Saturday, May 10, 2008

Fatwa Made Me Stronger: Salman Rushdie

Noted writer Salman Rushdie has revealed that he emerged a better person after living in fear under a fatwa for almost a decade.

Rushdie went into hiding in 1989 after the Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini issued him with a death threat following the publication of his book, The Satanic Verses.

He returned to public life only 10 years later when Tehran withdrew its support for the death sentence.

However, in a programme, which will be broadcast on Monday on London's More4 channel, Rushdie claims that his time in seclusion made him more self-aware.

Speaking to Pamela Connolly, a clinical psychologist, he recalls how he plunged into despair when the fatwa was declared and says that it "erased" his personality.

But he adds "The thing about hitting the bottom is then you know where the bottom is...And after that, it cleared things up in my head... One of the things it cleared up was an urge in my mind, which is that everybody should like me.

"That was the moment at which I stopped being the prisoner of that thing, because I thought, OK, there are people who are not going to like me and do you know what, I don't like them," he said.

The author also recalls his isolation when he was sent from India to attend public school in Britain.

Speaking about his time at Rugby school, he says: "Very quickly I began to understand that I was going to be treated as somebody who was different and some of that was almost comical."

"I was clever, and I was foreign, and I was bad at games, and these are the three mistakes at an English boarding school," he added. (DNA)
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