o e a t h i s own e x c r e m e n t . R u s h d i e ' s c h i l l i n g d e p i c t i o n o f s u c h t r e a t m e n t s i g n a l s t o t h e r e a d e r t h a t t h e b o o k i s a n y t h i n g b u t a g l o r i f i c a t i o n o f E n g l i s h c u l t u r e a n d c i v i l i z a t i o n . The n o v e l i s a s t r o n g c o n d e m n a t i o n o f t h e B r i t i s h p o l i c e , a n d a s s u c h , c a n be u n d e r s t o o d a s an a c c u s a t i o n o f o f f i c i a l l y s a n c t i o n e d r a c i s m . The p i c t u r e R u s h d i e d r a w s o f t h e m e t r o p o l i t a n ( L o n d o n ) p o l i c e f o r c e i s one o f a b o d y o f a u t h o r i t y t h a t i s g u i l t y o f s y s t e m a t i c h a r r a s s m e n t o f t h e n o n - w h i t e p o p u l a i o n . T h i s i s a p o l i c e f o r c e t h a t a r r e s t s t h e a c t i v i s t D r . U h u r u S i m b a f o r t h e s e r i a l k i l l i n g s a n d m u t i l a t i o n s t h a t h a v e t e r r o r i z e d t h e c o m m u n i t y o f B r i c k h a l l , f u l l y i n t e n d i n g t o f r a m e h i m a n d do w h a t e v e r i t t a k e s t o c o n v i c t h i m . I t i s s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h e f r a m i n g o f n o n - w h i t e i n d i v i d u a l s a t t h e h a n d s o f t h e a u t h o r i t i e s i s c o m m o n p l a c e , a n d when S i m b a d i e s i n p o l i c e c u s t o d y u n d e r 18 h i g h l y s u s p i c i o u s c i r c u m s t a n c e s i t i s a g a i n s u g g e s t e d t h a t t h i s i s n o t h i n g o u t o f t h e o r d i n a r y . T h i s i s a p o l i c e f o r c e t h a t i s r i d d l e d w i t h w i t c h e s ' c o v e n s ( c a t e g o r i z e d b y P a m e l a Chamcha a s w o r k i n g - c l a s s f r e e - m a s o n r y ) who m u r d e r P a m e l a Chamcha a n d Jumpy J o s h i t o e n s u r e t h e i r s i l e n c e i n t h i s r e g a r d . T h i s i s a p o l i c e f o r c e t h a t i n s t i g a t e s r i o t s a n d r o u t i n e l y p r o v i d e s d e f e n c e f o r r a c i s t w h i t e y o u t h t e r r o r i z i n g t h e n o n - w h i t e c o m m u n i t y . R u s h d i e ' s h a r s h d e p i c t i o n o f t h e B r i t i s h p o l i c e c a n be r e a d a s a w i d e r c o n d e m n a t i o n o f o f f i c i a l l y s a n c t i o n e d r a c i s m t h a t r e f l e c t s t h e r a c i s m p e r v a d i n g B r i t i s h s o c i e t y . R u s h d i e g o e s f u r t h e r t h a n t h i s i n h i s a t t e m p t t o h i g h l i g h t B r i t i s h r a c i s m i n h i s n o v e l . The S a t a n i c V e r s e s d e p i c t s a n E n g l a n d t h a t i s d i v i d e d a l o n g l a r g e l y r a c i a l l i n e s . H i s p r i m a r y c r i t i c i s m o f r a c i s m c a n be f o u n d i n h i s d e p i c t i o n o f t h e I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y a n d t h e t r i a l s a n d t r i b u l a t i o n s t h a t t h e y a r e f a c e d w i t h b o t h a t t h e h a n d s o f a r a c i s t s o c i e t y a n d a t t h e h a n d s o f a n u n c a r i n g , u n s y m p a t h e t i c a n d o f t e n h o s t i l e p o l i c e f o r c e . T h i s i s a s o c i e t y w h e r e s k i n h e a d s t e r r o r i z e t h e p a t r o n s o f I n d i a n e a t i n g e s t a b l i s h m e n t s , s p i t t i n g o n t h e i r f o o d a n d l o o k i n g f o r a g g a v a t i o n — a n d o f c o u r s e when i t comes i t i s t h e I n d i a n s who a r e t a k e n t o j a i l , n o t t h e s k i n h e a d s . T h i s i s a s o c i e t y w h e r e c i t y c o u n c i l s h o u s e n e w l y a r r i v e d i m m i g r a n t s i n u n s a f e a n d u n s a n i t a r y c o n d i t i o n s — w h e r e t h e y c a n , a n d s o m e t i m e s do, b u r n t o d e a t h a s a r e s u l t o f o f f i c i a l n e g l i g e n c e . R u s h d i e s u c c e e d s i n p o r t r a y i n g a n o n - w h i t e c o m m u n i t y w h i c h f e e l s t h a t i t i s u n d e r s e i g e - - a n d i t i s t h i s p o r t r a y a l t h a t i s p e r h a p s t h e m ost d e f i n i t i v e c o n d e m n a t i o n o f r a c i s m . I t i s n o t j u s t t h a t t h e y a r e v i c t i m s o f i n j u s t i c e a n d i n e q u a l i t y - - i t i s t h e o p e n a n d o u t r i g h t h o s t i l i t y a n d p e r s e c u t i o n t h a t l a r g e s e c t i o n s o f t h e n o n - w h i t e p o p u l a t i o n o f E n g l a n d a r e f o r c e d t o d e a l w i t h e v e r y d a y o f t h e i r l i v e s t h a t i s one o f t h e p r i n c i p a l t h e m e s o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . R u s h d i e n o t o n l y f i n d s f a u l t w i t h B r i t i s h s o c i e t y f o r i t s t r e a t m e n t o f m i n o r i t y c o m m u n i t i e s - - h e t i e s t h i s i n w i t h h i s c o n d e m n a t i o n o f t h e g r e e d a n d i n j u s t i c e t h a t he f e e l s i s e n d e m i c t o t h e s o c i e t y . 19 R u s h d i e ' s d e p i c t i o n o f c h a r a c t e r s s u c h a s H a l V a l a n c e a n d B i l l y B a t t u t a r e p r e s e n t s h i s v i s i o n o f t h e g r e e d a n d c o r r u p t i o n t h a t l i e s a t t h e h e a r t o f E n g l i s h s o c i e t y . The E n g l a n d t o be f o u n d w i t h i n t h e p a g e s o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s a h a r s h a n d c r u e l c o u n t r y - - a c o u n t r y t h a t h a s l o s t i t s way; a n d R u s h d i e ' s p o i n t i s t h a t t h i s i s no a c c i d e n t , no c o i n c i d e n c e , b u t t h a t E n g l a n d i s now m e r e l y f e e l i n g t h e e f f e c t s o f t h e e s s e n t i a l l y f l a w e d v a l u e s a n d b e l i e f s u p o n w h i c h t h e n a t i o n ' s i d e n t i t y i s b a s e d . R u s h d i e p o r t r a y s E n g l a n d a s a f u n d a m e n t a l l y f l a w e d c u l t u r e a n d c i v i l i z a t i o n — b y no means a c i v i l i z a t i o n t o r e v e r e a n d e m u l a t e . The n o v e l d o e s n o t s u g g e s t t h a t I n d i a s h o u l d s e e k t o r e m a k e i t s e l f i n t h e i m a g e o f t h e c o l o n i z e r - - w h i c h i s t h e a c c u s a t i o n made b y c r i t i c s s u c h a s Z i a u d d i n S a r d a r a n d M e r r y l Wyn D a v i e s - - i n f a c t t h e n o v e l s u g g e s t s e x a c t l y t h e o p p o s i t e . A t t h e b e g i n n i n g o f t h e n o v e l S a l a d i n Chamcha b e l i e v e s B r i t i s h c i v i l i z a t i o n a n d c u l t u r e t o be t h e p r e - e m i n e n t o n e s i n t h e w o r l d - - b u t Z e e n a t V a k i l ( a s w e l l a s P a m e l a Chamcha) i s q u i c k t o c o n t e s t t h i s b e l i e f : " I was s o p r o u d o f B h u p e n t o n i g h t , " Z e e n a t s a i d , g e t t i n g i n t o b e d . " I n how many c o u n t r i e s c o u l d y o u go i n t o some b a r a n d s t a r t up a d e b a t e l i k e t h a t ? The p a s s i o n , t h e s e r i o u s n e s s , t h e r e s p e c t . Y ou k e e p y o u r c i v i l i z a t i o n , T o a d j i ; I l i k e t h i s o n e p l e n t y f i n e . " (58) A n d , o f c o u r s e , t h e s t o r y o f S a l a d i n Chamcha i s n o t h i n g i f n o t t h e s t o r y o f h i s b e i n g made a w a r e o f t h e e r r o r o f h i s e a r l i e r b e l i e f s , a n d h i s p r o g r e s s i o n t o w a r d s Z e e n a t ' s p o i n t o f v i e w . The n o v e l c o n c l u d e s w i t h S a l a d i n h a v i n g f o u n d h i s way b a c k t o Bombay, t u r n i n g h i s b a c k on h i s e a r l i e r b e l i e f s , a n d e m b r a c i n g t h o s e o f Z e e n a t V a k i l . H i s r e t u r n t o Z e e n a t V a k i i i t s e l f i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e o f h i s c h o o s i n g I n d i a o v e r E n g l a n d . I n E a s t . W e s t — a c o l l e c t i o n o f s h o r t s t o r i e s - - R u s h d i e w r i t e s t h a t he r e f u s e s t o c h o o s e b e t w e e n E a s t a n d W e s t - - h o w e v e r , The S a t a n i c V e r s e s makes i t c l e a r w h a t h i s c h o i c e w o u l d b e , w e r e o ne f o r c e d u p o n h i m — a n d t h a t h i s p r i m a r y i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s w i t h t h e E a s t . 20 THE BROWN SAHIB I n The S a t a n i c - V e r s e s , t h e s t o r y o f S a l a d i n Chamcha i s R u s h d i e ' s r e j e c t i o n o f t h e b r o w n s a h i b m e n t a l i t y t h a t he i s a c c u s e d o f c e l e b r a t i n g a n d p r o p a g a t i n g . I f a n y t h i n g , t h e n a r r a t i v e p o i n t s b u t t h e f u t i l i t y a n d f o l l y o f s u c h a m e n t a l i t y a n d c a n be r e a d a s a c a u t i o n a r y t a l e o f t h e p s y c h o l o g i c a l t o l l t a k e n b y s u c h a p h i l o s o p h y on t h e p e r s o n a n d m i n d o f t h o s e who b u y i n t o i t . R u s h d i e ' s t r e a t m e n t o f t h e b r o w n s a h i b i s more o r l e s s e v e n - h a n d e d a n d c h a r i t a b l e . He e v e n a p p l a u d s t h e h e r o i s m a n d g r a n d n e s s o f Chamcha's v i s i o n i n t a k i n g on t h e t a s k o f t h e c r e a t o r - - t h a t i s t h e t a s k o f r e c r e a t i n g o r r e m a k i n g h i m s e l f - - b u t t h e n o v e l u l t i m a t e l y d e m o n s t r a t e s t h a t h i s r e m a k i n g o f h i m s e l f i s l e s s a r e f a s h i o n i n g a l o n g b o l d new l i n e s t h a n a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d r e j e c t i o n o f h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y a n d u n g u e s t i o n i n g a c c e p t a n c e o f B r i t i s h v a l u e s a n d modes o f t h o u g h t . Chamcha's p h i l o s o p h y i s shown t o be n a r r o w - m i n d e d a n d u n i m a g i n a t i v e , h i s p e r s o n a l i t y l i t t l e more t h a n a m a s k — a smudgy i m i t a t i o n o f h i s i d e a l i z e d v i s i o n o f t h e c o l o n i a l i d e n t i t y - - a n d h i s l i f e c o n s e q u e n t l y e m p t y , h o l l o w , a n d u n f u l f i l l i n g . The s t o r y o f S a l a d i n Chamcha's r e h a b i l i t a t i o n a n d h i s r e t u r n t o t h e name a n d i d e n t i t y o f S a l a h u d d i n C h a m c h a w a l a i s R u s h d i e ' s r e f l e c t i o n o f t h e l i m i t a t i o n s o f t h e b r o w n s a h i b p h i l o s o p h y . The n o v e l b e g i n s w i t h S a l a h u d d i n C h a m c h a w a l a h a v i n g s u c c e s s f u l l y r e m a d e h i m s e l f i n t o t h e b r o w n s a h i b S a l a d i n Chamcha. He i s a s u c c e s s f u l a c t o r - - t h e man o f a t h o u s a n d v o i c e s a n d a v o i c e - - l i v i n g w i t h h i s E n g l i s h w i f e P a m e l a i n t h e i r f i v e - s t o r e y m a n s i o n i n N o t t i n g H i l l . He b e l i e v e d i n h i s i d e a l i z e d v i s i o n o f t h e d r e a m E n g l a n d o f p o i s e a n d m o d e r a t i o n - - a n d l i v e d t o be w o r t h y o f t h e c h a l l e n g e r e p r e s e n t e d b y t h e p h r a s e C l v l s Britannicus sum. L o o k e d a t f r o m a n o t h e r p o i n t o f v i e w , h o w e v e r , Chamcha i s a l m o s t a c a r i c a t u r e - - h i s v a l u e s a n d b e l i e f s , a n d e v e n h i s a p p e a r a n c e a r e no more t h a n m i m i c r y o f t h a t o f a 21 " g o o d a n d p r o p e r " E n g l i s h m a n — h e e v e n makes h i s l i v i n g t h r o u g h m i m i c r y - - p u t t i n g on masks a n d s p e a k i n g i n v o i c e s t h a t a r e n o t h i s own. I n h i s r e f a s h i o n i n g o f h i m s e l f i n t o S a l a d i n Chamcha he h a s d e n i e d e v e r y t h i n g o f h i s I n d i a n s e l f , a n d he r e t u r n s t o Bombay t o s e e i f he c a n make p e a c e w i t h h i s I n d i a n r o o t s a n d i d e n t i t y . Chamcha's r e t u r n t o Bombay a f t e r a n a b s e n c e o f f i f t e e n y e a r s i s n o t a l l t h a t he e x p e c t e d i t t o b e . He f i n d s t h a t he i s u n a b l e t o come t o t e r m s w i t h e i t h e r h i s r o o t s o r h i s own I n d i a n i d e n t i t y . He f i n d s t h a t h i s a t t e m p t s t o r e c l a i m I n d i a f o r h i m s e l f a r e more p r o b l e m a t i c , a n d t h a t h i s p s y c h o l o g i c a l d i f f i c u l t i e s i n c o m i n g t o t e r m s w i t h h i s r o o t s a r e more f u n d a m e n t a l , t h a n he h a d i m a g i n e d : "He h a d b e g u n t o h e a r , i n I n d i a ' s b a b e l , a n o m i n o u s w a r n i n g : d o n ' t come b a c k a g a i n . When y o u h a v e s t e p p e d t h r o u g h t h e l o o k i n g - g l a s s y o u s t e p b a c k a t y o u r p e r i l . The m i r r o r may c u t y o u t o s h r e d s " ( 5 8 ) . I t i s Z e e n a t V a k i l who p o i n t s o u t t h e h o l l o w n e s s o f Chamcha's l i f e o f make b e l i e v e a s a b r o w n s a h i b , a n d makes h i s r e c l a m a t i o n h e r p r o j e c t : You know w h a t y o u a r e , I ' l l t e l l y o u . A d e s e r t e r i s w h a t , more E n g l i s h t h a n , y o u r A n g r e z a c c e n t w r a p p e d a r o u n d y o u l i k e a f l a g , a n d d o n ' t t h i n k i t s s o p e r f e c t , i t s l i p s , b a b a , l i k e a f a l s e m o u s t a c h e . (53) Z e e n a t p o i n t s o u t t h a t h i s l i f e i n E n g l a n d i s n o t a s p e r f e c t a s he w o u l d l i k e t o i m a g i n e , a n d t h a t h i s r e f u s a l t o come t o t e r m s w i t h h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y h a s o n l y s u c c e e d e d i n o b s c u r i n g t h e t r u t h o f h i s s i t u a t i o n : S u c h a f o o l , y o u , t h e b i g s t a r whose f a c e i s t h e w r o n g c o l o u r f o r t h e i r c o l o u r T V s , who h a s t o t r a v e l t o w o g l a n d w i t h some t w o - b i t company, p l a y i n g t h e b a b u p a r t on t o p o f i t , j u s t t o g e t i n t o a p l a y . T h e y k i c k y o u a r o u n d a n d s t i l l y o u s t a y , y o u l o v e t h em, b l o o d y s l a v e m e n t a l i t y , I s w e a r . (61) Z e e n a t i n s i s t s t h a t he i s i n d e n i a l a b o u t t h e t r u t h o f h i s l i f e i n E n g l a n d . She s e n s e s t h e e m p t i n e s s o f h i s e x i s t e n c e a n d a r g u e s t h a t t h e o n l y way f o r h i m t o become w h o l e a g a i n i s t h r o u g h c o m i n g t o t e r m s w i t h 22 I n d i a a n d t h e I n d i a n i d e n t i t y t h a t he h a d s o l o n g ago l e f t b e h i n d . H e r p r o t e s t a t i o n s a n d h i s e x p e r i e n c e s w h i l e b a c k i n I n d i a c r a c k t h r o u g h Chamcha's s h e l l — b u t he i s s o a p p r e h e n s i v e o f w h a t he m i g h t f i n d b e n e a t h h i s E n g l i s h e x t e r i o r t h a t he r e s o l v e s o n c e a g a i n t o b u r y h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y , r a t h e r t h a n t o come t o t e r m s w i t h i t a n d i n c o r p o r a t e i t i n t o t h e new i d e n t i t y t h a t he h a s f a s h i o n e d f o r h i m s e l f . He t a k e s t h e c a t a s t r o p h i c a t t e m p t a t r e c o n c i l i a t i o n w i t h h i s f a t h e r a s s y m b o l i c o f t h e f u t i l i t y o f a t t e m p t e d r e c l a m a t i o n o f h i s I n d i a n s e l f , a n d r e t u r n s t o I n d i a d e t e r m i n e d t o h a v e n o t h i n g f u r t h e r t o do w i t h h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y : Damn y o u I n d i a , S a l a d i n Chamcha c u r s e d s i l e n t l y , s i n k i n g b a c k i n t o h i s s e a t . To h e l l w i t h y o u , I e s c a p e d y o u r c l u t c h e s l o n g a g o , y o u w o n ' t g e t y o u r h o o k s i n t o me a g a i n , y o u c a n n o t d r a g me b a c k . (35) I t i s when he i s a t t h i s s t a g e o f c o n s c i o u s n e s s t h a t Chamcha f a l l s f r o m t h e e x p l o d i n g p l a n e a n d b e g i n s t o m e t a m o r p h o s e i n t o a d e v i l . I t i s a t t h i s moment t h a t t h e t r u e m e t a m o r p h o s i s t h a t he u n d e r g o e s b e g i n s t o t a k e p l a c e : B u t a t t h e t i m e he h a d no d o u b t ; w hat h a d t a k e n h i m o v e r was t h e w i l l t o l i v e , u n a d u l t e r a t e d . Due t o h i s m e t a m o r p h o s i s i n t o a d e v i l , Chamcha i s d e m o n i z e d b y t h e i m m i g r a t i o n p o l i c e , a n d f o r c e d t o come t o t e r m s w i t h h i s o t h e r n e s s , a n d t o t h u s i d e n t i f y w i t h t h e I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y i n E n g l a n d f r o m w h i c h he h a d p r e v i o u s l y k e p t a l o o f . A f t e r h i s f a l l f r o m t h e p l a n e , Chamcha f e e l s t h a t he h a s woken i n t o t h e m ost f e a r s o m e o f n i g h t m a r e s a n d o f t e n r e t u r n s t o t h e t h o u g h t t h a t he h a s f a l l e n o u t o f t h e s k y a n d i n t o some r e a l m t h a t was n o t E n g l a n d , b u t r a t h e r a g r o t e s q u e a n d s u r r e a l l o o k i n g - g l a s s v e r s i o n o f t h e E n g l a n d t h a t he h a d come t o i d e n t i f y w i t h s o c l o s e l y . R u s h d i e s u g g e s t s t h a t t h i s f e e l i n g o f h a v i n g woken i n t o t h e m ost p u r e , a n d t h e f i r s t t h i n g i t d i d was t o i n f o r m h i m t h a t i t w a n t e d n o t h i n g t o do w i t h h i s p a t h e t i c p e r s o n a l i t y , t h a t h a l f - r e c o n s t r u c t e d a f f a i r o f m i m i c r y a n d v o i c e s . ( 9 ) 23 f e a r s o m e o f n i g h t m a r e s h e l p s t o a w a k e n Chamcha f r o m h i s d r e a m v i s i o n o f E n g l a n d , a n d t h a t h i s p e r s e c u t i o n a n d d e m o n i z a t i o n b r i n g h i m i n t o c l o s e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f h i s i d e n t i t y a s a n I n d i a n i n E n g l a n d . Chamcha i s f o r c e d b y h i s m e t a m o r p h o s i s t o s e e k p h y s i c a l r e f u g e among t h e I n d i a n ( h e r e B a n g l a d e s h i t o be p r e c i s e ) c o m m u n i t y i n t h e b e d a n d b r e a k f a s t a b o v e t h e S h a a n d a a r C a f e r u n b y Muhammad a n d H i n d S u f y a n . The f i r s t n i g h t o f h i s i n c a r c e r a t i o n a t t h e S h a a n d a a r C a f e , he f e e l s o n l y a l i e n a t i o n among t h e I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y . " B e s t p l a c e f o r y o u i s h e r e , " [Muhammad S u f y a n ] s a i d , s p e a k i n g a s i f t o a s i m p l e t o n o r s m a l l c h i l d . "Where e l s e w o u l d y o u go t o h e a l y o u r d i s f i g u r e m e n t a n d r e c o v e r y o u r n o r m a l h e a l t h ? Where e l s e b u t h e r e , w i t h u s , among y o u r own p e o p l e , y o u r own k i n d ? " O n l y when S a l a d i n Chamcha was a l o n e i n t h e a t t i c r o o m a t t h e v e r y e n d o f h i s s t r e n g t h d i d he a n s w e r S u f y a n ' s r h e t o r i c a l q u e s t i o n . "I'm n o t y o u r k i n d , " he s a i d d i s t i n c t l y i n t o t h e n i g h t . " Y o u ' r e n o t my p e o p l e . I ' v e s p e n t h a l f my l i f e t r y i n g t o g e t away f r o m y o u . " (25 3 ) B u t Chamcha's i n c a r c e r a t i o n a t t h e c a f e a n d h i s m e t a m o r p h o s i s i n t o a d e v i l r e s u l t i n t h e b e g i n n i n g s o f h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h t h e I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y w h i c h i s t h e f i r s t s t e p i n h i s r e c l a m a t i o n o f s e l f . C h a m c h a 1 s d e m o n i z a t i o n f o r c e s h i m i n t o a n a w a r e n e s s o f t h e u n r e a l i t y o f h i s own v i s i o n o f E n g l a n d , a n d a s he l i v e s w i t h a n d l e a r n s a b o u t t h e e x p e r i e n c e s o f t h e I n d i a n c o m m u n i t y i n E n g l a n d — t h e i r r e a l i t i e s a n d t h e i r m y t h o l o g i e s - - h e b e g i n s t o f e e l a c o n n e c t i o n t o t h e c o m m u n i t y a n d t o come t o t e r m s w i t h h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y . Chamcha's d e l i v e r a n c e comes f r o m h i s e v e n t u a l a c c e p t a n c e o f t h a t w h i c h he i s : " I am, he a c c e p t e d , t h a t I am. S u b m i s s i o n " ( 2 8 9 ) . T h i s a c c e p t a n c e o f h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y i s t h e f i r s t s t e p i n Chamcha's r e h a b i l i t a t i o n , a n d p a v e s t h e way f o r t h e r e s o l u t i o n o f h i s c r i s e s . Now t h a t he c a n come t o a c c e p t h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y , he i s a b l e t o come t o t e r m s w i t h h i s f a t h e r , h i s p a s t , a n d Z e e n a t V a k i l h e r s e l f : 24 H i s o l d E n g l i s h l i f e , i t s b i z a r r e r i e s , i t s e v i l s , now seemed v e r y r e m o t e , e v e n i r r e l e v a n t , l i k e h i s t r u n c a t e d s t a g e - n a m e . " A b o u t t i m e , " Z e e n y a p p r o v e d when he t o l d h e r o f h i s r e t u r n t o Salahuddin. "Now y o u c a n s t o p a c t i n g a t l a s t . " Y e s , t h i s l o o k e d l i k e t h e s t a r t o f a new p h a s e , i n w h i c h t h e w o r l d w o u l d be s o l i d a n d r e a l . ( 5 34) The n o v e l c o n c l u d e s i n r e s o l u t i o n f o r C h a m c h a — h e i s r e c o n c i l e d w i t h h i s f a t h e r , r e c o n c i l e d t o h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y d e m o n s t r a t e d b y h i s r e t u r n t o t h e name S a l a h u d d i n C h a m c h a w a l a , a n d r e u n i t e d w i t h Z e e n a t V a k i l : " I t seemed t h a t i n s p i t e o f a l l h i s w r o n g - d o i n g , w e a k n e s s g u i l t — i n s p i t e o f h i s h u m a n i t y — h e was g e t t i n g a n o t h e r c h a n c e " ( 5 4 7 ) - - a n d t h i s new c h a n c e t h a t he g e t s a t l i f e i s f a s h i o n e d o u t o f h i s r e c l a m a t i o n o f h i s I n d i a n s e l f . The n a r r a t i v e o f S a l a d i n Chamcha i s a c o n d e m n a t i o n o f t h e b r o w n s a h i b m e n t a l i t y . S a l a d i n Chamcha i s a b r o w n s a h i b who t h r o u g h h i s m e t a m o r p h o s i s i n t o a d e v i l comes t o a p p r e c i a t e h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y a n d f i n a l l y f i n d s h i s way b a c k t o w h o l e n e s s . The n a r r a t i v e s u g g e s t s t h a t f o r a b r o w n s a h i b t o become c o m p l e t e — t o make p e a c e w i t h h i m s e l f — h e m u s t f i r s t come t o t e r m s w i t h h i s i d e n t i t y a s an I n d i a n . T h i s i s t h e r e a l m e t a m o r p h o s i s t h a t S a l a d i n Chamcha u n d e r g o e s t h r o u g h t h e n a r r a t i v e - - t h e m e t a m o r p h o s i s f r o m b r o w n s a h i b t o S a l a h u d d i n C h a m c h a w a l a . H i s m e t a m o r p h o s i s i n t o a d e v i l m e r e l y f a c i l i t a t e d t h i s d e e p e r c h a n g e w i t h i n h i s p s y c h e . I t i s o n l y i n t h e r e c l a m a t i o n o f h i s I n d i a n i d e n t i t y t h a t Chamcha c o u l d t r u l y m e t a m o r p h o s e a n d become c o m p l e t e . 25 While t h e r e e x i s t elements of a u t o b i o g r a p h y i n the s t o r y of S a l a d i n Chamcha, Rushdie goes to g r e a t l e n g t h s to d i s t a n c e h i m s e l f from the c h a r a c t e r of Chamcha. The most obvious i n d i c a t i o n of t h i s d i s t a n c e i s i n h i s naming of the c h a r a c t e r . In Urdu chamcha l i t e r a l l y means "spoon" but i d i o m a t i c a l l y means " a s s - k i s s e r " , and i n so naming him, Rushdie i n d i c a t e s h i s own a t t i t u d e towards the brown s a h i b . While Chamcha i s not drawn u n s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y , he i s more or l e s s a c a r i c a t u r e of a brown s a h i b , and i t i s c l e a r t h a t Rushdie i s h a v i n g f u n w i t h the c r e a t i o n of t h i s c h a r a c t e r . Chamcha's p r o f e s s i o n can even be seen i r o n i c a l l y - - i t i s as though Rushdie i s s u g g e s t i n g t h a t b e i n g an a c t o r , o r more s p e c i f i c a l l y , a v o i c e - o v e r a r t i s t who can o n l y appear on TV a f t e r he i s c o v e r e d i n l a t e x and computer s i m u l a t i o n , i s an i r o n i c comment on Chamcha's s t a t u s i n England and and the q u a l i t y of h i s l i f e t h e r e . Of course, Rushdie h i m s e l f was i n v o l v e d i n t h e a t r e i n h i s younger days, and t h e r e i s an a u t o b i o g r a p h i c f e e l t o Jumpy J o s h i ' s e x p l a n a t i o n of the l u r e of the t h e a t r e f o r Chamcha: Chamcha 1s room s t r u c k the s l e e p l e s s i n t r u d e r as c o n t r i v e d , and t h e r e f o r e sad: the c a r i c a t u r e of an a c t o r ' s room f u l l of s i g n e d photographs of c o l l e a g u e s , h a n d b i l l s , framed programmes, p r o d u c t i o n s t i l l s , c i t a t i o n s , awards, volumes of m o v i e - s t a r memoirs, a room bought o f f the peg, by the yard, an i m i t a t i o n of l i f e , a mask's mask [...] and everywhere, on the w a l l , i n the movie p o s t e r s , i n the glow of the lamp borne by bronze E r o s , i n the m i r r o r shaped l i k e a h e a r t , o o z i n g up through the b l o o d r e d c a r p e t , d r i p p i n g from the c e i l i n g , S a l a d i n ' s need f o r l o v e . In the t h e a t r e everybody g e t s k i s s e d and everybody i s d a r l i n g . The a c t o r ' s l i f e o f f e r s , on a d a i l y b a s i s , the simulacrum of l o v e ; a mask can be s a t i s f i e d , or at l e a s t c o n s o l e d , by the echo of what i t seeks. (174) And t h e r e are o t h e r i n c i d e n t s i n Chamcha's l i f e — s u c h as h i s s i t t i n g a the t a b l e f o r n i n e t y minutes at b o a r d i n g s c h o o l a t t e m p t i n g to eat a k i p p e r without knowing how--that Rushdie admits are echoes of h i s own 26 e x p e r i e n c e . Chamcha's d e t e r m i n a t i o n to conquer E n g l a n d — e v e n down to h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p w i t h h i s w i f e : " P a r t of i t ? I was bloody B r i t a n n i a . Warm beer, mince p i e s , common sense and me" (175)--seem to have a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l models (see Weatherby, 91-107). There are times i n the n o v e l , when the c h a r a c t e r of S a l a d i n Chamcha seems to be drawn from Rushdie's own e x p e r i e n c e , and c e r t a i n l y Rushdie's own l i f e i s one of the p r i n c i p a l s o u r c e s f o r Chamcha. While i t i s n a t u r a l t h a t t h e r e s h o u l d be some a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l a s p e c t s to the c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of S a l a d i n Chamcha, the d i s s i m i l a r i t i e s between him and Rushdie a r e f a r more p r o f o u n d . In the n o v e l , we l e a r n of how the young S a l a h u d d i n found h i m s e l f growing i n c r e a s i n g l y i m p a t i e n t w i t h the dust and the v u l g a r i t y of Bombay and longed f o r t h a t dream England of p o i s e and moderation. Chamcha's f e e l i n g s f o r Bombay here ar e d i a m e t r i c a l l y opposed to those of R u s h d i e — w h o i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n demonstrated h i s g r e a t a f f e c t i o n f o r the dust and v u l g a r i t y and superabundance of the s u b c o n t i n e n t as a whole, and of Bombay i n p a r t i c u l a r . U n l i k e Chamcha, Rushdie had to be b u l l i e d back to England by h i s f a t h e r t o a t t e n d u n i v e r s i t y . The p r i n c i p a l d i f f e r e n c e between Rushdie and Chamcha, as would be apparent to anyone who was even p a s s i n g l y f a m i l i a r w i t h Rushdie's non-f i c t i o n a l work, i s p o l i t i c a l , and concerns t h e i r a t t i t u d e towards England. While Chamcha b e l i e v e s i n the England of p o i s e and moderation, and i s a staunch admirer of England's c u l t u r e and h e r i t a g e and g l o r i o u s c o l o n i a l h i s t o r y , Rushdie has spent two decades a t t a c k i n g what he terms n e o - i m p e r i a l i s m and n e o - c o l o n i a l i s m i n E n g l i s h a t t i t u d e s . Rushdie's essay "Outside the Whale" i s a p o w e r f u l c r i t i c i s m of the r e v i v a l and g l o r i f i c a t i o n of England's c o l o n i a l h i s t o r y t h a t took p l a c e i n the mid n i n e t e e n e i g h t i e s . T h i s c r i t i c i s m i s renewed i n h i s essay "A New Empire W i t h i n B r i t a i n " i n which Rushdie connects the j i n g o i s m and p a t r i o t i s m of the F a l k l a n d s War w i t h t h i s r e v i v a l of B r i t a i n ' s c o l o n i a l p a s t . In t h i s essay, Rushdie condemns the F a l k l a n d s War and connects the support f o r 27 i t to the r a c i s m t h a t he b e l i e v e s i s endemic to the n a t i o n . The p o l i t i c a l s l a n t o f these e s s a y s i s i n d i r e c t c o n t r a s t to Chamcha's p a t r i o t i c c o n s e r v a t i v e c o n v i c t i o n s - - a n d i t would be a g r e a t mistake to assume t h a t Rushdie shares any of Chamcha's b e l i e f s about the g l o r y and g r e a t n e s s of B r i t i s h c i v i l i z a t i o n . Rushdie c o n c l u d e s h i s a n t i -c o l o n i a l i s t and a n t i - i m p e r i a l i s t t i r a d e i n "A New Empire W i t h i n B r i t a i n " w i t h the comment: And so i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g t o remember t h a t when Mahatma Gandhi, the f a t h e r of an e a r l i e r freedom movement, came to England and was asked what he thought of E n g l i s h c i v i l i z a t i o n , he r e p l i e d : "I t h i n k i t would be a good i d e a " . (Imaginary Homelands. 138) L a s t l y , of c o u r s e , Chamcha's a t t i t u d e towards England i s t i e d to h i s c o n s e r v a t i v e p o l i t i c a l b e l i e f s . Rushdie has been a b i t t e r denouncer of T h a t c h e r i s m and B r i t i s h c o n s e r v a t i s m throughout the n i n e t e e n e i g h t i e s , and i t i s c l e a r t h a t he s h a r e s none of Chamcha's p o l i t i c a l v i e w s — s u c h as Chamcha's views on the F a l k l a n d s War. I f a n y t h i n g , Rushdie's own p o l i t i c a l views are b e s t r e p r e s e n t e d by those of Jumpy J o s h i and Pamela Chamcha--the p o l i t i c s of l e f t i s t c i t y c o u n c i l s i n London's i n n e r boroughs, the p o l i t i c s of a n t i - r a c i s t a c t i v i s t s condemning the p o l i c e i n town h a l l s , the p o l i t i c s of c l a s s t r a i t o r s and champagne s o c i a l i s t s - -about which S a l a d i n Chamcha i s so s c a t h i n g , and which Rushdie p o r t r a y s s e l f - d e p r e c a t i n g l y i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s , h a l f tongue-in-cheek, a d m i r i n g t h e i r r e s o l u t i o n and moral v i g o u r , but a l l too aware of t h e i r , and by e x e n s i o n h i s own, f a i l i n g s . The s t o r y of S a l a d i n Chamcha i s o f t e n r e a d as l a r g e l y a u t o b i o g r a p h i c a l , and the consequences f o r the c o n t e x t u a l i z a t i o n of the e n t i r e n o v e l t h a t stem from t h i s m i s r e a d i n g are immense. In t h e i r r e a d i n g o f the n o v e l i n D i s t o r t e d I m a g i n a t i o n . Z i a u d d i n Sardar and M e r r y l Wyn Davies take the c o n n e c t i o n to be so e v i d e n t t h a t they c o n t i n u a l l y make use of the l o c u t i o n Chamcha/Rushdie as i n : The p o i n t i s the n a t u r e of the change t h a t 28 Chamcha/Rushdie can e n v i s a g e , the k i n d s of o p t i o n s he c o n c e i v e s as p o s s i b l e f o r those remade and remaking p e o p l e . (181) The a u t h o r s of t h i s study then p r o c e e d to take Rushdie to t a s k f o r the p o i n t of view t h a t Chamcha v o i c e s . T h e i r r e a d i n g of the n o v e l i d e n t i f i e s Rushdie w i t h the c h a r a c t e r of Chamcha, and argues from t h a t b a s i c p r e m i s e - - t h e r e s u l t b e i n g a g u i t e a s t o n i s h i n g ( m i s ) u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the n o v e l . T h i s m i s r e a d i n g i s a n e c e s s a r y f i r s t s t e p to the p o s i t i o n i n g of Rushdie h i m s e l f as brown s a h i b which p r o v i d e s the framework f o r the r e a d i n g of the e n t i r e n o v e l as O r i e n t a l i s t . I t i s important, t h e r e f o r e , to p o i n t out the d i s t a n c e between the author and h i s c h a r a c t e r - - a n d t o demonstrate t h a t the p h i l o s o p h y or i d e o l o g y of the n o v e l as a whole does not support such an u n d e r s t a n d i n g . The i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of Salman Rushdie w i t h the c h a r a c t e r of S a l a d i n Chamcha and the subsequent p o s i t i o n i n g of Rushdie as brown s a h i b i s c r i t i c a l l y u n t e n a b l e , and s h o u l d be r e a d f o r what i t i s - - a n i n t e l l e c t u a l l y d i s h o n e s t attempt to d i s c r e d i t Rushdie and s u b v e r t the a u t h o r i t y of h i s t e x t . In t h i s paper I hope to e s t a b l i s h t h a t the r e a d i n g of The S a t a n i c Verses as an O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k on Islam which i s dependent upon t h i s p o s i t i o n i n g of Rushdie can s i m i l a r l y be u n d e r s t o o d as an i n t e l l e c t u a l l y d i s h o n e s t r h e t o r i c a l s t r a t e g y w i t h no c r i t i c a l t e n a b i l i t y . 29 O R I E N T A L I S M What i s S a l m a n R u s h d i e b e i n g a c c u s e d o f when he i s a c c u s e d o f O r i e n t a l i s m ? The p a r a m e t e r s o f O r i e n t a l i s t t h o u g h t w e r e l a i d o u t a n d v e r y p r e c i s e l y d e f i n e d b y E d w a r d S a i d i n h i s c l a s s i c s t u d y O r i e n t a l i s m - - a n d I b e l i e v e t h a t f o r t h e p u r p o s e s o f t h i s p a p e r i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o now r e t u r n t o S a i d ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h e c o n c e p t . I n t h e i n t r o d u c t i o n a n d f i r s t c h a p t e r o f h i s s t u d y , S a i d a t t e m p t s t o o u t l i n e t h e d e f i n i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f O r i e n t a l i s t t h i n k i n g : O r i e n t a l i s m i s a s t y l e o f t h o u g h t b a s e d u p o n a n o n t o l o g i c a l a n d e p i s t e m o l o g i c a l d i s t i n c t i o n made b e t w e e n " t h e O r i e n t " a n d (most o f t h e t i m e ) " t h e O c c i d e n t . " T h u s a v e r y l a r g e mass o f w r i t e r s , among whom a r e p o e t s , n o v e l i s t s , p h i l o s o p h e r s , p o l i t i c a l t h e o r i s t s , e c o n o m i s t s , a n d i m p e r i a l a d m i n i s t r a t o r s , h a v e a c c e p t e d t h i s b a s i c d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n E a s t a n d West a s t h e s t a r t i n g p o i n t f o r e l a b o r a t e t h e o r i e s , e p i c s , n o v e l s , s o c i a l d e s c r i p t i o n s , a n d p o l i t i c a l a c c o u n t s c o n c e r n i n g t h e O r i e n t , i t s p e o p l e , c u s t o m s , " m i n d , " d e s t i n y , a n d s o o n . (2) S a i d ' s i n t r o d u c t i o n makes i t c l e a r t h a t a l l O r i e n t a l i s t t h i n k i n g p r o c e e d s f r o m t h e p o s i t i n g o f a b a s i c d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e E a s t a n d t h e W e s t : O r i e n t a l i s m i s n e v e r f a r f r o m w h a t D e n y s Hay h a s c a l l e d t h e i d e a o f E u r o p e , a c o l l e c t i v e n o t i o n i d e n t i f y i n g " u s " E u r o p e a n s a s a g a i n s t a l l " t h o s e " n o n - E u r o p e a n s , a n d i n d e e d i t c a n be a r g u e d t h a t t h e m a j o r c o m p o n e n t i n E u r o p e a n c u l t u r e i s p r e c i s e l y w h at made t h e c u l t u r e h e g e m o n i c b o t h i n a n d o u t s i d e E u r o p e : The i d e a o f E u r o p e a n i d e n t i t y a s a s u p e r i o r o n e i n c o m p a r i s o n w i t h a l l t h e n o n - E u r o p e a n p e o p l e s a n d c u l t u r e s . (7) O r i e n t a l i s m i s p r e m i s e d u p o n e x t e r i o r i t y , t h a t i s , o n t h e f a c t t h a t t h e O r i e n t a l i s t , p o e t o r s c h o l a r , makes t h e O r i e n t s p e a k , d e s c r i b e s t h e O r i e n t , r e n d e r s i t s m y s t e r i e s p l a i n f o r a n d t o t h e West [...] What he s a y s a n d w r i t e s , b y v i r t u e o f t h e f a c t t h a t i t i s s a i d o r 30 w r i t t e n , i s meant t o i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e O r i e n t a l i s t i s o u t s i d e t h e O r i e n t , b o t h a s a n e x i s t e n t i a l a n d a m o r a l f a c t . ( 2 0 - 2 1 ) W i t h i n t h i s b a s i c d i s t i n c t i o n t h a t i s p o s i t e d b e t w e e n E a s t a n d W e s t , O r i e n t a l i s t t h o u g h t t a k e s a s i t s b a s i c p r e m i s e t h e s u p e r i o r i t y o f t h e O c c i d e n t ( a n d a l l t h a t i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h t h e W e s t ) t o t h e O r i e n t ( a n d a l l t h a t i s i d e n t i f i e d w i t h t h e E a s t ) . What makes O r i e n t a l i s t t h i n k i n g O r i e n t a l i s t , a s f a r a s i t i s i d e n t i f i e d a n d d e f i n e d b y S a i d , i s t h a t i t o p e r a t e s f r o m t h e p r e m i s e o f E u r o p e a n s u p e r i o r i t y . B u t t h e r e i s more t o S a i d ' s d e f i n i t i o n t h a n W e s t e r n e t h n o c e n t r i s m - - S a i d u n d e r s t a n d s O r i e n t a l i s t w r i t i n g a n a c t o f s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n i n n e g a t i o n t o t h e O r i e n t a l " o t h e r " . The w r i t e r i n d i c a t e s h i s / h e r d i s t a n c e f r o m t h e O r i e n t a l " them" a s an a c t o f i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h t h e O c c i d e n t a l " u s " . The q u e s t i o n o f i d e n t i t y i s c r i t i c a l t o t h e a c c u s a t i o n o f b e i n g a n O r i e n t a l i s t t h a t h a s b e e n made a g a i n s t R u s h d i e . F o r R u s h d i e t o be an O r i e n t a l i s t he m u s t a l s o be a b r o w n s a h i b o r c u l t u r a l t r a i t o r . The a c c u s a t i o n p r e s u p p o s e s a d u a l p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e . A t a v e r y b a s i c l e v e l t h e a c c u s a t i o n s u g g e s t s t h a t R u s h d i e h a s i n t e r n a l i z e d t h e O r i e n t a l i s t p r e j u d i c e a g a i n s t t h e E a s t a n d t h a t The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s a n e x p r e s s i o n o f t h i s p r e j u d i c e . I h o p e t h a t my c l o s e r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l h a s s u c c e e d e d i n e s t a b l i s h i n g t h e u n t e n a b i l i t y o f t h i s s u p p o s i t i o n . The n o v e l d o e s n o t p r o c e e d f r o m t h e b a s i c p r e m i s e o f t h e s u p e r i o r i t y o f W e s t e r n c u l t u r e a n d c i v i l i z a t i o n t o t h a t o f t h e E a s t — n o r d o e s i t s u g g e s t W e s t e r n c i v i l i z a t i o n a s t h e m o d e l f o r t h e a d v a n c e m e n t a n d m o d e r n i z a t i o n o f t h e E a s t . The i d e o l o g y o f t h e n o v e l i s i n d i r e c t o p p o s i t i o n t o t h e b e l i e f s t h a t f o r m t h e b a s i s o f O r i e n t a l i s t t h i n k i n g . S e c o n d l y , t h e a c c u s a t i o n o f O r i e n t a l i s m s u g g e s t s t h a t R u s h d i e h a s i n t e r n a l i z e d O r i e n t a l i s t p r e j u d i c e s t o t h e p o i n t o f i d e n t i f y i n g h i m s e l f w i t h t h e W e s t - - a n d t h a t t h e n o v e l i s a s t a t e m e n t o f t h i s s e l f -d e f i n i t i o n . I h o p e t h a t t h i s s u p p o s i t i o n , t o o , h a s b e e n s u c c e s s f u l l y d i s m a n t l e d by my c l o s e r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l t h u s f a r . 31 A t t h i s p o i n t , i t i s i m p e r a t i v e t o d r a w a d i s t i n c t i o n b e t w e e n t h e n e g a t i v e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f I s l a m t h a t a r e t h e p r o d u c t o f a E u r o c e n t r i c p e r s p e c t i v e a n d c a n t h e r e f o r e be c l a s s i f i e d a s O r i e n t a l i s t - - a n d n e g a t i v e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s o f I s l a m w h i c h c a n n o t m e r e l y be d i s m i s s e d a s t h e p r o d u c t o f E u r o c e n t r i c p r e j u d i c e . T h i s i s a d i s t i n c t i o n t h a t i s o f t e n n o t d r a w n - - a n d t h e e p i t h e t o f O r i e n t a l i s m i s commonly a p p l i e d a s s h o r t - h a n d f o r a n y n e g a t i v e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f I s l a m t h a t o r i g i n a t e s i n t h e West o r i s p e r c e i v e d t o be a i m e d a t a W e s t e r n a u d i e n c e . T h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g i s b a s e d o n a c o n f u s i o n o f t h e a c a d e m i c ( p r e - S a i d i a n ) d e f i n i t i o n o f O r i e n t a l i s m a s w o r k t h a t d e s c r i b e s t h e O r i e n t a n d makes t h e O r i e n t s p e a k f o r a W e s t e r n a u d i e n c e — a n d S a i d ' s d e f i n i t i o n w h i c h r e f e r s t o w o r k t h a t n o t o n l y d e s c r i b e s t h e O r i e n t f o r a W e s t e r n a u d i e n c e b u t a l s o t a k e s t h e s u p e r i o r i t y o f t h e West t o t h e E a s t a s i t s b a s i c p r e m i s e . S a i d ' s a r g u m e n t i s n o t w i t h W e s t e r n r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e E a s t p e r s e - - b u t w i t h W e s t e r n r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s t h a t o p e r a t e f r o m a E u r o c e n t r i c a n d e t h n o c e n t r i c p e r s p e c t i v e . U n d e r S a i d ' s d e f i n i t i o n a s c h o l a r s u c h a s M a x ime R o d i n s o n , t h e a u t h o r o f a n a c c l a i m e d i f c o n t r o v e r s i a l b i o g r a p h y o f Muhammad, i s n o t an O r i e n t a l i s t , a n d S a i d e v e n makes i t a p o i n t t o g i v e s c h o l a r s s u c h a s R o d i n s o n a k i n d o f d i s p e n s a t i o n f r o m t h e g e n e r a l a c c u s a t i o n o f O r i e n t a l i s m : On t h e o t h e r h a n d , s c h o l a r s a n d c r i t i c s who a r e t r a i n e d i n t h e t r a d i t i o n a l O r i e n t a l i s t d i s c i p l i n e s a r e p e r f e c t l y c a p a b l e o f f r e e i n g t h e m s e l v e s f r o m t h e o l d i d e o l o g i c a l s t r a i t j a c k e t . J a c q u e s B e r q u e ' s a n d M a xime R o d i n s o n ' s t r a i n i n g r a n k s w i t h t h e m o s t r i g o r o u s a v a i l a b l e , b u t w h at i n v i g o r a t e s t h e i r i n v e s t i g a t i o n s e v e n o f t r a d i t i o n a l p r o b l e m s i s t h e i r m e t h o d o l o g i c a l s e l f - c o n s c i o u s n e s s [...] w h at one f i n d s i n t h e i r w o r k i s a l w a y s , f i r s t o f a l l , a d i r e c t s e n s i t i v i t y t o t h e m a t e r i a l b e f o r e t hem, a n d t h e n a c o n t i n u a l s e l f -e x a m i n a t i o n o f t h e i r m e t h o d o l o g y a n d p r a c t i c e , a c o n s t a n t a t t e m p t t o k e e p t h e i r w o r k r e s p o n s i v e t o t h e m a t e r i a l a n d n o t t o a d o c t r i n a l p r e c o n c e p t i o n . ( 3 2 6 -327) 32 S a i d i s extremely p r e c i s e i n h i s d e f i n i t i o n o f O r i e n t a l i s m and i t i s e v i d e n t t h a t he d i d not p e r c e i v e the concept as some c a t c h - a l l term of condemnation f o r European r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s of the E a s t . A c c o r d i n g t o the academic ( p r e - S a i d i a n ) d e f i n i t i o n of O r i e n t a l i s m , Rodinson i s an O r i e n t a l i s t i n t h a t he d e s c r i b e s the E a s t f o r a Western au.dience--this however can h a r d l y be h e l d as grounds f o r condemnation. The c o n f u s i o n a r i s e s when a c r i t i c e l i d e s S a i d ' s d e f i n i t i o n of O r i e n t a l i s m w i t h the academic ( p r e - S a i d i a n ) d e f i n i t i o n and c o n c l u d e s t h a t Rodinson's s e c u l a r i s t a p p a r a i s a l and r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of Islam i s O r i e n t a l i s t i n the n e g a t i v e ( S a i d i a n ) u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the term. T h i s i s p r e c i s e l y the c o n f u s i o n of t e r m i n o l o g y t h a t I wish t o a v o i d i n t h i s paper. Too many of the c r i t i c i s m s of Rushdie as O r i e n t a l i s t are based p r e c i s e l y on t h i s c o n f u s i o n . The argument i s t h a t Rushdie has r e p r e s e n t e d Islam n e g a t i v e l y f o r a Western a u d i e n c e — a n d i s thus g u i l t y of O r i e n t a l i s m . I hope t h a t I have demonstrated t h a t because such an argument i s premised upon a mistaken d e f i n i t i o n of the term O r i e n t a l i s m — i t i s u n t e n a b l e and need not be r e f u t e d f u r t h e r . C r i t i c s who r e a d The S a t a n i c V e rses as an O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k on Islam f o c u s t h e i r argument on the dream sequences i n which G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a w i t n e s s e s and i s a p a r t i c i p a n t i n the b i r t h of a r e l i g i o n , Submission, t h a t , t o quote Rushdie, "both i s and i s not Islam" (Imaginary Homelands. 409). The c o n t e n t i o n of these c r i t i c s i s summarized s u c c i n c t l y by S h a b b i r A k h t a r : The two c h a p t e r s "Mahound" and "Return t o J a h i l i a " , c o n t a i n i n g G i b r e e l ' s c oherent dreams, a r e i n e f f e c t Rushdie's attempt t o r e w r i t e c h r o n o l o g i c a l l y the h i s t o r y of e a r l y Islam. Taken t o g e t h e r , a l o n g w i t h some s u b s i d i a r y m a t e r i a l i n o t h e r c h a p t e r s , t h e se s e c t i o n s of the book p r o f f e r an a l t e r n a t i v e b i o g r a p h y of Muhammad, h i s wives and h i s companions. (4) The d i a l e c t i c of t h i s argument i d e n t i f i e s Rushdie w i t h the West, and t h e r e f o r e reads the n o v e l w i t h i n the c o n t e x t of the h i s t o r y of Western 33 animus a g a i n s t Islam, and the h i s t o r y of Western s c h o l a r s h i p and l i t e r a t u r e t h a t O r i e n t a l i z e s Islam. There e x i s t s i n the West a v a s t corpus of s c h o l a r s h i p and l i t e r a t u r e t h a t d i s t o r t s and m i s r e p r e s e n t s Islam, and i t i s w i t h i n t h i s c o n t e x t t h a t The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s r e a d as the l a t e s t i n a l o n g l i n e of O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k s on Islam. Edward S a i d makes p r e c i s e l y t h i s p o i n t i n an essay d i s c u s s i n g the c o n t e x t u a l i z a t i o n of the n o v e l : Above a l l , however, t h e r e r i s e s the q u e s t i o n t h a t p e o p l e from the I s l a m i c w o r l d ask: Why must a Muslim who c o u l d be d e f e n d i n g and s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y i n t e r p r e t i n g us, now r e p r e s e n t us so r o u g h l y , so e x p e r t l y and so d i s r e s p e c t f u l l y t o an audience a l r e a d y primed to e x c o r i a t e our t r a d i t i o n s , r e a l i t y , h i s t o r y , r e l i g i o n , language, and o r i g i n ? Why, i n o t h e r words, must a member of our c u l t u r e j o i n the l e g i o n s of O r i e n t a l i s t s i n O r i e n t a l i z a i n g Islam so r a d i c a l l y and so u n f a i r l y . ( Appignanesi and M a i t l a n d , 176) I s h o u l d mention a t t h i s p o i n t t h a t here S a i d i s merely a r t i c u l a t i n g the p o s i t i o n of those who are opposed to the n o v e l — a n d i t would be a mistake to i n f e r t h a t he agrees w i t h t h i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the n o v e l . Two quotes, one taken from the essay " A g a i n s t the O r t h o d o x i e s " i n For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim W r i t e r s i n Defence of F r e e Speech. and one from an i n t e r v i e w with W.J. Weatherby, i n d i c a t e S a i d ' s own p o s i t i o n on the n o v e l more a c c u r a t e l y : Were i t the loathesome c u r s e a g a i n s t I s l a m ! t h a t i t i s p o r t r a y e d as b e i n g r e a d e r s c o u l d s e t i t a s i d e and i g n o r e i t . I t i s a t t r a c t i v e , engaging, funny: i t o f f e r s not a dour u n s m i l i n g sermon, but a r i o t o u s c a r n i v a l , and i s much more humane than a c o u n t e r d o c t r i n e or new dogma. (For Rushdie. 260) I am one of the people who b e l i e v e t h a t Satanic Verses f o r a l l i t s i r r e v e r e n c e and s p o o f i n g of the Islam w o r l d has been done with a c e r t a i n amount of a f f e c t i o n , not a t a l l v i t u p e r a t i v e but done w i t h tongue i n cheek, knowingness and inwardness, I t s u g g e s t s he was i n no way t r y i n g t o get r i d of the 34 w o r l d h e ' s l i v e d w i t h a l l h i s l i f e a n d c o n t i n u e s t o do s o . The n o v e l i s a n a s t o n i s h i n g l y b r i l l i a n t p i e c e o f w o r k . I t ' s n o t one o f t h o s e t h i n g s e a s i l y r e d u c e d t o j u s t a W e s t e r n i n s u l t t o I s l a m . ( W e a t h e r b y , 183) I h o p e t h a t I h a v e d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t t o r e a d The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s O r i e n t a l i s t n e c e s s i t a t e s t h e g l o s s i n g - o v e r o f t h e i d e o l o g y t h a t i n f o r m s t h e S a l a d i n Chamcha n a r r a t i v e . H o w e v e r , h a v i n g d i s m a n t l e d t h e f r a m e w o r k o f O r i e n t a l i s m w i t h i n w h i c h t h e n o v e l h a s b e e n u n d e r s t o o d , I w o u l d l i k e t o now t u r n my a t t e n t i o n t o w a r d s t h e G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a n a r r a t i v e , a n d c o n s t r u c t a new a n d more t e n a b l e f r a m e w o r k f o r u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d r e s p o n d i n g t o i t . 35 THE GOD-SHAPED HOLE R u s h d i e f i r s t e x p l o r e d t h e p s y c h o l o g y o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l who f e e l s t h e n e e d t o b e l i e v e i n God a n d r e l i g i o n b u t i s u n a b l e t o do s o i n t h e c h a r a c t e r o f D r . Aadam A z i z i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n . The n o v e l o p e n s w i t h D r . A z i z ' s a b r u p t l o s s o f f a i t h , a n d R u s h d i e t o u c h e s on t h e c o n f l i c t c a u s e d w i t h i n h i m b y t h i s l o s s o f f a i t h — b u t D r . A z i z i s n o t a p r i n c i p a l p l a y e r i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n , a n d w h i l e t h e c o n f l i c t t h a t r a g e s w i t h i n h i m i s t o u c h e d o n b y R u s h d i e i t r e m a i n s a t a n g e n t i a l i s s u e t h a t i s n o t e x p l o r e d i n a n y g r e a t d e t a i l : One K a s h m i r i m o r n i n g i n t h e e a r l y s p r n g o f 1915, my g r a n d f a t h e r Aadam A z i z h i t h i s n o s e a g a i n s t a f r o s t h a r d e n e d t u s s o c k o f e a r t h w h i l e a t t e m p t i n g t o p r a y [...] L u r c h i n g b a c k u n t i l he k n e l t w i t h h i s h e a d o n c e more u p r i g h t , he f o u n d t h a t t h e t e a r s w h i c h h a d s p r u n g t o h i s e y e s h a d s o l i d i f i e d , t o o ; a n d a t t h a t moment, as he b r u s h e d d i a m o n d s c o n t e m p t u o u s l y f r o m h i s l a s h e s , he r e s o l v e d n e v e r a g a i n t o k i s s e a r t h f o r a n y g o d o r man. T h i s d e c i s i o n , h o w e v e r , made a h o l e i n h i m , a v a c a n c y i n a v i t a l i n n e r c h a m b e r , l e a v i n g h i m v u l n e r a b l e t o women a n d h i s t o r y [...] [ h e ] was k n o c k e d f o r e v e r i n t o t h a t m i d d l e p l a c e , u n a b l e t o w o r s h i p a God i n whose e x i s t e n c e he c o u l d n o t w h o l l y d i s b e l i e v e . P e r m a n e n t a l t e r a t i o n : a h o l e . ( 3 - 6 ) I n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s R u s h d i e e x p l o r e s t h e c o n c e p t o f t h i s G o d - s h a p e d h o l e i n f u l l . The s t o r y o f G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a i s t h e s t o r y o f t h e p s y c h o l o g y o f a man who i s s t r u n g o u t b e t w e e n h i s immense n e e d t o b e l i e v e i n God a n d h i s i n a b i l i t y t o do s o . The G o d - s h a p e d h o l e t h a t i j a t a n g e n t i a l i s s u e i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n i s one o f t h e p r i m a r y t h e m e s o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a n d t h e s t o r y o f G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a i s m o s t p e r s u a s i v e l y r e a d a s R u s h d i e ' s c o n t i n u e d e x p l o r a t i o n i n t o t h i s c o n c e p t o f t h e G o d - s h a p e d h o l e . 36 G I B R E E L FARISHTA I n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a i s a m o v i e s t a r - - a n d i n h i s e s s a y " I n Good F a i t h " R u s h d i e e x p l a i n s t h e c h o i c e o f t h i s name ( G i b r e e l b e i n g t h e A r a b i c v e r s i o n o f t h e name G a b r i e l , a n d f a r i s h t a b e i n g A r a b i c f o r a n g e l ) : G i b r e e l i s a m o v i e s t a r , a n d m o v i e s t a r s h a n g a b o v e u s i n t h e d a r k n e s s , l a r g e r t h a n l i f e , h a l f w a y t o t h e d i v i n e . To g i v e G i b r e e l a n a n g e l ' s name was t o g i v e h i m a s e c u l a r e q u i v a l e n t o f a n g e l i c h a l f - d i v i n i t y . When he l o s e s h i s f a i t h , h o w e v e r , h i s name b e c o m e s t h e s o u r c e o f a l l h i s t o r m e n t s . ( I m a g i n a r y H o m e l a n d s . 397) G i b r e e l i s b o r n I s m a i l N a j m u d d i n i n t h e c i t y o f P u n e , a n d we l e a r n o f h i s c h i l d h o o d a s one o f t h e f a b l e d l u n c h - r u n n e r s o r dabbawallas o f Bombay ( w h e r e h i s f a m i l y moved when he was s t i l l a n i n f a n t ) . R u s h d i e t e l l s u s o f I s m a i l N a j m u d d i n ' s f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h t h e s u p e r n a t u r a l — a n d h i s a c c o u n t o f I s m a i l ' s y o u t h f o r e s h a d o w s t h e b l a s p h e m o u s d r e a m s t h a t w o u l d f a l l p r e y t o l a t e r on i n l i f e . He g r e w up b e l i e v i n g i n God, a n g e l s , demons, a f r e e t s , d j i n n s , a s m a t t e r - o f - f a c t l y a s i f t h e y w e r e b u l l o c k -c a r t s o r l a m p - p o s t s , a n d i t s t r u c k h i m a s a f a i l u r e i n h i s own s i g h t t h a t he h a d n e v e r s e e n a g h o s t . He w o u l d d r e a m o f d i s c o v e r i n g a m a g i c o p t o m e t r i s t f r o m whom he w o u l d p u r c h a s e , a p a i r o f g r e e n - t i n g e d s p e c t a c l e s w h i c h w o u l d c o r r e c t h i s r e g r e t t a b l e m y o p i a , a n d a f t e r t h a t he w o u l d be a b l e t o s e e t h r o u g h t h e d e n s e , b l i n d i n g a i r t o t h e f a b u l o u s w o r l d b e n e a t h . F r o m h i s m o t h e r N a i m a N a j m u d d i n he h e a r d a g r e a t many s t o r i e s o f t h e P r o p h e t , a n d i f i n a c c u r a c i e s h a d c r e p t i n t o h e r v e r s i o n s he w a s n ' t i n t e r e s t e d i n k n o w i n g w h a t t h e y w e r e [...] s o m e t i m e s t h o u g h he c a u g h t h i m s e l f i n t h e a c t o f f o r m i n g b l a s p h e m o u s t h o u g h t s [...] h i s s o m n o l e n t f a n c y b e g a n t o c o m p a r e h i s own c o n d i t i o n w i t h t h a t o f t h e P r o p h e t [...] [ a n d ] he b e g a n t o w o r r y a b o u t t h e i m p u r i t y i n h i s make-up t h a t c o u l d c r e a t e s u c h t e r r i b l e v i s i o n s . ( 2 1 - 2 2 ) 37 When I s m a i l becomes a movie a c t o r - - a n d adopts the name G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a — h e spends the f i r s t f o u r y e a r s of h i s c a r e e r i n a s u c c e s s i o n of minor knockabout comic r o l e s . Rushdie i s c a r e f u l t o f u r t h e r foreshadow h i s blasphemous dreams: To get h i s mind o f f he s u b j e c t of l o v e and d e s i r e , he s t u d i e d , becoming an omnivorous a u t o d i d a c t , d e v o u r i n g the metamorphic myths of Greece and Rome, the a v a t a r s of J u p i t e r , the boy who became a f l o w e r , the s p i d e r -woman, C i r c e , e v e r y t h i n g : and the theosophy of Annie Besant, and the u n i f i e d f i e l d t h e o r y , and the i n c i d e n t of the S a t a n i c v e r s e s i n the e a r l y c a r e e r of the Prophet, and the p o l i t i c s of Muhammad's harem a f t e r h i s r e t u r n to Mecca i n triumph; and the s u r r e a l i s m of newspapers, i n which b u t t e r f l i e s c o u l d f l y i n t o young g i r l s ' mouths, a s k i n g to be consumed, and c h i l d r e n were born w i t h no f a c e s , and young boys dreamed i n i m p o s s i b l e d e t a i l of e a r l i e r i n c a r n a t i o n s , f o r i n s t a n c e i n a g o l d e n f o r t r e s s f i l l e d w i t h p r e c i o u s s t o n e s . (4) Rushdie i s e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y c a r e f u l i n foreshadowing the c o n t e n t of G i b r e e l ' s f u t u r e nightmares and to demonstrate t h a t e v e r y t h i n g he dreams of has a b a s i s i n h i s s u b - c o n s c i o u s . G i b r e e l ' s b i g break comes w i t h the a r r i v a l o f the t h e o l o g i c a l m o v i e s - - f i l m s based (extremely!) r o u g h l y on t h e o l o g i c a l mythology. Every god i n the pantheon got h i s or her chance to be showcased, and when a p r o d u c t i o n "based on the s t o r y of [the elephant-headed god] Ganesh [was scheduled] none of the l e a d i n g b o x - o f f i c e names of the time were w i l l i n g t o spend an e n t i r e movie c o n c e a l e d i n s i d e an e l e p h a n t ' s head" (24) and so G i b r e e l i s g i v e n h i s f i r s t s t a r r i n g r o l e . I t i s from t h i s f i r s t l u c k y break t h a t G i b r e e l ' s c a r e e r as a s u p e r s t a r - - a n d as a s u p e r s t a r who p l a y e d the r o l e of god a f t e r g o d — i s born: For over a decade and a h a l f he had r e p r e s e n t e d , to hundreds of m i l l i o n s of b e l i e v e r s i n t h a t c o u n t r y i n which, to t h i s day, the human p o p u l a t i o n outnumbers the d i v i n e by l e s s than t h r e e t o one, the most a c c e p t a b l e , the most i n s t a n t l y r e c o g n i z a b l e , f a c e of 38 the Supreme [...] y o u ' l l agree t h a t f o r such an a c t o r ( f o r any a c t o r , maybe, even f o r Chamcha, but most of a l l f o r him) to have a bee i n h i s bonnet about a v a t a r s , l i k e much-metamorphosed Vishnu, was not so v e r y s u r p r i s i n g . ( 1 6 - 1 7 ) I t i s when he i s at the h e i g h t of h i s fame t h a t G i b r e e l i s s t r u c k w i t h mystery i l l n e s s t h a t takes him to death's door. I t i s t h i s i l l n e s s which causes G i b r e e l to l o s e h i s f a i t h — a n d Rushdie g i v e s us an account of how t h i s l o s s of f a i t h comes about: D u r i n g h i s i l l n e s s he had spent every minute of c o n s c i o u s n e s s c a l l i n g upon God, every second of every minute. Ya A l l a h whose s e r v a n t i s b l e e d i n g do not abandon me now a f t e r watching over me so l o n g . Ya A l l a h show me some s i g n , some s m a l l mark of your f a v o u r , t h a t I may f i n d i n myself the s t r e n g t h to cure my i l l s . O God most b e n e f i c e n t most m e r c i f u l , be w i t h me i n t h i s my time of need, my most g r i e v o u s need. Then i t o c c u r r e d to him t h a t he was b e i n g punished, and f o r a time t h a t made i t p o s s i b l e to s u f f e r the p a i n , but a f t e r a time he got angry. Enough, God, h i s unspoken words:demanded, why must I d i e when I have not k i l l e d , are you vengeance or are you l o v e ? The anger w i t h God c a r r i e d him through another day, but then i t faded, and i n i t s p l a c e t h e r e came a t e r r i b l e emptiness, an i s o l a t i o n , as he r e a l i z e d he was t a l k i n g to thin a i r , t h a t t h e r e was nobody t h e r e at a l l , and he f e l t more f o o l i s h than ever i n h i s l i f e , and he began to p l e a d i n t o the emptiness, ya A l l a h , j u s t be t h e r e , damn i t , j u s t be. But he f e l t n o t h i n g , n o t h i n g n o t h i n g , and then one day he found t h a t he no l o n g e r needed t h e r e to be a n y t h i n g to f e e l . On the day of metamorphosis the i l l n e s s changed and h i s r e c o v e r y began. (30) A f t e r h i s r e c o v e r y , G i b r e e l rushes to the Taj h o t e l to p a r t a k e of the f o r b i d d e n f l e s h of the swine, the u n c l e a n guadruped, to prove to h i m s e l the n o n e x i s t e n c e of God. But i t i s a f t e r he e a t s the p i g s t h a t the r e t r i b u t i o n b e g i n s — a n o c t u r n a l r e t r i b u t i o n - - a punishment of dreams. Rushdie i s c a r e f u l t o p r o v i d e us not o n l y w i t h the background f o r 39 t h e c o n t e n t o f G i b r e e l ' s b l a s p h e m o u s d r e a m s - - b u t a l s o w i t h t h e c o n t e x t w i t h i n w h i c h t h e d r e a m s a r e t o be u n d e r s t o o d . The d r e a m s a r e a p u n i s h m e n t - - a s u b c o n s c i o u s r e t r i b u t i o n f o r G i b r e e l ' s l o s s o f f a i t h . Th d r e a m s a r e a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e b a t t l e t h a t i s b e i n g f o u g h t w i t h i n G i b r e e l ' s s u b c o n s c i o u s b e t w e e n f a i t h a n d d o u b t , b e t w e e n b e l i e f a n d u n b e l i e f . G i b r e e l i s d e s p e r a t e t o r e g a i n h i s l o s t f a i t h - - b u t he i s h a u n t e d b y t h e s e d r e a m s o f f a i t h - s h a k i n g s c e p t i c i s m a n d b l a s p h e m y . R u s h d i e ' s d e p i c t i o n o f G i b r e e l ' s d r e a m s c a p e makes i t c l e a r t h a t t h i s i s a r e a l m o f m a k e - b e l i e v e - - a l o o k i n g - g l a s s w o r l d o f t h e g r o t e s q u e — w h e r e G i b r e e l ' s d o u b t s p l a y t h e m s e l v e s o u t on t h e m o v i e s c r e e n o f h i s i m a g i n a t i o n : H i s name: a dream-name, c h a n g e d b y t h e v i s i o n . P r o n o u n c e d c o r r e c t l y , i t means h e - f o r - w h o m - t h a n k s -s h o u l d - b e - g i v e n , b u t he w on't a n s w e r t o t h a t h e r e [...] H e r e he i s n e i t h e r Mahomet n o r MoeHammered; h a s a d o p t e d , i n s t e a d , t h e d e m o n - t a g t h e f a r a n g i s h u n g a r o u n d h i s n e c k [...] o u r m o u n t a i n - c l i m b i n g , p r o p h e t -m o t i v a t e d s o l i t a r y i s t o be t h e m e d i e v a l b a b y -f r i g h t e n e r , t h e D e v i l ' s s y n o n y m : Mahound [...] The c i t y o f J a h i l i a i s b u i l t e n t i r e l y o f s a n d , i t s s t r u c t u r e s f o r m e d o f t h e d e s e r t whence i t r i s e s [...] W a t e r i s t h e enemy i n J a h i l i a . C a r r i e d i n e a r t h e n p o t s , i t m u s t n e v e r be s p i l l e d ( t h e p e n a l c o d e d e a l s f i e r c e l y w i t h o f f e n d e r s ) , f o r w h e r e i t d r o p s t h e c i t y e r o d e s a l a r m i n g l y . H o l e s a p p e a r i n t h e r o a d s , h o u s e s t i l t a n d sway. (93) 40 THE DREAM SEQUENCES G i b r e e l d r e a m s t h a t he i s t h e a r c h a n g e l G i b r e e l - - t h e a n g e l o f t h e r e c i t a t i o n . I n t h e d r e a m s t h a t a r e r e c o u n t e d i n t h e c h a p t e r s "Mahound" a n d " R e t u r n t o J a h i l i a , " G i b r e e l d r e a m s t h a t he i s w i t n e s s t o , a n d p a r t i c i p a n t i n , t h e b i r t h o f I s l a m . I t must be r e m e m b e r e d t h a t t h e s e a r e n i g h t m a r e s . G i b r e e l i s d e s p e r a t e t o r e g a i n h i s f a i t h — b u t he i s h a u n t e d b y t h i s f a i t h - s h a k i n g n i g h t m a r e r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f I s l a m - - t h e n o c t u r n a l r e t r i b u t i o n f o r h i s l o s s o f f a i t h . I n t h i s n i g h t m a r e v e r s i o n o f I s l a m , t h e s o u r c e o f t h e r e v e l a t i o n i s n o t h e , t h e a n g e l G i b r e e l , b u t t h e P r o p h e t h i m s e l f . G i b r e e l d r e a m s t h a t Mahound i s o f f e r e d a d e a l b y t h e G r a n d e e o f J a h i l i a , Abu S i m b e l : " I t ' s a s m a l l m a t t e r , " he b e g i n s a g a i n . "A g r a i n o f s a n d . Abu S i m b e l a s k s A l l a h t o g r a n t h i m one l i t t l e f a v o u r [...] I f o u r g r e a t God c o u l d f i n d i t i n h i s h e a r t t o c o n c e d e - - h e u s e d t h a t w o r d , c o n c e d e — t h a t t h r e e , o n l y t h r e e o f t h e t h r e e h u n d r e d a n d s i x t y i d o l s i n t h e h o u s e a r e w o r t h y o f w o r s h i p [ . . . ] He a s k s f o r A l l a h ' s a p p r o v a l o f L a t , U z z a , a n d M a n a t . I n r e t u r n , he g i v e s h i s g u a r a n t e e t h a t we w i l l b e t o l e r a t e d , e v e n o f f i c i a l l y r e c o g n i z e d ; a s a mark o f w h i c h , I am t o be e l e c t e d t o t h e c o u n c i l o f J a h i l i a . T h a t ' s . t h e o f f e r . ( 1 05) M ahound a s c e n d s t h e m o u n t a i n t o s e e w h a t t h e a n g e l o f t h e r e c i t a t i o n h a s t o s a y a b o u t t h i s c o n c e s s i o n . B u t t h e a n g e l o f t h e r e c i t a t i o n i s G i b r e e l , t h e d r e a m e r , a n d he i s f i l l e d w i t h p a n i c : h e , t h e d r e a m e r , f e e l s h i s h e a r t l e a p i n g i n a l a r m , who, me? I'm s u p p o s e d t o know t h e a n s w e r h e r e ? I'm s i t t i n g h e r e w a t c h i n g t h i s p i c t u r e a n d now t h i s a c t o r p o i n t s h i s f i n g e r o u t a t me, who e v e r h e a r d t h e l i k e ; who a s k s t h e b l o o d y a u d i e n c e o f a t h e o l o g i c a l t o s o l v e t h e b l o o d y p l o t ? - - b u t t h e d r e a m s h i f t s , i t s a l w a y s c h a n g i n g f o r m , h e , G i b r e e l , i s no l o n g e r a mere s p e c t a t o r b u t t h e c e n t r a l p l a y e r , t h e s t a r [...] Mahound comes to me for r e v e l a t i o n , asking me to 41 choose between monotheist and henotheist a l t e r n a t i v e s , and I'm just some i d i o t actor having a bhaenchud nightmare, what the fuck do I know, yaar, what to t e l l you, help. Help. ( 1 0 8 - 1 0 9 ) As i t t u r n s o u t , G i b r e e l n e e d n o t h a v e b e e n s o p a n i c k e d - - t h e r e v e l a t i o n when i t comes d o e s n o t come f r o m h i m - - b u t f r o m w i t h i n Mahound. The v e r s e s t h a t a r e r e v e a l e d t o Mahound i n d i c a t e t h a t t h e G r a n d e e ' s o f f e r h a s b e e n a c c e p t e d a n d t h a t L a t , M a n a t , a n d U z z a a r e r e c o g n i z e d b y A l l a h . B u t t h e s t o r y d o e s n o t e n d h e r e — H i n d , t h e w i f e o f t h e G r a n d e e , s u g g e s t s t o Mahound t h a t i t was a m i s t a k e t o make t h i s c o n c e s s i o n — a n d he o n c e a g a i n c l i m b s t h e m o u n t a i n t o c o n s u l t G i b r e e l . New v e r s e s a r e r e v e a l e d t o Mahound i n p l a c e o f t h e o l d o n e s : " I t was t h e d e v i l , " he s a y s a l o u d t o t h e e m pty a i r , m a k i n g i t t r u e b y g i v i n g i t v o i c e . "The l a s t t i m e , i t was S h a i t a n . " T h i s i s w h a t he h a s h e a r d i n h i s l i s t e n i n g , t h a t he h a s b e e n t r i c k e d , t h a t t h e D e v i l came t o h i m i n t h e g u i s e o f t h e a r c h a n g e l , s o t h a t t h e v e r s e s he m e m o r i z e d , t h e o n e s he r e c i t e d i n t h e p o e t r y t e n t , w e r e n o t t h e r e a l t h i n g b u t i t s d i a b o l i c o p p o s i t e , n o t g o d l y , b u t s a t a n i c . He r e t u r n s t o t h e c i t y a s q u i c k l y a s he c a n , t o e x p u n g e t h e f o u l v e r s e s t h a t r e e k o f b r i m s t o n e a n d s u l p h u r , t o s t r i k e t h em f r o m t h e r e c o r d f o r e v e r a n d e v e r , s o t h a t t h e y w i l l s u r v i v e i n j u s t one o r two u n r e l i a b l e c o l l e c t i o n s o f o l d t r a d i t i o n s a n d o r t h o d o x i n t e r p r e t e r s w i l l t r y a n d u n w r i t e t h e i r s t o r y . (123) The f i r s t d r e a m e n d s w i t h K h a l i d t h e w a t e r - c a r r i e r t e l l i n g M a h o u n d : " M e s s e n g e r , I d o u b t e d y o u . B u t y o u w e r e w i s e r t h a n we knew. F i r s t we s a i d , Mahound w i l l n e v e r c o m p r o m i s e , a n d y o u c o m p r o m i s e d . Then we s a i d , M a hound h a s b e t r a y e d u s , b u t y o u w e r e b r i n g i n g u s a d e e p e r t r u t h , y o u b o u g h t u s t h e D e v i l h i m s e l f , s o t h a t we c o u l d w i t n e s s t h e w o r k i n g s o f t h e E v i l One, a n d h i s o v e r t h r o w b y t h e R i g h t . You h a v e e n r i c h e d o u r f a i t h . I am s o r r y f o r w h at I t h o u g h t . " Mahound moves away f r o m t h e s u n l i g h t f a l l i n g t h r o u g h t h e w i n d o w , " Y e s . " B i t t e r n e s s , c y n i c i s m . " I t was a w o n d e r f u l t h i n g I d i d . D e e p e r t r u t h . B r i n g i n g 42 y o u t h e D e v i l . Y e s , t h a t s o u n d s l i k e me." (125) T h i s b l a s p h e m o u s f a i t h - s h a k i n g d r e a m i s G i b r e e l ' s w o r s t n i g h t m a r e . He i s d e s p e r a t e t o r e g a i n h i s f a i t h , y e t i n h i s d r e a m s , a t o n c e a r e t r i b u t i o n f o r h i s l o s s o f f a i t h a n d a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f h i s l o s s o f f a i t h , he i s h a u n t e d b y t h e s e b l a s p h e m o u s v i s i o n s . H i s d r e a m s s u g g e s t t o h i m t h a t Muhammad i s s o m e t h i n g o f a c h a r l a t a n a n d t h a t t h e r e l i g i o n o f I s l a m i s b a s e d n o t on t h e w o r d o f G o d - - b u t o n Muhammad's p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e w o r d o f G o d — i f n o t on o u t r i g h t d u p l i c i t y a n d d e c e i t . T h e s e a r e t h e d r e a m s o f a man w i t h a G o d - s h a p e d h o l e w i t h i n h i m , t h e s e a r e t h e d r e a m s o f a man k n o c k e d i n t o t h a t m i d d l e p l a c e R u s h d i e r e f e r s t o i n M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n , t h e s e a r e t h e d r e a m s o f a man who w i s h e s t o b e l i e v e i n God b u t i s u n a b l e t o do s o . G i b r e e l ' s l o s s o f f a i t h f i l l s h i m w i t h a s e n s e o f h a v i n g b e e n b o r n a g a i n - - o f h a v i n g c r o s s e d some new t h r e s h o l d . B u t a t t h e same t i m e he i s f i l l e d w i t h a s e n s e o f g u i l t a n d e m p t i n e s s a n d b e t r a y a l — b e t r a y a l o f h i m s e l f a n d b e t r a y a l o f t h e God i n whom he c a n n o t c o m p l e t e l y d i s b e l i e v e - - a n d t h e d r e a m s a r e t h e r e s u l t o f t h e s e c o n f l i c t i n g a n d c o m p l i c a t e d e m o t i o n s . G i b r e e l 1 s n i g h t m a r e i s c o n t i n u e d i n t h e c h a p t e r " R e t u r n t o J a h i l i a . " He i s s t i l l d e s p e r a t e t o r e c a p t u r e h i s f a i t h , b u t h i s d o u b t s a n d u n c e r t a i n t i e s a r e e v e r more v i v i d — n o w i t i s h i s s a n i t y a s w e l l a s h i s f a i t h t h a t seems t o be s l i p p i n g away f r o m h i m . G i b r e e l ' s d o u b t a n d u n c e r t a i n t y i s e v e n more e x t r e m e t h a n b e f o r e , a n d a s a r e s u l t t h i s n i g h t m a r e i s e v e n more p a i n f u l a n d s h o c k i n g a n d d i s t u r b i n g t h a n t h e f i r s t o n e . A c c o r d i n g t o t h e a c c o u n t o f S a l m a n t h e P e r s i a n , M a hound i s a c h a r l a t a n who m a n i p u l a t e s t h e r e c i t a t i o n t o s u i t h i s own p o l i t i c a l a n d p e r s o n a l d e s i r e s , a n d , e v e n w o r s e , w i t h i t s n e w f o u n d a u t h o r i t y h i s r e l i g i o n h a s g r o w n i n t o a s t i f l i n g a n d r e p r e s s i v e c o d e : The f a i t h f u l l i v e d b y l a w l e s s n e s s , b u t i n t h o s e y e a r s M a h o u n d - - o r s h o u l d o n e s a y t h a t a r c h a n g e l G i b r e e l ? - -s h o u l d o n e s a y A l - l a h - - b e c a m e o b s e s s e d b y l a w . A m i d t h e p a l m - t r e e s o f t h e o a s i s G i b r e e l a p p e a r e d t o t h e P r o p h e t a n d f o u n d h i m s e l f s p o u t i n g r u l e s r u l e s r u l e s 43 u n t i l t h e f a i t h f u l c o u l d s c a r c e l y b e a r t h e p r o s p e c t o f a n y more r e v e l a t i o n , S a l m a n s a i d , r u l e s a b o u t e v e r y damn t h i n g , i f a man f a r t s l e t h i m t u r n h i s f a c e t o t h e w i n d , a r u l e a b o u t w h i c h h a n d t o u s e f o r t h e p u r p o s e o f c l e a n i n g o n e ' s b e h i n d . I t was a s i f no a s p e c t o f human e x i s t e n c e was t o be l e f t u n r e g u l a t e d , f r e e . The r e v e l a t i o n - - t h e r e c i t a t i o n - - t o l d t h e f a i t h f u l how much t o e a t , how d e e p l y t h e y s h o u l d s l e e p , a n d w h i c h s e x u a l p o s i t i o n s h a d r e c e i v e d d i v i n e s a n c t i o n . (363-364) T h i s t e r r i f y i n g a n d f a i t h - s h a k i n g d r e a m p i l e s b l a s p h e m y u p o n b l a s p h e m y a n d s a c r i l e g e u p o n s a c r i l e g e . I t i s a c o m m i n g l i n g o f t h e s a c r e d a n d t h e p r o f a n e - - t h e p u r e a n d t h e i m p u r e - - t h e d r e a m i s a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e a d v a n c e d d i s s o l u t i o n o f G i b r e e l ' s c e r t a i n t i e s . I t i s a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e p a i n f u l e x o r c i s m o f h i s f a i t h f r o m h i s c o n s c i o u s n e s s . The n o v e l o p e n s w i t h G i b r e e l f a l l i n g f r o m an a e r o p l a n e a n d l i v i n g . "To be b o r n a g a i n f i r s t y o u h a v e t o d i e " — a n d a t t i m e s G i b r e e l f e e l s a s t h o u g h t h i s m i r a c l e i s a v a l i d a t i o n o f t h e new p a t h t h a t he h a s c h o s e n t o t r e a d — b u t he i s b e s e t w i t h d o u b t s a n d u n c e r t a i n t i e s . He c a n n o t s h a k e t h e f e e l i n g t h a t t h e m i r a c l e i s a s i g n f r o m t h e God whom he h a s d e n i e d a t l e a s t t h r i c e - - a n d t h i s i d e a r a c k s G i b r e e l w i t h g u i l t . To make m a t t e r s w o r s e , t h e l i n e d i v i d i n g t h e w o r l d o f h i s d r e a m s a n d t h e w o r l d o f r e a l i t y i s g r o w i n g e v e r more i n d i s t i n c t . The n i g h t m a r e o f I s l a m t h a t i s r e c o u n t e d i n t h e c h a p t e r "Mahound" seemed t o v a l i d a t e h i s new n o n b e l i e f i n G o d — b u t s i n c e h i s f a l l f r o m t h e a e r o p l a n e , t h e i d e a t h a t he m i g h t i n d e e d be t h e a v a t a r o f t h e a r c h a n g e l G i b r e e l h a s c r o s s e d o v e r f r o m h i s s l e e p i n g t o w a k i n g w o r l d a s w e l l . A t t i m e s he n o t i c e s a h a l o s t r e a m i n g o u t f r o m a p o i n t f r o m b e h i n d h i s h e a d — a n d he f e a r s t h a t t h i s c a n n o t be be d i s c o u n t e d a s a n y mere h a l l u c i n a t i o n , b e c a u s e i t i s w i t n e s s e d b y o t h e r s a s w e l l , s u c h a s R o s a D i a m o n d a n d J o h n M a s l a m a . On t h e o t h e r h a n d — a s t h e a p p a r i t i o n o f R e k h a M e r c h a n t , f o l l o w i n g h i m a r o u n d on h e r b o k h a r a r u g , i s q u i c k t o r e m i n d h i m — t h i s c o u l d a l l be a s i g n t h a t he i s l o s i n g h i s m i n d - - a n d a g a i n t h e m a d n e s s t o w a r d s w h i c h 44 he f e e l s h i m s e l f s l i p p i n g c o u l d b e d i v i n e r e t r i b u t i o n f o r h i s l o s s o f f a i t h — o r i t c o u l d be s o m e t h i n g e l s e e n t i r e l y : Mr. G i b r e e l F a r i s h t a o n t h e r a i l w a y t r a i n t o L o n d o n was o n c e a g a i n s e i z e d a s who w o u l d n o t be b y t h e f e a r t h a t God h a d d e c i d e d t o p u n i s h h i m f o r h i s l o s s o f f a i t h b y d r i v i n g h i m i n s a n e [ . . . ] The t e r r o r o f l o s i n g h i s m i n d t o a p a r a d o x , o f b e i n g unmade b y w h a t he no l o n g e r b e l i e v e d e x i s t e d , o f t u r n i n g i n h i s ma d n e s s i n t o t h e a v a t a r o f a c h i m e r i c a l a r c h a n g e l , was s o b i g i n h i m t h a t i t was i m p o s s i b l e t o l o o k a t i t f o r l o n g ; y e t how e l s e was he t o a c c o u n t f o r t h e m i r a c l e s , m e t a m o r p h o s e s a n d a p p a r i t i o n s o f r e c e n t d a y s ? " I t ' s a s t r a i g h t c h o i c e , " he t r e m b l e d s i l e n t l y , " i t ' s A, I'm o f f my h e a d , o r B, b a b a , somebody went a n d c h a n g e d t h e r u l e s . " ( 1 8 9 ) T h e s e c o n f l i c t i n g e m o t i o n s a l l s t e m f r o m G i b r e e l ' s i n i t i a l l o s s o f f a i t h , a n d c a n be u n d e r s t o o d a s R u s h d i e ' s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h a t m i d d l e p l a c e — t h e e m o t i o n a l l y t u r b u l e n t g r o u n d c o v e r e d i n t h e j o u r n e y f r o m f a i t h t o d o u b t - - f r o m b e l i e f t o u n b e l i e f . G i b r e e l ' s s e c o n d d r e a m i s one i n w h i c h he ( i n t h e s h a p e o f t h e a r c h a n g e l o f c o u r s e ) v i s i t s t h e Imam--a r e l i g i o u s l e a d e r who l i v e s i n e x i l e i n a K e n s i n g t o n a p a r t m e n t b l o c k , f r o m w h e r e he p l a n s h i s r e v o l u t i o n a g a i n s t A y e s h a t h e E m p r e s s a n d h i s t r i u m p h a n t r e t u r n t o a l a n d t h a t i s i d e n t i f i e d o n l y a s D e s h ( w h i c h means c o u n t r y i n many s u b c o n t i n e n t a l l a n g u a g e s — a s i n B a n g l a d e s h ) : E x i l e i s a s o u l l e s s c o u n t r y . I n e x i l e , t h e f u r n i t u r e i s u g l y , e x p e n s i v e , a l l b o u g h t a t t h e same t i m e i n t h e same s t o r e a n d i n t o o much o f a h u r r y [ . . . ] I n e x i l e t h e s h o w e r g o e s s c a l d i n g h o t w h e n e v e r a n y b o d y t u r n s on a k i t c h e n t a p [...] I n e x i l e no f o o d i s e v e r c o o k e d ; t h e d a r k s p e c t a c l e d b o d y g u a r d s go o u t f o r t a k e - a w a y , i n e x i l e a l l a t t e m p t s t o p u t down r o o t s l o o k l i k e t r e a s o n : t h e y a r e a d m i s s i o n s o f d e f e a t . ( 2 0 8 ) I n t h i s d r e a m t h e Imam f l i e s o n G i b r e e l ' s b a c k t o w i t n e s s t h e r e v o l u t i o n t h a t i s t a k i n g p l a c e i n D e s h . G i b r e e l w i t n e s s e s s c e n e s o f f r i g h t f u l c a r n a g e a s t h e p e o p l e m a r c h t o w a r d s t h e g a t e s o f t h e E m p r e s s ' p a l a c e 45 o n l y t o be mown down by h e r h o u s e h o l d g u a r d s h u n d r e d s a t a t i m e : "You s e e how t h e y l o v e me," s a y s t h e d i s e m b o d i e d v o i c e . "No t y r a n n y o n e a r t h c a n w i t h s t a n d t h e p o w e r o f t h e s l o w , w a l k i n g l o v e . " " T h i s i s n ' t l o v e , " G i b r e e l , w e e p i n g , r e p l i e s . " I t ' s h a t e . She h a s d r i v e n t h em i n t o y o u r a r m s . " The e x p l a n a t i o n s o u n d s t h i n , s u p e r f i c i a l . " T hey l o v e me," t h e Imam's v o i c e s a y s , " b e c a u s e I am w a t e r . I am f e r t i l i t y a n d s h e i s d e c a y . T h e y l o v e me f o r my h a b i t o f s m a s h i n g c l o c k s . Human b e i n g s who t u r n away f r o m God l o s e l o v e , a n d c e r t a i n t y , a n d a l s o t h e s e n s e o f H i s b o u n d l e s s t i m e , t h a t e n c o m p a s s e s p a s t , p r e s e n t a n d f u t u r e ; t h e t i m e l e s s t i m e t h a t h a s no n e e d t o move." (2 1 4 ) H e r e G i b r e e l i s r e m i n d e d o f w h at he h a s t u r n e d away f r o m a n d w h a t he h a s g i v e n up i n h i s f o r s a k i n g o f God. T h i s d r e a m t e l l s h i m t h a t h i s p r e s e n t c o n f u s i o n a n d l a c k o f c e r t a i n t y i s r e t r i b u t i o n f o r h i s l o s s o f f a i t h . B u t a t t h e c o n c l u s i o n o f t h i s d r e a m when t h e E m p r e s s i s d e f e a t e d : G i b r e e l , l o o k i n g away f r o m h e r i n h o r r o r , s e e s t h e Imam g r o w n m o n s t r o u s , l y i n g i n t h e p a l a c e f o r e c o u r t w i t h h i s m o u t h y a w n i n g o p e n a t t h e g a t e s : a s t h e p e o p l e m a r c h t h r o u g h t h e g a t e s he s w a l l o w s them w h o l e . (2 1 5 ) T h i s d r e a m i s o n c e a g a i n a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e m i d d l e p l a c e t h a t G i b r e e l h a s b e e n k n o c k e d i n t o - - b e t w e e n f a i t h a n d d o u b t . I t p o r t r a y s f a i t h a s h o r r i f i c — a s a p o w e r t h a t d o m i n a t e s a n d c o n s u m e s i n n o c e n t l i v e s - - b u t a t t h e same t i m e G i b r e e l i s w a r n e d t h a t t o t u r n away f r o m God means t h e l o s s o f l o v e a n d t h e l o s s o f c e r t a i n t y . The d r e a m i s a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e c o n f u s i o n t h a t G i b r e e l f e e l s , u n a b l e t o b e l i e v e i n God, b u t a t t h e same t i m e u n a b l e t o r e p l a c e t h a t b e l i e f i n God w i t h a n y t h i n g e l s e - - i t i s a r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f t h e G o d - s h a p e d h o l e . 46 I f G i b r e e l ' s dream o f the Imam warns him t h a t t o t u r n away from God i s to be l e f t w i t h n o t h i n g - - t h e Ayesha s e r i a l dreams i n t e n s i f y t h i s emotion. These dreams, however, a r e more be n i g n than the o t h e r s , and seem t o beckon him back t o the realm of b e l i e f : [The dream] sugge s t s t h a t the d e i t y whom he, G i b r e e l , has u n s u c c e s s f u l l y t r i e d t o k i l l can be a God of l o v e , as w e l l as one of vengeance, power, duty, r u l e s and hate; and i t i s , too, a n o s t a l g i c s o r t of t a l e , of a l o s t homeland; i t f e e l s l i k e a r e t u r n t o the p a s t . (215) T h i s i s p r e c i s e l y what these dreams a r e - - a r e t u r n t o the p a s t . In these dreams G i b r e e l r e t u r n s t o the b e l i e f s t h a t he had c h e r i s h e d and which had n o u r i s h e d him i n h i s days as a t r u e b e l i e v e r . I t i s f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t the dreams r e t u r n him to I n d i a — t h e r e t u r n s u g g e s t i n g a c o n n e c t i o n between the s p i r i t u a l i t y of the s u b c o n t i n e n t and the c o m f o r t i n g c e r t a i n t y of b e l i e f . In t h ese dream sequences G i b r e e l appears as the a r c h a n g e l t o a young woman named Ayesha. A f t e r he appears t o her she i s t r a n s f o r m e d : Ayesha the orphan was n i n e t e e n y e a r s o l d when she began her walk back t o T i t l i p u r a l o n g the r u t t e d p o t a t o t r a c k , but by the time she t u r n e d up i n her v i l l a g e some f o r t y - e i g h t hours l a t e r she had a t t a i n e d a k i n d of a g e l e s s n e s s , because her h a i r had t u r n e d as white as snow w h i l e her s k i n had r e g a i n e d the luminous p e r f e c t i o n o f a new-born c h i l d ' s , and a l t h o u g h she was co m p l e t e l y naked the b u t t e r f l i e s had s e t t l e d upon her body i n such t h i c k swarms t h a t she seemed t o be wearing a d r e s s of the most d e l i c a t e m a t e r i a l i n the u n i v e r s e . (225) Ayesha i s inf o r m e d t h a t M i s h a l Akhtar, the w i f e of the zamindar i s s u f f e r i n g from c a n c e r — b u t she a l s o i s inf o r m e d t h a t t h i s i s a t e s t of f a i t h and t h a t God w i l l save M i s h a l from the s i c k n e s s : " I t i s the a n g e l ' s w i l l t h a t a l l of us, every man, woman and c h i l d i n the v i l l a g e , b e g i n at once t o pre p a r e f o r a p i l g r i m a g e . We a r e commanded t o walk 47 f r o m t h i s p l a c e t o M e c c a S h a r i f , t o k i s s t h e B l a c k S t o n e i n t h e K a 1 a b a a t t h e c e n t r e o f t h e Haram S h a r i f , t h e s a c r e d M o s q u e . T h e r e we m u s t s u r e l y go [...] We w i l l w a l k two h u n d r e d m i l e s , a n d when we r e a c h t h e s h o r e s o f t h e s e a , we w i l l p u t o u r f e e t i n t h e f o a m , a n d t h e w a t e r s w i l l o p e n f o r u s . The w a v e s s h a l l be p a r t e d , a n d we s h a l l w a l k a c r o s s t h e o c e a n f l o o r t o M e c c a . " ( 2 3 5 - 2 3 6 ) I n t h e s e d r e a m s God i s a God o f l o v e a n d m e r c y a n d r e d e m p t i o n . I t i s a d r e a m t h a t s u g g e s t s t o G i b r e e l t h e m a g n i f i c e n c e a n d s u b l i m i t y o f f a i t h a n d s p i r i t u a l i t y — a n d t h e h o l l o w n e s s a n d e m p t i n e s s o f a l i f e w i t h o u t f a i t h a n d w i t h o u t c e r t a i n t y . I n t h e s e d r e a m s M i r z a S a e e d A k h t a r i s t h e u n b e l i e v e r — a n d t h e d r e a m s a r e a r e j e c t i o n o f h i s c r e e d o f s c e p t i c i s m a n d i m p o r t e d W e s t e r n a t h e i s m . H i s r e f u s a l t o a c c e p t t h e b e l i e f s o f t h e f a i t h f u l i s d e p i c t e d a s t h e p r o d u c t o f h i s c l o s e d - m i n d e d n e s s a n d h i s i l l - w i l l a n d h i s o v e r w e e n i n g p r i d e : G ood w o r d s , M i s h a l l a u g h e d b i t t e r l y . S a e e d , g o o d c h o i c e o f w o r d s . Y o u know I c a n ' t l i v e b u t y o u t a l k o f s u i c i d e . S a e e d , a t h i n g i s h a p p e n i n g h e r e , a n d y o u w i t h y o u r i m p o r t e d E u r o p e a n a t h e i s m d o n ' t know what i t i s . Or maybe y o u w o u l d i f y o u l o o k e d b e n e a t h y o u r E n g l i s h s u i t i n g s a n d t r i e d t o l o c a t e y o u r h e a r t . ( 2 3 8 ) M i r z a S a e e d f o l l o w s t h e p i l g r i m a g e i n h i s o l i v e - g r e e n M e r c e d e s - B e n z s t a t i o n w a g o n - - d e t e r m i n e d t o s t o p w h a t he s e e s a s an e n t e r p r i s e o f s u p e r s t i t i o n a n d i r r a t i o n a l i t y . H i s a t t a c h m e n t t o h i s b e l o v e d M e r c e d e s - B e n z s t a t i o n wagon i n d i c a t e s t h a t h i s r e f u s a l t o a c c e p t t h e e x i s t e n c e o f God i s c o n n e c t e d t o h i s w o r s h i p o f t h e m a t e r i a l w o r l d - - a n d t h a t t o t u r n away f r o m God i s t o t u r n away f r o m t h e s p i r i t u a l i t y t h a t r e d e e m s t h i s e x i s t e n c e . I n t h e A y e s h a d r e a m s i t i s t h e l i f e o f t h e u n b e l i e v e r w h i c h i s shown t o be a l i f e o f s e l f - d e l u s i o n a n d d e n i a l — a n d u l t i m a t e l y a l i f e o f e m p t i n e s s : F rom a l l s i d e s , o u t o f l i t t l e t i n k e r s ' g u l l i e s , t h e v i l l a g e r s o f T i t l i p u r w e r e r e t u r n i n g t o t h e p l a c e o f 48 t h e i r d i s p e r s a l . T h e y w e r e a l l c o a t e d f r o m n e c k t o a n k l e s i n g o l d e n b u t t e r f l i e s , a n d l o n g l i n e s o f t h e l i t t l e c r e a t u r e s w e nt b e f o r e t hem, l i k e r o p e s d r a w i n g t h em t o s a f e t y o u t o f a w e l l [.. . ] " I d o n ' t b e l i e v e i t , " s a i d M i r z a S a e e d . B u t i t was t r u e . E v e r y s i n g l e member o f t h e p i l g r i m a g e h a d b e e n t r a c k e d down by t h e b u t t e f l i e s a n d b o u g h t b a c k t o t h e m a i n r o a d . And s t r a n g e r c l a i m s w e r e l a t e r made: t h a t when t h e c r e a t u r e s h a d s e t t l e d o n a b r o k e n a n k l e t h e i n j u r y h a d h e a l e d , o r t h a t a n o p e n wound h a d c l o s e d a s i f b y m a g i c . Many m a r c h e r s s a i d t h e y h a d a w oken f r o m u n c o n s c i o u s n e s s t o f i n d t h e b u t t e r f l i e s f l u t t e r i n g a b o u t t h e i r l i p s . Some e v e n b e l i e v e d t h a t t h e y h a d b e e n d e a d , d r o w n e d , a n d t h a t t h e b u t t e r f l i e s h a d b o u g h t t h e m b a c k t o l i f e . " D o n ' t be s t u p i d , " M i r z a S a e e d c r i e d . "The s t o r m s a v e d y o u : i t w a s h e d away y o u r e n e m i e s , s o i t s n o t s u r p r i s i n g f e w o f y o u a r e h u r t ; L e t ' s be s c i e n t i f i c , p l e a s e . " "Use y o u r e y e s , S a e e d , " M i s h a l t o l d h i m , i n d i c a t i n g t h e p r e s e n c e b e f o r e them o f o v e r a h u n d r e d men, women a n d c h i l d r e n e n v e l o p e d i n g l o w i n g b u t t e r f l i e s . "What d o e s y o u r s c i e n c e s a y a b o u t t h i s ? " ( 4 9 4 - 4 9 5 ) The p i l g r i m a g e e n d s w i t h t h e p i l g r i m s e n t e r i n g t h e A r a b i a n S e a — n e v e r t o be s e e n a g a i n - - n o t a s i n g l e g a s p i n g h e a d o r t h r a s h i n g arm--no d r o w n e d o r d r o w n i n g b o d i e s w e r e e v e r w a s h e d up o n s h o r e : Human b e i n g s i n d a n g e r o f d r o w n i n g s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t t h e w a t e r . I t i s a g a i n s t human n a t u r e s i m p l y t o w a l k f o r w a r d s m e e k l y u n t i l t h e s e a s w a l l o w s y o u u p . B u t A y e s h a , M i s h a l A k h t a r a n d t h e v i l l a g e r s o f T i t l i p u r s u b s i d e d b e l o w s e a - l e v e l ; a n d w e r e n e v e r s e e n a g a i n . ( 5 0 3 ) T h o s e who h a d l e f t t h e p i l g r i m a g e t o j o i n M i r z a S a e e d i n t h e s t a t i o n wagon o f s c e p t i c i s m a r e p u l l e d f r o m t h e w a t e r d r o w n i n g a n d b l u e i n t h e f a c e . A l l e x c e p t M i r z a S a e e d w i t n e s s e d t h e m i r a c l e o f t h e w a t e r s p a r t i n g — l i k e h a i r b e i n g c o m b e d - - a n d w a t c h e d t h e p i l g r i m s w a l k away f r o m t h em a l o n g t h e o c e a n f l o o r . M i r z a S a e e d r e t u r n s t o T i t l i p u r , w h e r e i t seems a s t h o u g h c e n t u r i e s h a v e e l a p s e d i n s t e a d o f m o n t h s , a b r o k e n man. 49 a n d w a i t s f o r d e a t h t o c l a i m h i m . I t i s o n l y a t t h e moment o f h i s d e a t h t h a t M i r z a S a e e d i s f i n a l l y a b l e t o a b a n d o n h i s l i f e l o n g c r e e d o f s c e p t i c i s m a n d e m b r a c e t h e f a i t h t h a t he h a d s o l o n g d e n i e d — a n d i t a s t h a t moment t h a t t h e m i r a c l e o c c u r s f o r h i m t o o : Then s o m e t h i n g w i t h i n h i m r e f u s e d t h a t , made a d i f f e r e n t c h o i c e , a n d a t t h e i n s t a n t t h a t h i s h e a r t b r o k e , he o p e n e d . H i s b o d y s p l i t a p a r t f r o m h i s a d a m ' s - a p p l e t o h i s g r o i n , s o t h a t s h e [ A y e s h a ] c o u l d r e a c h d e e p w i t h i n h i m , a n d now s h e was o p e n , t h e y a l l w e r e , a n d a t t h e moment o f t h e i r o p e n i n g t h e w a t e r s p a r t e d , a n d t h e y w a l k e d t o M e c c a a c r o s s t h e b e d o f t h e A r a b i a n S e a . (507) The A y e s h a d r e a m s r e p r e s e n t t o G i b r e e l t h e r i c h n e s s a n d r e w a r d o f r e l i g i o u s f a i t h a n d t h e e m p t i n e s s o f a l i f e o f u n b e l i e f . T h e s e d r e a m s r e p r e s e n t t o h i m w h a t he i s t u r n i n g away f r o m i n t u r n i n g away f r o m f a i t h . 50 INTENTION The r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l a s a n a t t a c k on I s l a m i s b a s e d o n t h e d r e a m s e q u e n c e s i n w h i c h G i b r e e l i s w i t n e s s t o , a n d p a r t i c i p a n t i n , t h e b i r t h o f t h e r e l i g i o n , S u b m i s s i o n , t h a t t o u s e R u s h d i e ' s l o c u t i o n , " b o t h i s a n d i s n o t I s l a m " ( I m a g i n a r y H o m e l a n d s . 4 0 9 ) . The c o n t e x t w i t h i n w h i c h t h e s e d r e a m s a r e t o be u n d e r s t o o d i s made q u i t e c l e a r b y R u s h d i e . S u b m i s s i o n i s n o t i n t e n d e d t o be a d i r e c t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n o f I s l a m , a n d t h e r e f o r e a c c u s a t i o n s t h a t t h e d r e a m s e q u e n c e s r e p r e s e n t R u s h d i e ' s r e v i s i o n i s t a c c o u n t o f t h e l i f e o f Muhammad a n d t h e e a r l y h i s t o r y o f I s l a m a r e c l e a r l y n o t t e n a b l e . H o w e v e r , w h i l e R u s h d i e d o e s n o t s a y a n y t h i n g d i r e c t l y a b o u t I s l a m i n t h e s e d r e a m s e q u e n c e s - - i t w o u l d be d i s i n g e n u o u s t o s u p p o s e t h a t he d o e s n o t s u g g e s t p l e n t y ( t h e d i s t i n c t i o n i s i m p o r t a n t ) . I t c a n p e r h a p s be a r g u e d t h a t R u s h d i e i s p r e s e n t i n g h i s own i d e a s a b o u t I s l a m , b u t t h a t he e n c o d e s them w i t h i n d r e a m s e q u e n c e s i n o r d e r t o d i s t a n c e h i m s e l f f r o m , a n d t h u s a b s o l v e h i m s e l f o f , r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r t h e i d e a s t h a t a r e p r e s e n t e d . What, t h e n , c o u l d t h e s e d r e a m s e q u e n c e s be l e g i t i m a t e l y c o n s t r u e d a s s u g g e s t i n g ? The p r i n c i p a l s u g g e s t i o n p u t f o r t h b y R u s h d i e t h a t h a s s o o f f e n d e d many o f h i s c r i t i c s i s t h a t t h e Q u r ' a n i s n o t t h e w o r d o f God, b u t t h e P r o p h e t Muhammad's p e r c e p t i o n o f t h e w o r d o f God. I n an i n t e r v i e w w i t h S u n d a y m a g a z i n e o f I n d i a , R u s h d i e i s q u o t e d a s s a y i n g : I d o n ' t b e l i e v e t h a t Muhammad h a d a r e v e l a t i o n b u t t h e n I d o n ' t d o u b t h i s s i n c e r i t y e i t h e r . Muhammad d i d n ' t make up t h e a n g e l . He h a d t h a t g e n u i n e m y s t i c a l e x p e r i e n c e . B u t i f y o u d o n ' t b e l i e v e i n t h e w h o l e t r u t h a n d y o u d o n ' t d i s b e l i e v e h i m e i t h e r - - t h e n w h a t ' s g o i n g o n ? What i s t h e n a t u r e o f t h e m y s t i c a l e x p e r i e n c e ? G i v e n t h a t we a c c e p t i t h a p p e n s a n d we d o n ' t b e l i e v e i n God a n d a r c h a n g e l s . T h a t ' s w hat I t r i e d t o w r i t e a b o u t . ( A p p i g n a n e s i a n d M a i t l a n d , 41) R u s h d i e u s e s t h e i n c i d e n t o f t h e s a t a n i c v e r s e s t o p u t f o r t h h i s i d e a s 51 a b o u t t h e n a t u r e o f r e v e l a t i o n . T h i s i n c i d e n t i s r e c o r d e d b y t h e h i s t o r i a n a l - T a b a r i ( d . 9 2 3 ) b u t h a s b e e n r e j e c t e d b y t h e I s l a m i c o r t h o d o x y a s u n r e l i a b l e . R u s h d i e n o t o n l y r e s u r r e c t s t h e i n c i d e n t b u t s u g g e s t s a q u i t e c r e d i b l e c o n t e x t u a l i z a t i o n o f t h e i n c i d e n t , a n d u s e s i t a s t h e c o r n e r - s t o n e o f h i s s u g g e s t i o n t h a t Muhammad's r e v e l a t i o n m i g h t h a v e b e e n s e l f - i n d u c e d a n d i n f l u e n c e d b y h i s d e s i r e s . R u s h d i e t h e n g o e s on t o s u g g e s t t h a t t h e Q u r ' a n i s f i l l e d w i t h t r i v i a l a n d p e t t y " r u l e s a b o u t e v e r y damn t h i n g " ( 3 6 3 ) . The q u e s t i o n s t h a t The S a t a n i c V e r s e s r a i s e s a b o u t t h e c o n t e n t o f t h e Q u r 'an--how i t o f t e n seems t o r e a d l i k e t h e w o r d o f a s e v e n t h c e n t u r y A r a b b u s i n e s s m a n r a t h e r t h a n t h e w o r d o f G o d - - a r e n o t h i n g new. I t h i n k , f o r i n s t a n c e , o f A l i D a s h t i ' s r e s p o n s e t o S u r a C X I w h i c h c u r s e s Abu L a h a b , a n enemy o f t h e P r o p h e t : "The r e t o r t a s s u c h i s n o t o u t o f p r o p o r t i o n . On t h e o t h e r h a n d , i t i l l b e c o m e s t h e S u s t a i n e r o f t h e U n i v e r s e t o c u r s e an i g n o r a n t A r a b a n d c a l l h i s w i f e a f i r e w o o d c a r r i e r " ( 1 4 9 ) . R u s h d i e ' s s a t i r e o f t h e l i f e o f Muhammad i s i r r e v e r e n t a n d d i s r e s p e c t f u l , a n d he makes some e x t r e m e l y i r r e v e r e n t s u g g e s t i o n s a s t o n o t o n l y t h e o r i g i n o f t h e Q u r ' a n i c t e a c h i n g b u t a l s o i t s c o n t e n t , a n d a s s u c h , t h e n o v e l i s u n d o u b t e d l y o f f e n s i v e a n d u p s e t t i n g t o many M u s l i m s . H o w e v e r , t h e a c c u s a t i o n t h a t t h e n o v e l i s a v i c i o u s a t t a c k " [ a i m e d ] a t t h e j u g u l a r v e i n o f I s l a m " ( S a r d a r a n d Wyn D a v i e s , 151) r e g u i r e s some q u a l i f i c a t i o n b e f o r e i t c a n be a c c e p t e d a s c r i t i c a l l y t e n a b l e . I t c a n n o t be d e n i e d t h a t t h e J a h i l i a d r e a m s e q u e n c e s s u g g e s t a c r i t i q u e a n d e v e n a c r i t i c i s m o f I s l a m - - h o w e v e r i t i s n e c e s s a r y t o r e c o n c i l e a n y c r i t i c i s m o f I s l a m s u g g e s t e d b y R u s h d i e w i t h t h e c o m p e l l i n g d e p i c t i o n o f t h e b e a u t y a n d s u b l i m i t y o f t h e f a i t h t h a t i s p r e s e n t e d i n t h e A y e s h a d r e a m s e q u e n c e s . I f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s i n p a r t a q u e s t i o n i n g o f I s l a m i c f a i t h , o n e must a c k n o w l e d g e t h a t i t i s a l s o i n p a r t a c e l e b r a t i o n o f t h e f a i t h a n d a q u e s t i o n i n g o f t h e m e r i t s o f a l i f e l i v e d w i t h o u t f a i t h . C l o s e t e x t u a l a n d c o n t e x t u a l a n a l y s i s o f a l l o f t h e d r e a m s e q u e n c e s r e v e a l s t h a t t o r e a d t h e n o v e l a s a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d l y a n t i - I s l a m i c t r a c t i s u n t e n a b l e . R u s h d i e i s f a r 52 more e v e n - h a n d e d a n d c h a r i t a b l e i n h i s c r i t i q u e o f t h e f a i t h t h a n h i s c r i t i c s g i v e h i m c r e d i t f o r . S a r a S u l e r i , h o w e v e r , i s one c r i t i c p e r c e p t i v e e n o u g h t o p o i n t o u t t h i s a m b i g u i t y t o w a r d s I s l a m t h a t u n d e r l i e s t h e t e x t : The d e s i r e t o d e s e c r a t e m u s t h e r e be d i s s o c i a t e d f r o m t h e more s i m p l i s t i c q u e s t i o n o f w h e t h e r o r n o t R u s h d i e h a s b e e n " o f f e n s i v e t o I s l a m " ; i n s t e a d , t h e t e x t p e r v e r s e l y demands t o be r e a d a s a g e s t u r e o f w r e n c h i n g l o y a l t y , s u g g e s t i n g t h a t b l a s p h e m y c a n be e x p r e s s e d o n l y w i t h i n t h e c o m p a s s o f b e l i e f . G i v e n s u c h a p a r a d o x , R u s h d i e p e r f o r m s a c u r i o u s a c t o f f a i t h : he c h o o s e s d i s l o y a l t y i n o r d e r t o d r a m a t i z e h i s c o n t i n u i n g o b s e s s i o n w i t h t h e m e t a p h o r s tha't I s l a m makes a v a i l a b l e t o a p o s t - c o l o n i a l s e n s i b i l i t y . ( 223) M a l i s e R u t h v e n ' s c o m p e l l i n g r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l i n A S a t a n i c A f f a i r : S a l m a n R u s h d i e a n d t h e R a g e o f I s l a m p r o v i d e s a b r i d g e b e t w e e n S u l e r i ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d t h a t o f t h o s e who r e a d t h e n o v e l a s a p o l e m i c a l a t t a c k on I s l a m : I t may be a r g u e d t h a t i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s R u s h d i e i s a n o v e l i s t a n d n o t a p r o p a g a n d i s t . H i s n o v e l i s t o I s l a m w h at P o r t r a i t o f t h e A r t i s t i s t o Roman C a t h o l i c i s m : a f o r m o f s p i r i t u a l a u t o b i o g r a p h y , a n e x o r c i s m o f t h e r e p r e s s i v e , p u n i s h i n g f a i t h i n w h i c h he was b o u g h t u p . ( 1 6 0 ) R u t h v e n ' s r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l t a k e s i n t o a c c o u n t t h e a m b i g u i t y t o w a r d s I s l a m t h a t i s n o t e d b y S u l e r i a n d i s s o a p p a r e n t i n t h e A y e s h a d r e a m s e q u e n c e s . The n o v e l p a r o d i e s t h e l i f e o f t h e P r o p h e t w i t h a r i b a l d i r r e v e r a n c e a n d c o u r a g e o u s i c o n o c l a s m t h a t i s u n d o u b t e d l y p a i n f u l a n d o f f e n s i v e t o many b e l i e v i n g M u s l i m s - - y e t , a t t h e same t i m e , i t m u s t be a c k n o w l e d g e d t h a t a n e x p r e s s i o n o f o n e ' s d o u b t o r e v e n o u t r i g h t d i s b e l i e f i n t h e f o r m o f a c a t h a r t i c s a t i r e a n d d e s a c r a l i z a t i o n i s n o t t h e same t h i n g a s "a c a l c u l a t e d a t t e m p t t o v i l i f y a n d s l a n d e r [ s i c ] Muhammad" ( A k h t a r , 6 ) w i t h t h e i n t e n t i o n o f " i n f l i c t [ i n g ] t h e m ost p a i n o n h i s t a r g e t [ b e l i e v i n g M u s l i m s ] " ( S a r d a r a n d Wyn D a v i e s , 1 5 1 ) . I t i s 53 t a k i n g n o t h i n g away f r o m t h e s t a t u s o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s "one o f t h e g r e a t e s t l e s s o n s i n h e r e s y t h e w o r l d h a s e v e r s e e n " ( t o b o r r o w L o u i s A l t h u s s e r ' s p h r a s e o n t h e p h i l o s o p h y o f S p i n o z a ) t o c o n t e n d , a s t h i s p a p e r d o e s , t h a t t h e n o v e l i s a p l a y f u l , a n d n o t a p o l e m i c a l a t t a c k , o n I s l a m . To r e a d The S a t a n i c V e r s e s , h o w e v e r , a s a n a t t e m p t t o v i l i f y a n d d e f a m e t h e P r o p h e t , a n d t o s a v a g e t h e t e a c h i n g s o f t h e Q u r ' a n , c o n s t i t u t e s a m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f b o t h t h e t o n e a n d a n g l e o f R u s h d i e ' s c r i t i q u e , a n d , m ost i m p o r t a n t l y , o v e r l o o k s t h e f a c t t h a t t h e p r i n c i p a l c r i t i c i s m o f I s l a m i s o f f e r e d i n t h e f o r m a n d n o t t h e c o n t e n t o f R u s h d i e ' s a r g u m e n t . 54 CONCLUSION S a l m a n R u s h d i e ' s " h e r e s y " i s t h a t i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s he h a s s a i d t h e u n s a y a b l e . He h a s o v e r - s t e p p e d t h e p r o h i b i t i o n s t h a t h a v e b e e n c o n s t r u c t e d b y t h e I s l a m i c o r t h o d o x y a s i t e x i s t s t o d a y . R u s h d i e h a s s a t i r i z e d a n d t h u s d e s a c r a l i z e d t h e P r o p h e t Muhammad; he h a s d e s a c r a l i z e d t h e w i v e s o f t h e P r o p h e t , whom M u s l i m s c o n s i d e r " t h e m o t h e r s o f t h e f a i t h f u l " ; he h a s d e s a c r a l i z e d s u c h s a c r e d i c o n s ( ! ) a s t h e K a ' a b a ; a n d he h a s m o c k e d a n d r i d i c u l e d t h e t e a c h i n g s o f t h e Q u r ' a n ( i f o n l y b y s u g g e s t i o n ) . I n t h e I s l a m i c w o r l d t h e r e e x i s t s a t a b o o a g a i n s t a n y one o f t h e s e a c t s . R u s h d i e h a s t r a n g r e s s e d t h e s e t a b o o s a n d s a i d t h e u n s a y a b l e . T h i s i s t h e p r i n c i p a l c r i t i c i s m o f I s l a m t h a t i s o f f e r e d i n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . B y s a y i n g t h e u n s a y a b l e , R u s h d i e i s a t t a c k i n g t h e c o n c e p t o f t h e u n s a y a b l e t h a t h a s become e n s h r i n e d i n I s l a m i c t h o u g h t . T h i s i s t h e a n g l e o f h i s a t t a c k . I t i s f o r t h i s r e a s o n t h a t a c c u s a t i o n s t h a t he h a s s a t i r i z e d t h e P r o p h e t a n d r e s u r r e c t e d t h e h i s t o r i c a l l y u n r e l i a b l e i n c i d e n t o f t h e s a t a n i c v e r s e s , o r m o c k e d a n d r i d i c u l e d t h e t e a c h i n g s o f t h e Q u r ' a n b y c a l l i n g i t " r u l e s a b o u t e v e r y damn t h i n g " a r e b e s i d e t h e p o i n t . R u s h d i e ' s p r i n c i p a l c r i t i c i s m i s n o t i n h i s s u g g e s t i o n s — i t i s i n t h e f o r m o f t h e s u g g e s t i o n s . The medium o f h i s c r i t i c i s m ( s a t i r e a n d d e s a c r a l i z a t i o n ) i s t h e m e s s a g e . R u s h d i e i s g u i l t y o f b l a s p h e m y ( by s u g g e s t i o n ) , he i s g u i l t y o f s a t i r i z i n g t h e P r o p h e t , a n d he i s g u i l t y o f d e s a c r a l i z i n g much t h a t i s s a c r e d a n d p r e c i o u s t o M u s l i m s , b u t t h e q u e s t i o n t h a t The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s k s i s : why i s t h i s s o w r o n g ? R u s h d i e i s a s k i n g t h e q u e s t i o n : why, i n 1 9 8 8 , c a n one n o t s a t i r i z e t h e P r o p h e t ? One o f t h e r e s p o n s e s t o R u s h d i e m i s s e s h i s p o i n t e n t i r e l y w i t h i t s t i t l e Be C a r e f u l W i t h Muhammad! The q u e s t i o n t h a t R u s h d i e a s k s i s : why s h o u l d o n e be c a r e f u l w i t h Muhammad? Why i s he o f f - l i m i t s t o a n i m a g i n a t i v e w r i t e r ? Muhammad i s , a f t e r a l l , o n l y a P r o p h e t , a n d R u s h d i e ' s s a t i r e o f h i m c a n be r e a d , i n p a r t , a s h i s 55 q u e s t i o n i n g o f t h e e x t r e m e l y u n - I s l a m i c v e n e r a t i o n a n d d e v o t i o n a f f o r d e d Muhammad b y h i s f o l l o w e r s . Muhammad h a s b e e n a l l b u t d e i f i e d b y t h e I s l a m i c o r t h o d o x y - - a n d R u s h d i e ' s p l a y f u l s a t i r e i s a n a t t e m p t t o c a l l i n t o q u e s t i o n t h i s d e i f i c a t i o n , r a t h e r t h a n a n a t t e m p t t o v i l i f y a n d d e f a m e h i m . Why c a n we n o t t r e a t t h e Q u r ' a n w i t h s c e p t i c i s m a n d e v e n i r r e v e r e n c e ? Why, a b o v e a l l , d o e s t h e r e e x i s t i n I s l a m i c t h i n k i n g t h i s c o n c e p t o f t h e u n s a y a b l e ? The b e s t way t o t r a n g r e s s t h e t a b o o o f t h e u n s a y a b l e i s t o s a y i t - - a n d t h i s i s p r e c i s e l y what R u s h d i e h a s d o n e . R u s h d i e i s a r a t i o n a l i s t a n d r e f o r m i s t M u s l i m t h i n k e r . He d o e s n o t w r i t e f r o m w i t h i n t h e r e l i g i o n o f I s l a m - - b u t he d o e s w r i t e f r o m w i t h i n t h e c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n o f I s l a m . The S a t a n i c V e r s e s i s n o t t h e w o r k o f a n o u t s i d e r t o t h e t r a d i t i o n o f I s l a m — i t i s t h e w o r k o f a n o n - b e l i e v i n g M u s l i m . The c u l t u r a l t r a d i t i o n o f I s l a m h a s p r o d u c e d c o u n t l e s s r a t i o n a l i s t r e f o r m e r s a n d f r e e - t h i n k i n g h e r e t i c s — a n d t h i s i s t h e c o r r e c t c o n t e x t w i t h i n w h i c h t o v i e w The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . T h i s i s p r e c i s e l y t h e p o i n t made b y S a d i q J a l a l a l - A z m who u n d e r s t a n d s R u s h d i e a s a " M u s l i m d i s s i d e n t " ( 2 5 6 ). I n h i s e s s a y "The I m p o r t a n c e o f B e i n g E a r n e s t A b o u t S a l m a n R u s h d i e , " a l - A z m p r o d u c e s an i m p r e s s i v e l i s t o f r e c e n t r e f o r m i s t a n d h e r e t i c a l I s l a m i c t h i n k e r s a n d w r i t e r s : " A l i A b d a r -R a z i q , T a h a H u s a i n , N a g u i b M a h f o u z , K h a l i d Muhammad K h a l i d , Muhammad Ahmad K h a l a f A l l a h , A b d A l l a h a n - N a j j a r , A b d A l l a h a l - Q u s a y m i , N a d i m B i t a r , I b r a h i m K h l a s , S a d i q J a l a l a l - A z m , A b d A l l a h a l - A l a y l i , S u l a i m a n B a s h i r , [ a n d ] Hammad S a l i h a l - U d i " , c o m m e n t i n g t h a t " t h e l i s t c a n b e e x p a n d e d a l m o s t a t w i l l " ( 2 7 8 ) . I n h i s e s s a y " B e i n g God's P o s t m a n i s No F u n , Y a a r " S r i n i v a s A r a v a m u d a n p r o b l e m a t i z e s R u s h d i e ' s s a t i r i z i n g o f I s l a m : D e f e n d i n g s a t i r e o f a l o n g s t a n d i n g h i s t o r i c a l a n d c u l t u r a l " o t h e r " o f t h e W e s t , s u c h a s I s l a m , c a n v e r y e a s i l y , i f t h e s a t i r e i s a p p r o p r i a t e d b y t h e West a s a d e c o n t e x t u a l i z e d " c r i t i q u e " s e r v e t h e a p o t r o p a i c f u n c t i o n o f i n s u l t i n g a n d f r i g h t e n i n g t h e a d v e r s a r y , 56 u l t i m a t e l y d o i n g t h e i d e o l o g i c a l w o r k o f c u l t u r a l i m p e r i a l i s m . S u c h a d e f e n c e i l l e g i t i m a t e l y a s s e r t s t h e s u p e r i o r i t y o f a W e s t e r n v i e w i n g - p o s i t i o n o v e r t h a t w h i c h i s a t t a c k e d . ( 1 8 9 ) A r a v a m u d a n seems u n a w a r e o f t h e p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t s a t i r e c a n be p a r t o f a n i n t e r n a l c r i t i q u e o f I s l a m . A s s u c h , o n e c a n q u i t e e a s i l y d e f e n d s a t i r e w i t h o u t " a s s e r t [ i n g ] t h e s u p e r i o r i t y o f t h e W e s t e r n v i e w i n g -p o s i t i o n . " U n d o u b t e d l y , A r a v a m u d a n w o u l d be e q u a l l y u n a b l e t o d e f e n d The G u l a g A r c h i p e l a g o b y S o l z h e n i t s y n on t h e g r o u n d s t h a t i t c o u l d be a p p r o p r i a t e d t o i l l e g i t i m a t e l y a s s e r t t h e W e s t e r n v i e w i n g - p o s i t i o n o v e r t h a t o f t h e S o v i e t c o m m u n i s t a u t h o r i t i e s ( a n o t h e r l o n g s t a n d i n g h i s t o r i c a l a n d c u l t u r a l " o t h e r " o f t h e W e s t ) . The p r o b l e m w i t h c r i t i c s s u c h a s A r a v a m u d a n i s t h a t w h i l e t h e y h a v e u n d o u b t e d l y r e a d t h e i r O r i e n t a l i s m a n d C o v e r i n g I s l a m a t t e n t i v e l y , a n d a r e a c u t e l y c o n s c i o u s o f t h e h i s t o r i c a l W e s t e r n a n i m u s a g a i n s t I s l a m ( f r o m w h i c h t h e y w i s h t o d i s t a n c e t h e m s e l v e s a t t h e c o s t o f e l e v a t i n g t h e o r t h o d o x I s l a m i c v i e w i n g - p o s i t i o n a b o v e a l l o t h e r s ) t h e y do n o t h a v e e n o u g h f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h I s l a m a n d I s l a m i c p o l i t i c s t o r e a l i z e t h a t i d e n t i c a l a r g u m e n t s h a v e b e e n u s e d b y o r t h o d o x I s l a m t o s i l e n c e a n d s h a c k l e I s l a m ' s r a t i o n a l i s t t r a d i t i o n f o r o v e r a m i l l e n i a . C e r t a i n l y I s l a m h a s b e e n a l o n g s t a n d i n g h i s t o r i c a l a n d c u l t u r a l " o t h e r " o f t h e W e s t . We h a v e a l l ( I am s u r e ) r e a d o u r O r i e n t a l i s m . b u t w h at S a i d f a i l s t o m e n t i o n i n h i s c l a s s i c s t u d y i s t h a t t h e same i s t r u e i n r e v e r s e ; t h a t t h e West i s a l s o a l o n g s t a n d i n g h i s t o r i c a l a n d c u l t u r a l " o t h e r " o f I s l a m , a n d t h a t t h e i m p l i c a t i o n s o f w h a t s h o u l d p e r h a p s be c a l l e d " O c c i d e n t a l i s m " a r e a t l e a s t a s d a n g e r o u s , a t l e a s t f o r t h e I s l a m i c w o r l d , a s t h o s e o f O r i e n t a l i s m . T h i s i s p r e c i s e l y t h e p o i n t made by F a t i m a M e r n i s s i i n I s l a m a n d D e m o c r a c y : Gharb, t h e A r a b i c w o r d f o r t h e W e s t , i s a l s o t h e p l a c e o f d a r k n e s s a n d t h e i n c o m p r e h e n s i b l e , a l w a y s f r i g h t e n i n g . Gharb i s t h e t e r r i t o r y o f t h e s t r a n g e , t h e f o r e i g n (gharib). E v e r y t h i n g t h a t we d o n ' t u n d e r s t a n d i s f r i g h t e n i n g . " F o r e i g n n e s s " i n A r a b i c h a s 57 a s t r o n g s p a t i a l c o n n o t a t i o n , f o r gharb i s t h e p l a c e w h e r e t h e s u n s e t s a n d w h e r e t h e d a r k n e s s a w a i t s . I t i s i n t h e West t h a t t h e n i g h t s n a p s up t h e s u n a n d s w a l l o w s i t ; t h e n a l l t e r r o r s a r e p o s s i b l e . I t i s t h e r e t h a t gharaba ( s t r a n g e n e s s ) h a s t a k e n up i t s a b o d e . (13) M e r n i s s i t h e n c o n t i n u e s t o e x p l o r e how t h i s " a n c e s t r a l f e a r o f t h e W e s t " (15) t h a t e x i s t s w i t h i n t h e I s l a m i c w o r l d ( a n d w h i c h was n a t u r a l l y i n t e n s i f i e d d ue t o t h e h i s t o r y o f c o l o n i a l i s m a n d d e c o l o n i z a t i o n ) h a s b e e n m a n i p u l a t e d b y t h e I s l a m i c o r t h o d o x y t o d i s c r e d i t r a t i o n a l i s t a n d r e f o r m i s t t h i n k i n g i n I s l a m b y " d e c k i n g i t o u t i n t h e c h a d o r o f f o r e i g n n e s s " ( 1 5 ) . M e r n i s s i t r a c e s t h e r o o t s o f t h e r a t i o n a l i s t a n d h u m a n i s t t r a d i t i o n w h i c h e x i s t s w i t h i n I s l a m i c t h o u g h t " [ t h a t ] r a i s e d t h e two i s s u e s t h a t we a r e t o d a y t o l d a r e i m p o r t s f r o m t h e W e s t , i s s u e s t h a t I s l a m h a s n e v e r r e s o l v e d : t h a t o f t a ' a [ o b e d i e n c e ] a n d t h a t o f i n d i v i d u a l f r e e d o m " ( 2 1 ) . I t must b e r e m e m b e r e d t h a t t h e r a t i o n a l i s t t r a d i t i o n i n c l u d e s b o t h r e f o r m i s t a n d h e r e t i c a l t h i n k i n g b e c a u s e t h e e m p h a s i s i s on ra'y ( t h e f r e e d o m o f p e r s o n a l o p i n i o n ) , a n d b e c a u s e o f t e n t h e d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n t h e two i s l i t t l e more t h a n a m a t t e r o f o p i n i o n . I t t h e r e f o r e i n c l u d e s t h e S u f i t r a d i t i o n , i n c l u d i n g h e r e t i c s s u c h a s t h e S u f i m y s t i c , H a l l a j , who was b u r n e d a l i v e i n B a g h d a d i n t h e 1 1 t h c e n t u r y f o r h i s d e c l a r a t i o n "ana al-hagg" ( I am t r u t h i n c a r n a t e ) . M e r n i s s i t r a c e s t h i s t r a d i t i o n i n I s l a m i c t h o u g h t b a c k t o t h e M u ' t a z i l a ( R a t i o n a l i s t ) s c h o o l o f t h o u g h t w h i c h a r o s e i n t h e f i r s t c e n t u r y o f I s l a m ( s e v e n t h c e n t u r y A . D . ) : The M u ' t a z i l a w e r e s y s t e m a t i c a l l y c o m b a t e d b y t h e h o l d e r s o f p o w e r , who c o n d e m n e d them a s f a l a s i f a ( p h i l o s o p h e r s ) who w e r e " p o l l u t i n g " I s l a m w i t h t h e h u m a n i s t i c p a t r i m o n y o f a n c i e n t G r e e c e . F r o m t h e f i r s t c e n t u r i e s o f I s l a m t h e M u ' t a z i l a w e r e c a s t i g a t e d a s b e i n g i n t h e s e r v i c e o f f o r e i g n e r s a n d t h e p r o p a g a t o r s o f enemy i d e a s . As s u c h t h e y w e r e r e p u d i a t e d a s mulhidun ( a t h e i s t s ) who w e r e p e r v e r t i n g t h e f a i t h . 58 T h i s c o n d e m n a t i o n o f t h e M u ' t a z i l a o n t h e p r e t e x t t h a t t h e y w e r e i m p o r t i n g f o r e i g n i d e a s , h a s p e r s i s t e d t h r o u g h o u t t h e c e n t u r i e s a n d c o n t i n u e s s t i l l t o d a y . (26) F o r a c e n t u r y , t h e A b b a s i d d y n a s t y a d o p t e d t h e M u ' t a z i l a p h i l o s o p h y o f o p e n n e s s ( a p p r o x i m a t e l y s p e a k i n g , t h e n i n t h a n d e a r l y t e n t h c e n t u r y A.D.) b e f o r e t h e d y n a s t y f e l l i n t o w h a t M e r n i s s i c a l l s " p a l a c e i n t r i g u e s " a n d t h e M u ' t a z i l a p h i l o s o p h y o f o p e n n e s s was d i s c r e d i t e d : "The r e s u l t was t h a t t h e o p e n i n g t o r e a s o n , p e r s o n a l o p i n i o n , a n d t h e c u l t o f p r i v a t e i n i t i a t i v e w e r e c o n d e m n e d a s " f o r e i g n " e n t e r p r i s e . The f a l a s i f a w e r e h u n t e d down a n d t h e f r e e t h i n k e r s c o n d e m n e d a s i n f i d e l s a n d h e r e t i c s " ( 3 6 - 3 7 ) . K n o w l e d g e o f t h i s h i s t o r y i s n e c e s s a r y f o r a n y o n e s e e k i n g t o make s e n s e o f t h e c o n d e m n a t i o n o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s an O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k on I s l a m : W i t h c o m p l e t e i m p u n i t y , t h e M u s l i m l e a d e r s w o u l d b a t t l e t h e M u s l i m i n t e l l e c t u a l s who t r i e d t o e x p l a i n a n d s p r e a d t h e p h i l o s o p h y o f t h e E n l i g h t e n m e n t . L i k e t h e M u ' t a z i l a o f t h e p a s t , t h e s e i n t e l l e c t u a l s w e r e h a r a s s e d , c o n d e m n e d , a n d d e n o u n c e d a s b l a s p h e m e r s d u r i n g t h e n i n e t e e n t h a n d t w e n t i e t h c e n t u r i e s . B a n s on t h e i r w r i t i n g s a n d i m p r i s o n m e n t f o l l o w e d , d e s p i t e t h e d e c l a r a t i o n s o f i n d e p e n d a n c e - - b u t w i t h one d i f f e r e n c e . The M u ' t a z i l a w e r e t h e t r a i t o r s who i m p o r t e d G r e e k i d e a s ; t h e m o d e r n i n t e l l e c t u a l s a r e c a l l e d s e r v a n t s o f t h e W e s t . T w e n t i e t h c e n t u r y h u m a n i s m , c e l e b r a t e d e l s e w h e r e a s t h e t r i u m p h o f c r e a t i v i t y a n d t h e f l o w e r i n g o f t h e i n d i v i d u a l , i s f o r b i d d e n t o u s on t h e p r e t e x t t h a t ' i t i s f o r e i g n . O b s c u r a n t i s m i s p r o p o s e d a s t h e i d e a l o f t h e f u t u r e , a n d one t o d e f e n d . ( 4 0 - 4 1 ) I n The S a t a n i c V e r s e s R u s h d i e h a s a t t e m p t e d t o c a l l i n t o q u e s t i o n t h e c o n c e p t o f t h e u n s a y a b l e . The n o v e l i s a c o u r a g e o u s a t t e m p t ( a n d o n l y o n e o f many) t o b r i n g E n l i g h t e n m e n t t h o u g h t t o I s l a m . O r t h o d o x I s l a m i c t h o u g h t h a s b e e n r e s i s t a n t t o r a t i o n a l i s t a n d r e f o r m i s t t h i n k i n g e v e r s i n c e t h e p h i l o s o p h y o f t h e M u ' t a z i l a was d i s c r e d i t e d , i n t h e m i d d l e o f t h e t e n t h c e n t u r y . A nd a n y a t t e m p t t o r a t i o n a l i z e , m o d e r n i z e , 59 s e c u l a r i z e , f e m i n i z e , o r i n a n y way r e f o r m I s l a m i c t h i n k i n g s i n c e t h e n h a s b e e n d e n o u n c e d b y , i n M e r n i s s i ' s w o r d s , " d e c k i n g i t o u t i n t h e c h a d o r o f f o r e i g n n e s s " ( 1 5 ) . The c o n c e p t o f O r i e n t a l i s m a n d t h e h i s t o r i c W e s t e r n a n i m u s a g a i n s t I s l a m h a s b e e n t r a n s f o r m e d i n t o a new a n d p o t e n t a r r o w i n t h e q u i v e r o f o r t h o d o x I s l a m i n i t s f i g h t a g a i n s t r e f o r m . Any c r i t i q u e o f t h e r e l i g i o n t h a t comes f r o m t h e West c a n be d i s m i s s e d a s a m a n i f e s t a t i o n o f O r i e n t a l i s t p r e j u d i c e , a n d d i s s e n t f r o m w i t h i n t h e c u l t u r e c a n be d i s c r e d i t e d b y i d e n t i f y i n g t h e d i s s i d e n t w i t h t h e West a n d W e s t e r n modes o f t h i n k i n g . I h o p e t h a t I h a v e d e m o n s t r a t e d t h a t n e i t h e r t h e i d e n t i f i c a t i o n o f R u s h d i e w i t h t h e West ( t h e p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e a s b r o w n s a h i b ) n o r t h e r e a d i n g o f t h e n o v e l a s O r i e n t a l i s t i s c r i t i c a l l y t e n a b l e . The p o s i t i o n i n g o f R u s h d i e a s b r o w n s a h i b a n d t h e d i s m i s s a l o f The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a s an O r i e n t a l i s t a t t a c k on I s l a m c a n t h u s be s e e n a s an e f f e c t i v e r h e t o r i c a l s t r a t e g y o n t h e p a r t o f o r t h o d o x t h i n k e r s a n d w r i t e r s t o d i s c r e d i t R u s h d i e a n d o b s c u r e h i s a c t u a l c r i t i q u e o f I s l a m . T h i s r h e t o r i c a l s t r a t e g y h a s a l o n g a n d i n f a m o u s h i s t o r y i n I s l a m i c t h o u g h t - - a n d h a s p r o v e d o n t h i s o c c a s i o n ( a s i t h a s i n t h e p a s t ) t o be d e a d l y e f f e c t i v e . 60 WORKS CITED AND CONSULTED Ado n i s . Even the Sun. i n For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim W r i t e r s i n Defense o f Free Speech. New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1 9 9 4 . Akhtar, S h a b b i r . Be C a r e f u l With Muhammad! The Salman Riishdie A f f a i r . London: Bellew, 1 9 8 9 . Al-Azm, S a d i q J a l a l . "The Importance o f B e i n g E a r n e s t About Salman Rushdie," i n Reading Rushdie: P e r s p e c t i v e s on the F i c t i o n of Salman Rushdie, ed. M.D. F l e t c h e r . Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1 9 9 4 . Anees, Munawar A. ed. The K i s s of Judas: A f f a i r s of a Brown S a h i b . K u a l a Lumpur: Q u i l l , 1 9 8 9 . A p p i g n a n e s i , L i s a & Sara M a i t l a n d , ed. The Rushdie F i l e . London: ICA/Fourth E s t a t e , 1 9 8 9 . Aravamudan, S r i n i v a s . "Being God's Postman i s no Fun, Yaar," i n Reading Rushdie, ed. M.D. F l e t c h e r . Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1 9 9 4 . A r b e r r y , A r t h u r J . The Koran I n t e r p r e t e d . London: George A l l e n & Unwin, 1 9 5 5 . Brennan, Timothy. Salman Rushdie and the T h i r d World: Myths of the N a t i o n . London: Macmillan, 1 9 8 9 . D a s h t i , A l i . t r . F.R.C.Bagley. Twenty Three Years: A Study of the P r o p h e t i c C a r e e r of Mohammad. London: George A l l e n & Unwin, 1 9 8 5 . F l e t c h e r , M.D. ed. Reading Rushdie: P e r s p e c t i v e s on the F i c t i o n of Salman Rushdie. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1 9 9 4 . Knonagel, A l e x . "The S a t a n i c V e r s e s : N a r r a t i v e S t r u c t u r e and I s l a m i c D o c t r i n e . " The I n t e r n a t i o n a l F i c t i o n Review 1 8 . 2 ( 1 9 9 1 ) : 6 9 - 7 5 . MacDonagh, Steve, ed. The Rushdie L e t t e r s : Freedom t o Speak. Freedom to W r i t e . D i n g l e : Brandon, 1 9 9 3 . M a z r u i , A l i . " I s The S a t a n i c V e r s e s a S a t a n i c Novel? Moral Dilemmas o f the Rushdie A f f a i r , " i n The K i s s of Judas, ed. Anees. K u a l a 61 Lumpur: Q u i l l , 1 9 8 9 . M e r n i s s i , F atima. t r . Mary Jo L a k e l a n d . Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World. Reading: Addison-Wesley, 1 9 9 2 . P i p e s , D a n i e l . The Rushdie A f f a i r . The Novel, the A y a t o l l a h . and the West. New York: B i r c h Lane, 1 9 9 0 . Rodinson, Maxime. t r . Anne C a r t e r . Mohammed. New York: Random House, 1 9 7 1 . Rushdie, Salman. E a s t . West. London: Penguin, 1 9 9 5 . --Imaginary Homelands: Essays and C r i t i c i s m 1 9 8 1 - 1 9 9 1 . London: Penguin, 1 9 9 2 . - - M i d n i g h t ' s C h i l d r e n . London: Jonathon Cape, 1 9 8 0 . —Shame. London: P i c a d o r , 1 9 8 3 . --The S a t a n i c V e r s e s . London: The Consortium, 1 9 8 8 . Ruthven, M a l i s e . A S a t a n i c A f f a i r . Salman Rushdie and the Rage of Islam. London: Chatto & Windus, 1 9 9 0 . S a i d , Edward. " A g a i n s t the O r t h o d o x i e s , " i n For Rushdie: Essays bv Arab and Muslim W r i t e r s i n Defense of F r e e Speech. New York: George B r a z i l l e r , 1 9 9 4 . - - C o v e r i n g Islam. London: Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1 9 8 1 . - - O r i e n t a l i s m . Routledge and Kegan P a u l , 1 9 7 8 . Sardar, Z i a u d d i n & M e r r y l Wyn D a v i e s . D i s t o r t e d I m a g i n a t i o n : Lessons From the Rushdie A f f a i r . London: Grey S e a l , 1 9 9 0 . S h e r i f , Farug. A Guide to the Contents of the Our'an. London: I t h a c a , 1 9 8 5 . S u l e r i , S ara. "Contraband H i s t o r i e s : Salman Rushdie and the Embodiment of Blasphemy," i n Reading Rushdie, ed. M.D.Fletcher. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1 9 9 4 . Weatherby, W.J. Salman Rushdie: Sentenced to Death. New York: C a r r o l l & Graf, 1 9 9 0 . 62 

Cite

Citation Scheme:

        

Citations by CSL (citeproc-js)

Usage Statistics

Share

Embed

Customize your widget with the following options, then copy and paste the code below into the HTML of your page to embed this item in your website.
                        
                            <div id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidgetDisplay">
                            <script id="ubcOpenCollectionsWidget"
                            src="{[{embed.src}]}"
                            data-item="{[{embed.item}]}"
                            data-collection="{[{embed.collection}]}"
                            data-metadata="{[{embed.showMetadata}]}"
                            data-width="{[{embed.width}]}"
                            async >
                            </script>
                            </div>
                        
                    
IIIF logo Our image viewer uses the IIIF 2.0 standard. To load this item in other compatible viewers, use this url:
https://iiif.library.ubc.ca/presentation/dsp.831.1-0087008/manifest

Comment

Related Items