Salman Rushdie Lost Vision In One Eye After Attack, Reveals His Agent

Salman Rushdie Lost Vision In One Eye After Attack, Reveals His Agent

by Swarajya Staff - Monday, October 24, 2022 11:37 AM IST
Salman Rushdie Lost Vision In One Eye After Attack, Reveals His AgentAuthor Salman Rushdie.
  • Rushdie was attacked in August allegedly over a 34-year-old case of ‘blasphemy’.

Author Salman Rushdie, who was stabbed in August by fanatics for alleged blasphemy of Islam, has lost vision in one eye and use of one hand.

His agent Andrew Wylie recently revealed this to Spanish newspaper El Pais even though he declined to comment on whether Rushdie was in the hospital. 

Wylie said (as quoted by news agency Reuters), “He [Rushdie] had three serious wounds in his neck. One hand is incapacitated because the nerves in his arm were cut. And he has about 15 more wounds in his chest and torso." 

Rushdie, now 75, is a celebrated author and winner of several of the world’s top literary awards.

He was stabbed on 12 August at a public event in New York’s Chautauqua Institution around 10.45 am (New York time), where he was scheduled to give a talk on artistic freedom.

He was airlifted from a field adjoining the venue to a hospital. A doctor from the audience gave first-aid to Rushdie before help arrived.

Police identified and arrested one Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old resident of New Jersey. He jumped onto the stage and stabbed Rushdie twice. One stab was made in the neck while the other in the abdomen. The police took him into custody at the spot.

The motive of the attack, as suspected, was revealed to be a 34-year-old controversy associated with the author.

A week after the attack, Matar told New York Post that Rushdie was "someone who attacked Islam". He "attacked their (Muslims') beliefs, the belief system," Matar said.

He added that he was “surprised” that Rushdie had survived.

Rushdie was born in Mumbai in a well-to-do Muslim family. He was educated in England including at the University of Cambridge where he received an MA degree in History. His first novel, Grimus, was published in 1975. For his 1981 book, Midnight’s Children, he received the Man Booker Prize and shortly later the ‘Booker of Bookers’ prize.

His fourth novel The Satanic Verses’, published in 1988, was declared “blasphemous” by the Muslim world. Leading the outrage was the late Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who termed the book as insult to Islam and its founder Mohammed. He issued a fatwa against him calling for his death the next year.

India was the first country to ban the book. Rushdie went into hiding and was given protection by the British. Demonstrations were held in various parts of the world including in England. There were riots in Pakistan.

As per a report by Vanity Fair published in 2014, more than 60 people have died in the controversy related to Rushdie.

“Bombs exploded in Cody’s bookstore, on Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley, and half a dozen bookshops in the U.K. The novel’s Japanese translator was shot and killed, its Italian translator stabbed, its Turkish translator attacked. Its Norwegian publisher was shot and left for dead. (He survived.) Two clerics who spoke out against the fatwa — one Saudi, one Tunisian — were shot and killed in Brussels,” the Vanity Fair report said.

Rushdie remained in hiding for nine years under British protection. 

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